For the past two nights, Alan and I have been exploring a little street food district just off campus.
Although street food is a common culprit for what ales travelers' bellies, I think it's an important part of experiencing a place. I also rationalize that it's somehow building my immunity to tummy bugs. It's like a vaccine that I won't faint from. Not right then, anyway.
No, this isn't a fainting story.
So, back to the street food vendors. They set up little stalls along the sidewalk, or in larger covered areas. Many of them sell the same things, so as I browse, I always look for what catches my eye out of uniqueness.
Tonight, I spotted a large table covered in jugs of ingredients, and in the middle of all the jars, there was a pan of freshly fried something. It looked like the homemade tortilla chips that my Mom makes for tortilla soup. They are undoubtedly the best part of that dish. Salted, and a little crispy, a little soft. The Thai version was a little thicker, but looked really good. I could see where they were being deep fried, and doggonit, deep-frying always makes things more delicious.
So, I watched a few Thais get their meal so I could just point and hope to get the same thing. Here's a summary of my food. A handful of egg noodles goes into the bowl, then some chili sauce, fish sauce, sugar, peanuts, two kinds of garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh cilantro, green onion, a dash of MSG, and a spritz of soy sauce. The bowl is topped off with some of those crispy tortilla-ish things (after she has used a scissor to chop them into bite-size pieces). The cook then quickly stirs the entire bowl and hands them to you. The fresh and slightly spicy aroma of Thai food is so good in general, and this dish didn't disappoint. It was delicious, and about 75 cents.
My tastebuds are loving Thailand. Between the awesomely cheap and delicious street food, and the ever-present freshly-brewed ice coffee, I'm pretty much in heaven here. I don't even miss cheese yet.