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Day 33 – Patronizing in A Thai (Food) Court

April 5, 2010

Dateline: Bangkok, Thailand – Monday, April 5, 2010

I love food courts in Thailand. Here, they don’t have the stink of cheap, processed mall food. They’re a collection of small operations specializing in a particular kind of food. Other than street food stands, they are one of the most economical ways to eat.

I’m here at the MBK shopping center food court because I’ve got nothing to write about, mostly, and because I’m starving, partly. If left on my own, without this writing project, I’d probably just sit in my room and eat something from 7-11. My failure earlier in the day, however, has driven me to the outdoors. Because I have to have something at least remotely interesting to write about, I’ve trekked the 100 yards to the BTS station, boarded a train, changed trains, and am not sitting at the MBK food court. This website is why I’m sitting here, right now at 9:30 p.m. looking for mall food.

I started the day with such ambition. I went to my tailor’s to see if I could get a couple shirts made. My plan was to ship them back to the U.S. with some books and other junk (read: Chacos). That didn’t work because he’s going to be closed for the rest of the week for Songkran. I’d be out of Bangkok by the time he finishes the shirts.

With that failure in my pocket, I went to lunch with Fon. I managed to overeat Japanese. Afterwards, I went to Siam Paragon to try to buy a book, again, but the Red Shirts were still out in force, so Paragon remained closed, again.

I thought about getting a massage, but then, for some reason, it got hot. Who saw that coming? I headed back to my room, flipped on the AC, and immediately fell asleep. I dreamed I hadn’t done anything write worthy all day and woke up realizing that I hadn’t. That’s when I resolved to hit the food court.

So, in front of me sit my food court victims. First up is an egg noodle soup with duck. It cost me 40 baht ($1.33). It’s piping hot. The meat is just right and, though the broth is a little salty, it hits the spot.

Next up is something I picked up on a whim. Durian over sticky rice. Now, you know that I’m a fan of mango over sticky rice. In fact, I almost went with the old staple a few seconds ago. Today, I go dangerous and have the stinkiest fruit on the planet. On a day like today, it’s what passes as adventure.

If you don’t know, durian is a spiky-skinned fruit that has a pungent odor. Something in the neighborhood of Vlade Divac’s armpits wrapped in moldy bacon that’s been dipped in anti-freeze. It’s a delicacy. This, even though the meat of the fruit actually looks like meat. Chinese boiled chicken meat to be exact. It’s yellowish with strands of sinew. If you can get passed that, the fruit is supposed to be delicious.

My experience with durian has been mixed. Sometimes it’s been good, other times just tolerable. It’s never been disgusting to me, but that’s probably because I have a poor sense of smell. It’s not a favorite, though.

Today’s concoction has the durian shredded(?) over sticky rice and doused with sweet milk. It’s… okay. The durian has a kind of rubbery texture to it, which I chalk up to it not being totally fresh. I can catch a hint of dirty socks in the flavor, so it doesn’t go down as easy as normal. I’ll stick to my mango, thank you very much. At least until I don’t have anything to write about.

____________________

Stupid Travel Tip of the Day: If you’d like a lazy, leisurely holiday, don’t commit to writing everyday.

Not So Stupid Tip: Food courts are where it’s at. If you can’t find a food cart because of the heat, just duck into the closest shopping center and look for the food. Chances are you’ll be able to find street-food-like sustenance except in the comforts of an air conditioned environment.

Programming Note: While waiting for the BTS train to MBK, my uncle called me. He’s taking me to the chicken factory tomorrow. Joy of joys. I’m looking forward to this a little too much. With any luck, it’ll be full of blood and guts and gore. Should more than make up for today.

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