Sawatdee krap (Thai for ‘hello’) from Thailand!
I’ve been here in Bangkok for 5 days and before I head south to the world famous tropical beaches, I wanted to take you on a photogenic journey of my food adventures.
I was actually in Thailand 15 years ago and though I loved the food, it wasn’t my focus. This time around I tried to visit as many food and street markets as possible.
But I also tried to focus on eating as many bone broth-based dishes as possible. You see, on my first trip to Thailand (and another trip to India and Burma), I fell in love with the soups, so much so that it inspired me to write my book, Fearless Broths and Soups, which has a lot of Asian-themed recipes.
Broth is a HUGE component of all Asian cuisine and it’s very obvious when you visit Asian markets and cafes.
This may not be the most exciting pic to start with but this was my first meal after a 25 hour, sleepless flight – a simple Chinese duck and winter melon soup.
It was so delicious! And it served as a good reminder that soup doesn’t have to be fancy. This restaurant had about 20 different simple broth-based soups with only two or three ingredients – a meat, a fruit and/or an herb.
Now I actually stayed in Chinatown. Bangkok’s Chinatown is the largest one in the world, and I specifically chose to stay there for its vibrant food scene and bustling markets.
Here’s a common sight not just in Chinatown but all over Thailand – large pots of broth, simmering away, right on the street and in plain sight in the cafes and restaurants.
Here’s a pork-based one…
Many street stalls and cafes have their dishes all on display. You just walk up and point to what you want.
In Thailand, seafood, poultry and pork are used in almost every dish. Any trip to any local food market makes that really obvious…
In the pic above you see different cuts of pork and all the parts of the pig laid out. You’ll see the same thing with chicken too…
This often includes…
…chicken feet! And internal organs (pictured in the bowl above). When’s the last time you saw that in your local supermarket?
This was probably the most epic display of chicken parts I’ve ever seen…
That was about a 30 yard long table of just chicken parts! That was at the Klong Toei Market, one of the most incredible markets I’ve ever seen. It’s estimated this market supplies all of Bangkok with half of its fresh food.
Let’s just say it’s not for the squeamish nor is it for tourists. You have to get up early to see it at its peak and it’s not in a touristy area of Bangkok. I saw one other westerner in the two hours I spent wandering though this market.
And then when it comes to fish, in addition to whole fish and fish fillets you’ll also see this on display too…
Please understand, I’m not trying to gross you out with these photos. I’m just trying to make a point, which is that traditionally cultures used ALL parts of the animal. Nothing went to waste. And nothing goes to waste here.
Many of these parts are used to make soup broths. It’s what makes REAL soup taste so good!
Here’s a few more of the wonderful soups I’ve had in the past few days:
That’s a classic Thai dish on the left called tom yum goong which contains those huge prawns in the dish on the right. It may not look great but I promise you it’s bursting with quintessential Thai flavors of lemongrass, chilies, ginger and kaffir lime leaves. Now I ordered the dish on the right by accident. Let’s just say that when you go to food stalls where there’s no menu and only Thai is spoken, this will happen A LOT.
Here’s another classic Thai dish with an incredible broth…
Those are Thai boat noodles and I spent quite a long time walking around just to find them.
The portions are really small. A serving size is about a quarter of a bowl (at about 33 cents each). I don’t know why especially when most people seem to order 2-3 bowls of it (I had 3).
This is a Chinese pork entrails soup…
You know, this blog isn’t called Fearless Eating for nothing! And while I can’t say I loved the intestines or the liver (though the pork belly was divine), the broth itself was fantastic.
This was steamed squid with a spicy garlic and lemon broth. And man was it spicy! Let’s just say the sinuses were open and flowing after this one.
Now of course, there’s lots more to the cuisine and markets than just broths and soups. There’s tons of beautiful and colorful fruits and vegetables too. Many are so bizarre and odd looking to me. I don’t know what many of them are! And unfortunately, I didn’t take many pics of them (though I wish I had).
But I loved being able to grab some fresh pineapple for 20 baht which is about the US equivalent of 60 cents.
Or freshly squeezed fruit juices. Pomegranate is my favorite!
And of course, no trip to Thailand would be complete without indulging in the classic Thai dish…
…for one US dollar!
Finally, there’s nothing like walking and eating your way around Bangkok and ending it with…
a Thai foot massage!
That’s a pretty common sight in many of the more touristy areas. I got one every single day I was in Bangkok.
Hope you enjoyed my visual journey. I’m now off to Ko Lanta and the beautiful Andaman Sea islands, which is the real reason I’ve come back to Thailand.
After 7 years of self-employment, non-stop blogging, writing two books and creating two online courses, I need a break!
Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.
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