Singapore Adventure

Thursday, August 25, 2005

It's All About The Food
by venitha

Ostentatious . Mystical Wat Pho. Pulsating Thai massage. Bustling . Mesmerizing lákhon dancing. And of course, one cannot forget the . The list of Bangkok attractions goes on and on...

But for me, it's all about the food.

I've learned my lesson with Asian desserts, so we won't even go there, and thankfully, in Bangkok, there's no need to. My sweet tooth is sated, entertained, dazzled by the natural. Thai Honey anything bursts with flavor, making all the other fruits look like sparklers beneath a Thai sky filled with golden fireworks.

Thai honey pineapples are glittering topaz explosions. Nestled in the white-hot ice of hawkers' carts, they gleam from every street corner. Half a pineapple costs about a quarter, and the floor show, several quick whacks with the blunt end of a machete which break the tasty treat into convenient bitesize pieces, is included for free. Thai honey mangoes glow, too, from hawkers' carts, and are served up both atop sticky rice and in frothy mango shakes. They trace tantalizing fingers of flavor as they melt in my mouth; no other mango can possibly hope to compare. Even the Thai honey tomatoes, brilliant bitesize ruby roman candles, convince me beyond a doubt that tomatoes are indeed a fruit.

My favorite Thai dish is , a green papaya salad, and we order it or its marvelous cousin, the wing bean salad, with each and every meal. Sweet and sour, light and tangy, it dances across my palette on light pink toe shoes, pirouettes across my tongue, then leaps in a graceful jeté!

In spite of a tragic lack of ocean breezes, Bangkok is near the coast, the Gulf of Thailand, and seafood abounds. We savor steamed fish atop a bed of luscious Thai vegetables accompanied with a zesty lime chili sauce that gets both our attention and the fish's. We compose haikus in praise of Julie, whose most excellent Chinese catfish has left us adept at the culinary art of eating whole fish.

Thai hot? Yes! Thai hot! Jim's a good sport regarding my tendencies toward arson and begs for mercy only near the end of our trip, when even my digestion is being challenged by the onslaught of flames. We met only two dishes Jim wouldn't eat: soup and an appropriately named hot and spicy squid salad. Wah-ha-ha-ha, I laugh evilly. All the more for me! I weep copiously, enjoy having Bangkok's pollution blown out of my head, and start looking around for a mango shake or some soy milk to combat the fingers of fire left licking my lips.

The best dish of the trip, we both agree, was the green chicken curry served in high style at the Oriental Hotel's Sala Rim Naam in an evening of lavish cuisine and classical Thai dancing. A perfect pas de deux, subtle yet explosive, graceful yet powerful, and, yes, I mean the curry. Devastatingly, it is not something we can go back for, on this trip or on any other, but like the elk at the Irwin Lodge, it will live on and grow ever more delectable in remembrance.

Mmmmm... mouthwatering memories. No doubt about it. Bangkok? It's all about the food.