Frogs, Caterpillars and Smiles – BKK street kitchen vol. 1

Finally we are here!

Warm, smiling Thailand. A few days getting used to jet lag and getting adjusted to local life. We arrived on Friday the 13th with no problems what so ever. On the contrary we had the best of luck. I guess with a positive attitude, you attract positive things.

In Helsinki we were late for the check in. Less than 1 hour till the flight left and the women at the counter were afraid that our luggage will not make in onto the plane. No worries we said. Our luggage will make it on the plane or then it won’t, but don’t stress we said.

In the end our plane was broken and they needed to fix it so our flight was delayed for an hour. No fault of anybody. I guess others thought its Friday the 13th and we thought Thank God It’s Friday, the 13th.

Upon arriving at Suvarnabhumi International to our surprise we were greeted with two tickets to the Immigration pace lane, and a quick lane for children. Immigration was over in 7 minutes. Pyry’s bag was the first to come onto the conveyer belt and the others followed soon after. Never has immigration and baggage claim gone so quickly. And the warm hug that Thailand gives when you walk out the airport is amazing.

Now it’s been two days in Bangkok and we’ve been checking out many of the street food places and comparing them to the non-street food restaurants. We’ve had many nice dishes and some not so nice dishes. One really good dish was fried frog (the recipe will soon be on www.tuktuktravellers.com. We will tell you when we get it started)

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Flied Flogs
Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Swapping between street food stall and restaurant quickly shows you the differences. Street food is by far better food for less money. Cheap restaurants are mostly for tourists who are afraid to eat street food or for people who want ‘Thai food’ made for western taste. Their food doesn’t taste fresh since they have a fridge and they keep food for the next day. They need to pay rent so the ingredient are chosen with money in mind. Expensive restaurants are better quality fresher food but they need to have some special fusion recipes and an expensive interior so they can justify the price. In short, more expensive means less taste for money and nicer materials around while you eat.

Street food on the other hand is always fresh because it has to be. There is no fridge, just ice to keep food cool. Every morning they get fresh ingredients from the market because yesterdays have been eaten (otherwise they would go bad). They pay no rent so they need not shimmy up the price. The food is made for local people with local taste, so the price is right and the food tastes the way it should! They buy the food with people in mind, not money in mind.

And about atmosphere, street food stalls are for the local community where everybody knows each other and takes care of each other. Everyone is seen and accepted as a person and nobody is seen as potential for money. This feels great in the modern world where people have become numbers. And when you add this to the thai love for children, you get the perfect experience with the family.

Yesterday Juho and his wife got to eat in peace because a homeless man played with their child leaving them free to eat. The man even shared his fruits with the kid and fried caterpillars with the adults and didn’t want anything in return. Sharing the moment with someone and being allowed to play with a child was enough of a joyful experience for him. He had a mohawk and was missing the front teeth but he was a super nice charismatic man with a super nice charismatic smile.

And for those who are thinking about an upset stomach. Millions of people eat street food everyday, and I have never heard of anyone actually getting sick from it. People that make food for their community care about the food. They have the same people eating everyday and bad food is not an option.

So if you want to taste true Thai food, don’t go to a restaurant. Pop by a street food stall and enjoy food made with love for people. It’s always served with a smile. This is what we aspire to bring with us back to Finland 😀