Lesson of the Day – Being Adventurous with Food

On our first night in Bangkok I vow not to order Pad Thai everywhere we go, and determined to stick to my vow I order something different right off the baht (pun intended and dedicated to Abigayle who has become the ‘Queen of Puns’!)

I glance at the menu and my eyes rest on the first delicious – looking photograph I see – so I order it – “Stink Beans with Prawns” – mmmmmmmmmm! Of course I have no idea what stink beans are but the picture looks yummy and I’m determined to be adventurous!

Alas, when the meal does arrive, looking just as delicious as it did in the picture, I can’t even try it, because there are pieces of pork sprinkled all over the top, which I do need to point out, in my own defence, was not mentioned in the description or apparent in the photograph.

Our waiter was incredibly apologetic and after many attempts at placating I think he finally got the gist that it wasn’t his fault.  I even tried to make him feel better by ordering a second meal, although by this point I wasn’t very hungry. I made sure to order something that clearly does not have meat and that our waiter can indeed verify DOES NOT have meat. As it turns out there was only one thing on the menu that fit this bill – ‘Sour Yellow Curry with Fish’. Must say I also found the photograph reassuring with its huge hunks of fish!

By now everyone else has finished eating, and we laugh that I am eating alone not knowing that this would be the first of many meals where three of us eat at one time, somehow delivering four meals all at once isn’t something that happens very often here.

With all eyes on me and, not wanting to upset the waiter again, I dig in as best I can. Despite my protestations of no spice, there is way more heat than I can usually handle, and other than the fish (that is clearly floating around the bowl) I can not distinguish anything else that I’m eating! I think the accompanying vegetable was raw potato and the grey bits were fish-skin mixed with fish bones. Oh, and important to mention, when the menu said sour it meant SOUR!  Truth was I ate as much as I could without actually knowing what is was.

And so – the lesson I learned today – make sure no meat, no meat, no meat – verify to the nth degree, even when there is no meat in the picture or the description and even if your family is rolling their eyes at you.

Also make sure no spicy, no spicy, no spicy; Thai mild is our HOT! And when it says sour it means SOUR. Oh I also learned that stink beans are absolutely vile – the girls tried them for me and said they tasted like rotten lime rinds. From now on my adventures with food maybe limited to ‘Mild Green Curry with Prawns’ or ‘Coconut Curry Milk with Seafood’.

sour under tongue

pepper seed on lips

heat spreads inside my mouth



2 thoughts on “Lesson of the Day – Being Adventurous with Food

  1. Poor Susan! That sounds challenging. Eating vegetarian / pescatarian is an adventure. I remember when living in Japan, I’d sometimes be out with my students and they’d order something at the restaurant, it would come, and I’d have no clue what it was. I’d ask them, “What is this?” and they’d confer in Japanese, and one of them would speak up: “I do not know the English, sensei.” So, down the hatch it would go. Blessings!


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