That night we went out for dinner.This was no regular dinner, as we would be eating with Mark Wiens, an incredible guy who is fast becoming an internet maven on Asian food in general, and Thai food in particular.
Mark is a young guy, who has made it his mission to travel the world and really learn his way around the local food. He now lives in Thailand, and I had arranged this meal with him before our arrival in Bangkok.
It was a real monsoon night, and the taxi ride that should have taken 15 minutes took an hour. By the time we arrived at the restaurant that Mark had chosen (far away from any tourist area), he and his friend Joel had already ordered a feast and had begun to slowly tuck in.
I don’t have a good idea what we had – Mark had ordered a big selection – meats, fish, salads. This was an Isaan restaurant – not the regular Thai food that you and I come across in our North American cities, but rather food from northeastern Thailand, from the region of Isaan, where the culture is Lao influenced and where the dominant tastes are chili and tamarind, and where sticky rice is an essential part of the meal. Our table had a fish on it with vegetables stuck into the mouth! Luckily my kids are adventurous eaters and didn’t bat an eyelid. And they loved it when the sticky rice was served – each one of us received a steaming little bamboo basket, with the rice cooked inside!
The food was delicious and the company was fascinating. Mark’s friend Joel has chosen to live in a tiny Thai rural village where he teaches the local kids English. He’s the only Westerner there, and the nearest store is about an hour away. And Mark isn’t only a Thai food fundi – he’s been to Burma, China, Sri Lanka and many other countries to explore the food. He’s even published a huge guide to Thai Food, which he sells online.
Check out his website – if you love Asian food, you’ll find it downright fascinating. Scroll down the page of Mark’s list of the 100 best foods to eat in Bangkok:
After a real food adventure, it was back to our very quirky hotel in Thewet.Plan Your Trip to Thailand