Foodie Friday: Backpacker Grub

The time has come. I would be remiss in my blogging duties if I did not dedicate a Foodie Friday post to backpacker grub. Thailand is a magnet for backpackers, and if there’s one thing that all backpackers need, it’s food to fuel their intense lifestyle of sleeping in, wandering around buying stuff, drinking beer on patios, and wearing loose cotton clothing. When a friend from Calgary told me that her roommate was backpacking through Thailand, I knew I’d found the perfect chance to sample the gastronomic delights of the backpacker’s ghetto. I met up with the delightful Intrepid Italian Christiana, and we waddled, bellies first, to Khao San Road, the global Pad Thai epicentre.

Christiana intrepidly avoided the allure of the KFC lurking in the background

Generally, when people tell you that they just l-o-v-e Thai food, they are referring to one of the following items: red curry, green curry, yellow curry, tom yum soup, mango sticky rice, banana pancakes, iced coffee and last but definitely not least, Pad Thai.* These, when diluted with a Chang beer, form the nutritional pyramid of the Backpacker Diet. The Intrepid Italian and I only had an afternoon, but we plunged in with abandon. We take research seriously around these parts. She started with a bowl of green curry:

Green Curry (Gaeng Kiaw Wan) – not my photo, in case you didn’t already guess that from the good lightning and tasteful presentation

After a hefty dose of coconut-cream-laden curry, we needed a little iced coffee to cleanse the pallet. Thai coffee is going to receive its own post at some point, but for now, let’s just call it health in a disposable cup. It is a combination of Nescafe or espresso (if you’re lucky), evaporated milk, coffee whitener, a heaping helping of sugar and a goodly dollop of sweetened condensed milk, all mixed together and poured over ice.

And I also managed to miss taking a photo of our iced coffees, so you will have to make do with one of T-bone buying his daily dose.

We later moved on to Pad Thai. I go through phases with Pad Thai – sometimes it tastes like ambrosia from heaven, sometimes I get a little get sick of it. But in the end, I am forced to admit that the combination of noodles, chicken, egg, chili, lime, peanuts, and a gallon of hot grease is the ultimate comfort food. Like the proverbial dog to its vomit, I always return.

One of the approximately ten billion Pad Thai vendors on Khao San Road

We bring tidings of comfort and joy

It was necessary to wash this deliciousness down with a cold Chang Singha (they are basically the same brew). I cannot call this beer good, but it is adequate. Enough said.

It was cold and moist, so we choked it down

It was my dearest wish all day to find a plate of mango sticky rice, but the elusive vendor evaded me. I comforted myself with a banana pancake liberally doused in Nutella.

Like all good comfort food, these start and end with hot fat

It was a long journey back to my home in the suburbs, and on the way, I somehow felt the need to purchase and consume an entire pineapple to cut the grease in my gullet.

Calling my name…

It may not be the finest cuisine that Thailand has to offer, but there is a certain je ne se quoi about backpacker grub.

* Credit where credit is due: Thank-you Amara for the list idea and for sending your room mate to me

8 thoughts on “Foodie Friday: Backpacker Grub

  1. I’m ecstatic you two foodies had a wonderful day. I love that first image of Christiana! Her eyes say. “I am about to gorge myself…and my hair is awesome right now”. The only issue I take with this latest fundity is your treatment of Singha. SEA beers are fantastical and the perfect complement to all that is Thai. You may well be drawn and quartered for this blasphemy! 🙂 XO

    • Ok. I drank a Singha today, and I have to admit, it was better than Chang. But don’t try to tell me that it is an excellent beer – I think your nostalgia for Thailand is messing with your memory 😉

  2. That stuff all looks delicious – YUM!! And you don’t even have to prepare it yourself! Off I go now, to indulge in the best I can dream up quickly – John’s homemade gritty whole wheat bread and cold butter – mmmhmm!

  3. Yum! I’d never wanted to try Pad Thai, until you mentioned the heaping quantity of grease. Suddenly I’m more tempted. Scathing wit in your assessment of the life of a backpacker.

  4. I LOVE the nutella filled rotis. Khao San is in a league of it’s own…it’s funny how different the food carts are there from the regular ones around BKK or Pattaya. Regardless, DELICIOUS!!!

  5. Pingback: Todd doing toddly stuff | The Facetious Farang

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