That culinary paradise…called Thailand

The last time I had traveled to Thailand was a good 10 years ago and it involved the usual tourist traps in Pattaya and Bangkok. As part of an ‘Indian’ customised tour, it is imperative to eat only ‘Indian’ food abroad-hence for breakfast one had to face the torture of eating Idli, Dosa, Poha et al with a few eggs thrown in as consolation prize. So the entire trip I ate not even nice tasting Indian food, a few shrimp tempuras here and there and one plate of fried rice. Needless to say, for a foodie like me, this was absolute Hara-kiri and put me off customised tours for the rest of my life. Though I ended up doing the ‘Europe Tour’ -but that’s another story.

This was a grudge I carried all this while, that in Thailand I have not sampled Thai food at all. Thank God, I got a chance to redeem myself this year. Thankfully the better half is also a foodie, so rest assured this trip was definitely going to be about the Food and of course the beaches.

As an Odia, rice and curry is the ultimate comfort food, so that set the agenda there. I tried a variety of curries there and each time it was finger licking good. What I loved was the simplicity of ingredients and the complexity of flavour in every curry. We mostly ate in the street side shacks and mom and pop sort of establishments, and what struck me was that even these small Thai ‘dhabas’ put so much effort into presentation, even if you order the cheapest dish in the menu. each time the curry would arrive with perfect carrot rosettes and heart shaped rice. So we ate the green curry, red curry, yellow curry, my favourite-the white curry ‘Tom Kha Kai’-which can be slurped down as a soup, the Massaman curry-the Muslim curry, the Panang curry – each a blockbuster. Coconut milk can actually make anything yum!

For me the highlight was the sour fish curry. In Odia food, it is very common to mix vegetables and meat and come up with a mish-mash. My mother makes a fish curry with only three ingredients and the curry comes alive with a huge squeeze of lime. This curry is my favourite and I was thrilled to bits because this sour fish curry tasted just like home with a tad bit more chillies. But seriously cauliflower, beans, brinjals and fish-Fresh, simple and tart.

Sour Fish Curry
Thai Massaman Curry with Beef and Sweet Potatoes
Tom Kha Yai-Chicken

I can’t seem to find photos of the rest of the curries-must have been to famished to bother clicking a picture before digging in I guess. One post is definitely not enough to showcase the amazing food we ate at Thailand, so this is one is just for the curries. The next post is about  our current favourite dessert-hell it is so so good, it deserves an entire dedicated post.

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