Food, glorious food
One of Thailand's many conveniences
There are a lot of perks to living and teaching English in Thailand and as someone who likes to eat good food, one of the perks I enjoy the most is delicious home-cooked food being available at your fingertips. The streets of Bangkok, and many Thai cities, are teeming with vendors selling a myriad of Thai delicacies, refreshing drinks and a bounty of fresh, ripe fruit and this makes for a very happy English teacher.
Many apartments here, including my own, don't come equipped with kitchen facilities. When I tell friends and family this back home, their reactions usually include a gasp of horror and a fervently asked questions like, "How do you eat?!" and "How do you cook?!".
Before coming to Thailand, my reaction to hearing this information would make me feel a bit anxious too, especially since I'm constantly thinking about what I'm going to eat for my next meal, but now I just grin and nod, proud of the fact that I can eat delicious food without slaving away in the kitchen.
The next concern of Westerners is that, surely if I am constantly getting take-away, it must be very expensive! Again, a silly grin crosses my face with the knowledge that most take-away meals off the street cost no more that $1. Meals that cost more than $2 have become expensive treats for me and warrant changing out of my stuffy teaching clothes and putting on a nice shirt and shoes.
How could this situation get any better? Well, the proximity of all this food! Just a five minute walk down my street and I'm greeted by the aromas of freshly cooked food and variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from. I simply wake up and take a morning walk in the sun and am able to buy whatever I fancy at that very moment for breakfast, no planning necessary. There is no need to worry about lunch and dinner at that moment; the vendors are always out and even the Bangkok heat can't take away from the convenience of ready-made food only being a five minute walk away.
So, when you are looking for reasons to convince yourself that a move to Thailand is reasonable, don't forget about the basic necessity of food! I can't think of a better reason to justify moving somewhere than the availability of cheap and delicious food! After a long day at work, in my case teaching a bunch of energetic kindergarteners, there is nothing better than coming home, relaxing and not having to worry about cooking your dinner!
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Hippolyte, I didn't mention I eat a vegan diet in this article because it wasn't the focus, whereas eating vegan was the focus of my blog entry...no unwillingness at all! :) In my opinion, it's all about mindset; if you think something is difficult it will be! I have never gone hungry...perhaps had to make due with a less than stellar meal, but we all have experiences with that regardless of personal diet!
By Jessica, Bangkok, Thailand (8th August 2011)
Hippolyte, I worked with a vegan many years ago and he described the availabilty of vegan food in Bangkok as an 'embarrassment of riches' He maintained that the selection of vegan food was far better here than in his native UK - and this was 15 years ago! I would assume things have only got better.
By philip, (8th August 2011)
I wonder why you left out the fact you're vegan. You mention it on your blog, but seem unwilling to reveal it here. When asked 'What/how will you eat?', people wondered how a vegan could survive in Asia. You have to admit that it's a bit more difficult when you limit your diet severely.
By Hippolyte, Bangkok (8th August 2011)
I always think that streetfood should be eaten while sitting on rickety stools and choking on exhaust fumes. It also helps if there's a small group of expectant soi dogs sitting in a semi-circle. I've done the take-home bit a few times and when you eventually get the elastic band off the bag (there's an hour gone at least) and poured the contents into a dish, perhaps given it a 30 second whizz in the microwave, streetfood just never tastes or looks the same. It's definitely better enjoyed in situ as it were.
By philip, (6th August 2011)
Hey Jessica. You're right about the many conveniences here in Thailand especially when it comes to food. I'm living near The Mall Bangkae which is on the Thonburi side of the river. I am renting a townhouse in a private village. My wife has all the phone numbers for most of the street vendors on Jarunsanitwong Road 13 near the entrance to our village (as for inside the village they do not allow vendors of any typw) and she just calls them and they deliver to my home. Everyone knows who I am and where I live so it is really so convenient here in Bangkok.
By Donald Patnaude, Bangkok, Thailand (6th August 2011)