Eating locally/organically is a huge trend in North America right now. It has even hit my home city of Calgary, which is saying something, because A) Our growing season lasts for about 2 weeks and B) many Calgarians consider “redneck” to be the ultimate compliment. However, grow it has, and my mother, the original hippy/granola-girl is no longer alone in her obsession with all things home grown. I think this trend is generally a good thing – nothing wrong with using fewer chemicals and resources. The downside to the “locavore”/organic movement is how darned sanctimonious it often is.* Like, “lips that touch pesticides will never touch mine.” I personally alternate between being a self-righteous organic foodie and wanting to puke a little.
With this in the back of my mind, I was intrigued by my new neighbourhood’s food scene. It is as local as any West Coast tree-hugger’s kelp bed, without the moralizing. “Local and organic,” however, means something a little different here than it does in North America…
Exhibit A: The local fish and meat scene
It begins just outside our apartment courtyard, where the local welding shop produces tasty rabbit meat (ok, I have no idea if this bunny was destined for a bowl or pet-dom, but I’m guessing the former).
One of the ladies at the shop was so excited by my amateur photography that she wanted me to take a photo of her cat. Pretty sure she didn’t realize the real purpose of the photo shoot…
Stroll a little farther down the road, and you hit the local khlong (canal), which is essentially the lifeblood chugging through the clogged artery of this neighbourhood. This is where most of the “sea”food in the neighbourhood is caught.
Continue walking along the khlong pathway, and you’ll come to an organic pork farm. I couldn’t get a good picture of the squealing piglets without blatantly trespassing, but they looked like they were having a grand time rummaging through piles of scraps and garbage.
There are also a variety of good-natured ganders pit-pat-waddle-patting around in the muck.
Walk through the market and turn the corner, and you’ll come to the organic chicken farm. This is a critical operation, because deep-fried clucker is the cornerstone of Todd’s teacher-buddies’ diet.
Should you wish to sample any of these meat products, visit the Samut Prakan night market:
Or hunker down at a local restaurant:
And there you have the Thai version of local’n’organic meat. Knowing where my food comes from fills me with a complex mixture of emotions, but “sanctimonious” and “hungry” are not among them.
* No, ma. Not you.