Every time I go to Thailand, I curse my human body for having only one small stomach. If I were a cow, I’d have four chambers of generous real estate to house the delicious culinary delights of Thailand, but, alas, I am not a cow, so I have to ingest just one meal at a time. But since food is so cheap, I can order several dishes and dip my tongue into all of them. Here are some food photos to make your stomach rumble:
Papaya salad with seafood
A little bit sweet with a citrus tang; the crispness of unripe papaya mixed in with the crunchiness of toasted peanuts and the odd wedge of nasal-charring chilli to remind you that you’re still alive.
Green Thai curry
Green is my favorite of all the Thai curries. The chilli in this dish has an accumulative effect, so that it’s not until you’re spooning the last mouthful, that you realise your entire hairdo is aflame.
Mango sticky rice
Fresh, ripe mango, combined with sticky rice drowned in sugary coconut milk. Make sure that, if you ever find yourself stranded on a deserted island, you remember to pre-pack some rice so that – with the help of some coconuts and some wild mangos (because all deserted islands have mangos, right?) – you and Wilson can have this for dessert every night.
Sweet and sour soup
It’s sweet, it’s sour, and all kinds of good things are doing breaststroke in this swimming pool of aromatic spices.
An eclectic variety of textures and tastes that is mild enough in flavor to act as an inoffensive food item when you’re suffering from intestinal parasites. Yep: I’m quite the expert.
Unidentifiable market stand foods
This is where intestinal parasites are hatched, so I don’t touch, I just look … and drool … and open my wallet … and thumb Thai baht … and then stop myself just before I place my order for one strand of grilled mystery balls, or one tray of tiny, unidentifiable fried eggs, or one whole fish on a skewer. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s not going to kill me. Yet.
And finally, the beer.
Because it’s beer. Because it’s cheap. Because it’s cold and bubbly and it soothes my chilli-blistered tongue.
Torre DeRoche is the author of two travel memoirs, Love with a Chance of Drowning (2013) and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World (due out September 2017). She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Emirates, and two Lonely Planet anthologies.