The beach is lovely. Meeting new people is fabulous. Seeing a different culture is so enlightening, and teaching the children is beyond rewarding. But you guys… The food.
Oh, the food. Food is, in my not-so-humble opinion, the best way to experience a culture. And it tastes good. And it’s at the very bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which makes it, like, really really important. I think sleep and sex are also at the bottom of the hierarchy, so food is clearly in good company.
I’ve eaten a whole lotta food since I’ve been here on the stunning (and delicious) island of Koh Phangan. Seriously, it’s an astounding amount of food and since I photograph nearly everything I eat (#millennialproblems) that means I also have an astounding amount of photographs of food. I’ve definitely tackled this trip with a “no curry left behind” mentality, but then I didn’t want the noodles and rice and street pancakes to feel left out, so I didn’t leave them behind either. That would just be cruel.
Today I’m sharing the best of the best – my tastiest meals here on the island so far.
This one is from Phangan Cove, the restaurant at the resort we’re staying at. Watermelon, papaya, mango, pineapple, orange, dragonfruit, cantaloupe, banana, kiwi, and an unidentified phallic-looking thing, all for the equivalent of less than $3 USD. I know.
Let’s play a fun game: Guess which drinks have booze in them! (Hint: most of them).
Papaya Salad Sandwich with Baked Sweet Potato Fries.
From the Green Leaf Cafe, an organic cafe that doubles as a yoga studio. This meal looks so, so simple but it was really good. Papaya salad on bread with melted cheese, and nice roasty sweet ‘taters on the side.
Cheese Baguette with Potato Chips.
Believe it or not, but this is not a traditional Thai meal. I love it anyway. It’s my favorite post-teaching meal. I go to 7/11, buy a packet of potato chips, then order a cheese baguette, put the chips on top, and go to town. It’s embarrassingly good, even though the cheese in the sandwich is complete shit.
Pineapple Fried Rice.
INSIDE OF A PINEAPPLE! Inside of a freaking PINEAPPLE. Ten points for presentation, and another seven for taste. Sweet and savory heaven. This was another one from Phangan Cove.
Massaman Curry with Chicken and Rice.
I love curry. I love it so much. (From Phangan Cove, again…)
Although I must say, the Massamun curry that I made in my cooking class really gave it a run for its money.
Crispy Noodles with Gravy Sauce.
You pour the gravy sauce on top of the crispy noodles and they get all soft and perfect.
Made with green papaya, which is super crunchy and nearly flavorless. And then you add shit tons of flavor with peanuts and chili and beans and other amazing magical things.
Yellow Curry with Rice.
From Mama Pooh’s, one of my favorite local restaurants. It has the most amazing and supposedly authentic dishes around. Plus Mama Pooh is adorable, so that doesn’t hurt at all. This was one of the best curries I had for sure. I asked for “mild” spice and my mouth was on fire, so I’ve ordered every subsequent curry with “no spice,” which is still slightly spicy for my Western tastebuds.
Fried Big Noodles.
Another Mama Pooh’s win. I wish you guys could taste this. Should I bring some home?
Homemade Cookie Ice Cream.
I got this the first weekend I spent on the island and I haven’t been back since because I forgot the name of the ice cream stand. Damn.
Raspberry Cider and Chocolate Mousse.
From the Belgian Beer Bar.
Organic and vegan, but I didn’t hold those things against it.
All of the Street Food.
Like literally all of it… The night market in the main town (Thong Sala) was one of my favorite parts of the island. I love snacking my way through dinner, testing out cheap, smallish portions of tons of different things. Plus all of the food was SO DAMN GOOD. I think the street food will be the food that I miss the most.
THE STREET PANCAKES.
With Nutella and peanut butter. These were definitely a trip highlight. I’m not even gone yet and I already miss them. Crispy, buttery, and slightly salty, smothered with the melted toppings = happiness.
THE SPRING ROLLS.
Fresh or fried, I don’t really care. Just throw them in my mouth and nobody gets hurt.
THESE GIANT COCONUT FLOUR THINGS.
Three of these cost less than a dollar and could probably feed a family of four for about a week.
THE STREET MEAT.
Chicken, because it feels safest and I’m a big baby.
Just look at that. Look. LOOK AT IT! Right? I know.
THE FRUIT SHAKES.
OMGGGG YAAASSSS. I could drink six a day, and at only a dollar each, I think it’d still be more economical than one Jamba Juice.
Oh yeah baby. Ohhh yeah.
THE POTATO TWISTERS.
On another level. My favorite flavor was the cheese powder. These are perfection in food form. Possibly my favorite street food ever. You should feel sad and empty if you’ve never eaten this.
Yes, I ate bugs. I promise I’ll stop talking about it eventually, but for now just pretend to be super impressed, okay? Check out the (embarrassing) video here.
I have six days left to shovel all of the food in Thailand into my face and I promise I won’t disappoint.
IN THE COMMENTS:
What’s your favorite Thai food?
Ever eaten bugs? What’d you think?