Slurrrrp! A delicious lunch WithLocals

This past Saturday, T-bone and I had a very unique experience. We stuffed Hunca Munca into her sausage casing carrier, went for a ride on the BTS, and ate an obscene amount of food. None of that is unique – it pretty much describes every single weekend of our Thailand existence. The unique part is that we got to eat the obscene amount of food in the home of a lovely Thai family.

I was recently contacted by WithLocals, a company that connects travellers and locals through the power of chow. Basically, locals with a passion for Thai cooking invite travellers to come to their homes for a meal. WithLocals vets the host families, and then posts their profiles on-line so that travellers can choose a dining/cultural experience from a variety of options and price points. I thought this was a brilliant idea, and when the company invited me to enjoy a meal with one of their host families, I was pumped. It doesn’t get much better than a mound of tasty calories cooked by friendly people who don’t mind if Hunca Munca tags along.


Or more accurately, they didn’t mind that we tagged along with Hunca Munca

On Saturday morning we made our way to the conglomeration of shopping malls next to the Siam BTS. Depending on how much you like to shop, this neighbourhood is either utter paradise, or pure, unmitigated horror. Fortunately, we weren’t there to shop. A friend of our host family met us at Siam Center, and drove us across the river to the lovely home of Meaw and Eiad.


The two friendly faces in the back row other than Todd (I wouldn’t call my face friendly in this photo)

Our hosts were extremely welcoming, and they had prepared a MOTHERLOAD of Thai food for us to try. I had to use my full powers of introversion to contain my excitement when I saw the delicious spread on the table.


Mmmmmmm…… Where to start……


Two friendly fellas just begging to be eaten



Som Tam (green papaya salad)



Spicy beef salad. They grilled the beef over charcoal, and it was deeeeelicious.



I didn’t get close-ups, but the feast also included pad Thai, pork omelette, rice, french fries, and spring rolls


While we ate, Hunca Munca alternated between sitting on our laps, taking selfies with the helpers in the kitchen, growling with our hosts’ friend,


and writhing around on the floor. Todd’s pretty good at eating with Zoe on his lap, but I’m a terrible multi-tasker, so when it’s my turn to hold’n’eat, I usually set up a little “play center” on the floor. Oops. Did I just admit that publicly…


Just chillin’ with her multi-coloured cow/giraffe thingey

As we ate, we got acquainted with our hosts. It was neat to learn about their backgrounds, and they were interested to hear about our experiences in Thailand.

By the time dessert rolled around, the “play center’s” entertainment value had worn off, and Hunca Munca was asleep on my chest. I didn’t think I could hold any more food, but you will be relieved to know that I girded my loins and gave it my best shot. It’s a good thing that I am so determined, because there were at least 4 desserts to sample.


Mango sticky rice and some interesting rice flour flowers



After dessert, our hosts showed us a display case with photos of all the travellers they had hosted in their home, and told us that they would add our photo to the shelf. I’m not sure that our sweaty mugs will improve the look of their home, but we were touched by the sentiment.


Before we left, Meaw presented us with scarves made out of traditional fabric, and invited us to visit again. We were really overwhelmed by their generosity, and I do hope we’ll have a chance to take them up on their offer.


I would definitely recommend this experience, especially to travellers. It can be difficult to meet “real” locals when you’re a tourist, and WithLocals provides a great opportunity. If you want to enjoy a meal with cute Meaw and Eiad, select “Dine in a homely setting.” Your heart and your stomach will both be full when you leave 🙂

Foodie Friday: Som Tam!

Before I left Canada, I hadn’t eaten a great deal of Thai food. I couldn’t even remember the Pad Thai that I had sampled while traveling in Thailand 8 or 9 years ago, and when I asked my friends what kinds of Thai food they liked, they tended to recite the tourist-friendly list that I referenced here. In other words, I wasn’t sure what strange new foods I’d be consuming on a regular basis. I certainly didn’t expect my primary food group to be a bizarre combination of unripe papaya, peanuts, fish sauce, chillies, and dried shrimp – otherwise known as Som Tam. Or that I would salivate like Pavlov’s dog at the mere mention of those two syllables…

I am craving unripe papaya and fish sauce at 8am.

Som Tam is a traditional Thai salad. In addition to the aforementioned ingredients, it also contains cucumber, green beans, tomato, and a heapin’ helpin’ of sugar.

Thai chillies, cucumbers (sharing a bin with tiny eggplants, I think), and shredded green papaya

Tomatoes and green beans

The ubiquitous peanuts, and dried shrimp (hard to tell in this picture, but they are minute)

Our favourite Som Tam vendor is located across from Todd’s school, and we usually visit her 2-3 times per week. She is an indomitable woman, which is a good thing, because Todd gives her a list of customizations that would fell a lesser soul.

The Indomitable Som Tam Lady

The list goes something like this “Only half a chili. No, the smaller half. Still too much! No sugar. No palm sugar. No cane sugar. No sweet. Little fish sauce. Dried shrimp in one bag. No, only one bag. Too spicy.” etc, etc. Except that Todd jumps on the tonal bandwagon and tries to say it in Thai, with mixed results. His attempt to say “not sweet,” for example:

“Mai Wan.” Didn’t register. “mAAi wan.” Nope. “maaaai waaaan.” etc. I give the man credit for trying. Som-times he succeeds brilliantly.

I always thought that I was “good” at eating spicy foods until I moved to Thailand. I can just manage half of a large chilli in my Som Tam, but some of the other farang teachers can allegedly handle 3 or 4. While this blows me away, it is still pathetic when compared with the level of spice that most Thai people enjoy/demand. They probably wouldn’t stoop to eating Som Tam that contained less than 3 or 4 handfuls of chillies, for fear of permanently dulling their palates.

A little too “phet” (spicy). Don’t tell the other teachers, T-bone.

Spicy or not, I can’t stay away from this strangely wonderful mixture.