Every morning in Bangkok I would wake up and walk to the nearest temple, before 11am. Why? Free food! And lots of it! They had about every mixture of Thai I can think of, and I tried all of it. Funny how only Thailand, the only non-communist country I went to, was the only country where I saw free hand-outs of food.
The Street food in Thailand is something else. After getting food poisoning twice from street food in Korea, I never thought I’d be eating it for every single meal, like in Bangkok.
As you can see, there are tanks and bowls of curry everywhere. You basically get a bowl full of rice then point to whatever curry or noodle sauce you so desire. I made it a point to try from every bowl, so I probably ate some dog at some point.
The curry in Thailand and Lao isn’t like the curry in the states. It’s more of a soup here, but still as sweet as ever. All the ingredients are fresh. I have yet to see any frozen foods. They also package them nicely for you, if you’re on the go.
In Chinatown of Bangkok, the food was better than when I was in China.
Pho is the basic poor-man’s dish here, and while a meal of curry runs from sometimes free to about 80 cents, Pho will drain you for a max of fifty-cents, if you buy it on the streets. Street food also depends on where you buy it. If you’re in a Tourist spot, chances are it will be overprices and disgusting.
Laos food is something of a fusion of Thai and Vietnamese, though there are definately dishes here that are Lao only. The key is resourcefulness. Ever eaten a meal of pure bamboo shoots?
Apparently with a poor country like Laos, they’ve learned to eat everything! I’ve DEFINATELY eaten dog at some point without knowing it.
I don’t know what to call Lao food because there are no Lao restaurants in the states, so think of different variations of Pho, which all taste incredibly different, coming out of giant vats like this:
The best tasting Lao food I’ve had is Lao Beef with noodles (Kao Xio), which tastes almost like chili but with the sweetness of curry.
I haven’t wanted to pray for a long time, but with this bowl of ethereal wonderment, one is suddenly happy to be alive, one feels an exuberant joy at the spiced smell, a befitting grin at the sight of sizzling beef upon a mound of golden streams, the uberyummy taste that bites at you as if from some guilt for an original sin, that demands you put down your chopsticks because you are not worthy! Then you must have the power to say: “No! The world is mine as is this dish! I break free from my culinary Western prison!” etc. and all that.
They also have nice vegetarian buffets for about half a dollar:
Last but not least, is Lao alcohol. The national beer, “Laobeer” is about as crappy as Budweiser, but just as smooth and easy to drink. The horrendous drink is “LaoLao,” the national alcohol, which is like Vodka if Vodka tasted like stomach acid. The Lao people sit in circles and pass this crap around, and boy is it strong! It’s the worst kind of “drunk” one can feel–but it’s also the cheapest alcohol I’ve ever had, at about fifty cents for a bottle (it’s a rice-wine). Now I can see why so many Lao people seem drunk all the time, with such cheap means to do it.