The Picky Eater Guide to Thailand

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So, I’m a picky eater. At home in Canada my diet pretty much consisted of original chips, some kind of ham/pepperoni/ sausage and cheese combination and a need to avoid the veggies unless they are on their own. Translation: basically a happy carnivore.

I’m not, like, “the carrots are touching my peas so I refuse to eat them,” picky, but I prefer a simple caesar salad with lettuce, sauce, crotons and cheese over a festival of tomatoes, celery, eggs, cucumber, lettuce, sauce, spices, cheese, fruit, etc.

I’m a stick-to-the-basics kind of lady when it comes to food. People ask me if I think Burmese food is different from Thai food and I blink at them. Sometimes I’ll throw in a shrug with wide eyes to scare off the question.

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This is some delicious curry from near Victory Monument in Bangkok.

You might just be arriving to this fascinating country and all your logical thinking may have fled as excitement, anxiety, jet lag or blatant curiosity fight for dominance in your mind. You might

So, in this corner of the world, with its variety of influences and exotic ingredients I offer this guide to fellow picky eaters after my 10-month stint in Thailand. You’ll probably “duh” most of these points but have fun reading the list anyway.

May you find familiar foods during your travels.

Picky Eater Tips for Thailand

1) There are 7-11 stores all over Thailand where you can get the familiar ham and cheese sandwiches, spaghetti, chips, candy and soda pops. But definitely try to maintain a balanced diet or you’ll get sick and that sucks.

2) If you don’t like super sweet drinks I suggest avoiding the orange juice because they add an additional bucket of sugar to the bottles. Many drinks in Thailand are excessively sweet.

3) “Khao man gai” or “chicken and rice”. It never fails. Some of the chicken chili sauce (orange and sometimes with red chili specks in it) variations are super spicy but others add a nice subtle hiss to the dish.

4) Not a spicy dish fan but want to attempt a curry or meat known to be hot? Select a mound of rice. The rice does wonders to diffuse spicy situations.

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Extra yogurt is good for super spicy curries if you decide to have some Indian food in Bangkok!

5) Try the bubble milk tea. My personal favourite is the strawberry milk bubble tea with strawberry bubbles from Fresh Me. You can get different bubbles for different tastes and textures. The ones I like have a gummy exterior and a liquid interior. When you bite into them they explode with strawberry sauce.The traditional bubbles are made from tapioca, which is a starch extracted from a South American shrub called manioc. They have a gummy texture and an odd taste.

6) Buffets are awesome—basically because you can point out what you figure looks somewhat appetizing and may kinda’ be what you’re looking for. But you won’t know until you try it.

7) Find a group of friends who are more adventurous with food than you and go out for supper every now and then. With everyone ordering different dishes you can explore other foods without wasting money on a whole dish that you may not enjoy.

8) Make a mini kitchen. If you are student you may not have access to a kitchen, but you can get small camping-style electric stoves for a cheap price and some pots. Of course then you need dishes, cutlery, the food, pots and pans, a stove etc. and then it can get expensive. Of course, if you are clever about it and ask more permanent friends for a plate here and a glass there you save money and you can return the dishes when you leave for home (plus that pan that you bought at the store as thanks).

9) Sunset Pork sounds gross but it’s actually really yummy.

10) There are always noodles. Tired of rice? Try some of the different noodles!

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I asked for spaghetti once and got this.
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And this isn’t spaghetti. This is traditional Thai noodles with curry sauce.

11) Check out the fruit stalls. If nothing else there will be something there you can happily snack on: bananas, mangos (though often expensive), papaya, strawberries (between November to about the end of May), coconut, apples and more.

12) Markets are the best. They are huge buffets. You can mix and match your favourite or familiar foods.

13) Try at least one crazy new thing totally out of your comfort zone on your trip. I had a spider leg in Siam Riep, Cambodia and found out it tastes like lightly spiced french-fries. There is a video of this experience but I can’t find it on my friend’s Facebook so let’s home we can track it down! It does exists I swear! I’m in it going, “OMG IT TASTES LIKE A FRENCH FRY, HOW DOES THAT WORK??!!!”

Success!!!!!! I found it!

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