This month I learned a lot about Thailand, but I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface!
First of all, the food. My god, the food – where do I even begin? I found some amazing new restaurants (and I now know to look for Thai Select ones), both casual spots to have a papaya salad or some fried snacks, and nice sit-down locations with beautiful dishes. I also got to try my hand at cooking Thai food – everything from ceviche to larb to a custard in a pumpkin. I’m going to use the brining method from the tom kha gai recipe going forward, I can’t believe how tender that chicken was. There were great snacks too (1, 2, 3, 4) and I even overcame my reticence to durian.
And all of this while allergic to one of the main ingredients in Thai food – shrimp!
But Thailand is so much more than food – there’s some great literature, really good music (classical, underground, modern, and Big Ass), and neat TV shows and movies – I wish I had a chance to get even more into them this month!
I’m also glad I got to learn more about some of the more serious sides of Thailand, its economic and ecological struggle with (over)tourism, the political upheaval that its been facing in recent years (or in the past), the place of religion in society, and Thailand’s unique LGBTQ identities.
I feel like I could keep digging further – I’d love to learn more about Isaan in the north – a place that’s culturally and historically Lao. I also would like to learn more about the Chinese community, as well as more about Thailand’s history in general and traditional Thai art.
But this will have to be on my own time, on to the next country!