There are many reasons why people decide against holidaying in a country. They may cite the weather as being too hot, the country too backward, or perhaps not having a liking for the local food. A backward country baked in burning sunshine wouldn’t represent a problem to me, but a dislike of a country’s food might just mean me booking a vacation elsewhere.
I am still not the most ardent lover of Thai food but we are now slowing growing accustomed to each other. I now know the dishes I do like but still have a tendency to steer well clear of those I cannot recognize.
Thai food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world and there has been a huge influx of Thai restaurants here in the UK during the past twenty years. Thai cooking is favoured by many Brits but there is still a large proportion of us who prefer Britain’s more bland meals, and when we are on holiday we enjoy seeking out a taste of home.
Western Food in Thailand
The streets and markets of Thailand are filled with food stalls and small open air pavement restaurants serving the five fundamental ‘meat and potatoes’ of Thai food. Spicy, sweet, sour, salty and bitter dishes. Finding western meals and snacks outside of hotels requires local knowledge of the best restaurants or by visiting western bar areas which every tourist resort and each major city has.
Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and all the other favourite Thailand holiday destinations have restaurant tastes to suit every corner of the globe. Taking your pick from the vast range of worldwide cuisines will literally leave you licking your lips in anticipation.
Pattaya alone has Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Indian, German, Scandinavian, Italian and French restaurants plus many others including Arabic, Swiss and my own personal sweetheart. Pattaya is full of British bars with a menu on every table and prices that even at today’s money exchange rates offer excellent value.
The British bars will rarely get a mention in the ‘Good Grub Guide’ but a Sunday roast, fish and chips or a big hearty fried breakfast can make your stomach look a little fuller than usual on the beach, but it’s also the perfect pick me up therapy.
Indian curries, pizzas, burgers and kebabs are hardly traditional British foods but nowadays in the faster paced and more cosmopolitan society we live in they are replacing more stable tried and trusted time-honored diets. Getting your fix from fast food restaurants in Thai holiday resorts and big cities is not a problem.
Big Mac is becoming as popular a word to Thailand’s youth as tom yum krung is to their parents. Every big city shopping mall has a combination of Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC. For the sweet tooth there are also Dunkin’ Donut outlets, but last year in Udon Thani I discovered one of Britain’s favourite fast food snacks at the local night market. Chicken kebab.
Thailand’s night markets are a buzz with cheap counterfeit clothes, fake watches, and the real McCoy and unforgettable smells of Thai cooking. The markets cater to Thai’s for whom the night markets are a main focus of their social activity. They are also great venues for tourists to pick up a bargain souvenir and a two-wash Lacoste t-shirt to showboat back home. Finding a western style snack can be a little more difficult.
When I first saw chicken kebab’s on sale at Udon Thani’s Centrepoint Night Market visions of golden crisp Thai barbecue chicken came flooding back to me. Thai grilled chicken looks really appetizing but the taste to me is not finger licking good. Whatever they marinate or coat the chicken with is not agreeable to me at all. I guessed the chicken kebab would be just as big a let down. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
At just 29 baht (£0.60p) or just under one US dollar the taste was sensational and I’ve been back many times since. The deliciously tasty kebab was proof to me that even away from the more tourist type areas Thailand’s markets can offer a taste of home if have a good hunt about.
Thai markets can also leave you with some long lasting impressions of Thai food and a reminder to eat a good hearty western breakfast each morning before setting out for the day. Otherwise being caught hungry may force you to consume whatever is pictured on the right.
Some Thai dishes do put me off just by their look and this one achieved it from a few metres away. Then again, a lumpy western style stew or goulash may do similar to a Thai.
If you’re like me and you enjoy certain Thai dishes but at times fancy a Brit of what you like back home, rest assured Thailand serves a wide range of western foods and their standard is usually very good.
Book your ticket to Thailand, you’ll just love it.
© 2010 – 2013, Martyn. All rights reserved.