I’ve just come back from an incredible fortnight in one of the most beautiful countries on earth ~ Thailand.
The last time I travelled South East Asia was ten years ago, as part of a year long backpacking journey around the world. I fell in love with it then and I’m not entirely sure what took me a decade to go back. I certainly won’t leave it so long next time!
The first thing that hits you when you arrive in Bangkok ~ aside from the heat and noise ~ is the smell of food! It’s everywhere. Street food is huge in Thailand and I’d forgotten how amazing the scent of sweet, fresh fruit and freshly cooked pad thai really is.
The already crazy busy city centre streets dotted with vendors, seemingly appearing from nowhere to hurriedly set up their super efficient, mobile kitchens on the uneven pavements of Bangkok, catering for morning commuters, daytime snackers and evening tourists alike. These pop up takeouts offer everything from traditional noodles and chicken satay sticks, to fresh pineapple, papaya and jack fruit served in clear plastic carriers with a small wooden skewer.
Far from the perception that offering snacks in this manner by the side of a road is unhealthy, it’s actually some of the freshest, tastiest, best cooked food I’ve ever eaten. The street chefs ability to make such a simple combination of rice noodles and veg taste so amazing, using the most basic of kitchens, is pure artistry. The flavours are truly different to anything you’d order at even the most upmarket Thai restaurant in Europe. It’s lighter and fresher, the taste is more delicate and it hasn’t got that over thickened, creamy, sugared consistency that seems to please our somewhat desensitised Western palate.
The fresh food markets in Thailand are stunning. Aisles of traders smiling and chattering away, behind counters piled high with fruit and veg in every colour of the rainbow.
Fresh, bright green herbs such as coriander and thai basil fill the air with the most incredible scent. I could happily spend a good few hours wandering along row upon row of beautiful food. If markets in England were this awesome, I guarantee you’d never want to walk into a supermarket again!
I became a little obsessed with jack fruit breakfasts in Bangkok after trying these delicious yellow fruit at a street food stand. Textured like mango with the taste of bubblegum, I fell in love and ended up eating tons of them! At 30p for a bag full I seriously considered filling my suitcase.
The only downside of Thai cuisine, is the country’s obsession with sugar. They slurp gallons of it through straws, they heap it into coffee, they even sprinkle it over fruit. Thailand takes its sweet love affair to a new and seriously disturbing level. Mai waan is a Thai expression meaning ‘less sweet’. Order a coffee in Bangkok, forgetting to say “mai waan” and heaven help you, your teeth will instantly disintegrate!
This love of sugar results in a rather unhealthy obsession with fizzy sodas and over sweetened fruit juices. Thailand has a variety of juice bars but they rarely use vegetables in the juices they make and even add syrup to already naturally sweet fruit combos. I can honestly say I missed my breakfast green juice!
So … back to the blog. I’ve come home with a ton of inspiration and a renewed passion for juicing. This weekend is very definitely going to be spent recreating the perfect pad thai. I ate this super simple, traditional Thai noodle dish in so many different restaurants and from so many different street vendors throughout the country. My mission is to create an alkaline, vegetarian version using easy to find ingredients.
I’m also going to add a whole lot of delicious green juice recipes to the blog so be prepared for an über-healthy, bright and beautiful blog this March.