Sorry for the late post on some of my thoughts while I was in Thailand this past April. But any way I think that's it's better late than never so here's something that I wrote while I was in Thailand sitting at a, thankfully air conditioned, cafe and I want to apologize in advance if my writing has too many grammatical errors in it.
After about 10 years of being in the United States, I finally made it back to Thailand and for the first time in my young adult life, I found out what the phrase “a stranger in my own country” really meant.
On March 31st 2010 I made my journey to Bangkok, Thailand, my birthplace and a place where I will stay for the next 17 days. When I arrived at the airport in Bangkok, I was immedieately overcame by the heat and the hustle and bustle of the city. My extended family was the one who greeted me at the airport and once we got all of the hugs and kisses out of the way, I was off to stay at my aunt and uncle’s house for seven days. My aunt and uncle were as gracious as ever and really took care of me as if I was their own child. But that was to be expected since Thai people are friendly and one of the first things that we ask visitors or even strangers is “have you eaten yet?”
My first meal in Thailand of over 10 years was “ Chicken Rice”. This dish was composed of white rice that’s been coated in garlic scented chicken fat topped with ski-on boiled chicken meat, coagulated blood cake and the dish was accompanied by a simple soup, cucumber and spicy-sweet dipping sauce. This dish is a very traditional Thai dish that can be eaten at any time of day, most popular being the morning time. And like many of the traditional Thai dishes, some type of vegetable that has a “cooling” effect such as cucumber was served so that some fiery dipping sauce won’t destroy your palate.
Over the next few days I was fed very well and my aunt and uncle insisted that I didn’t have to pay a cent for any food that I wanted to eat. It is very amazing how foods invoked familiar memories of my younger days in Bangkok. My aunt cooked one of my favorite childhood dishes called “ Pad Stall” which consisted of a meaty part of a the “Stall”, a type of Asian vegetable, stir-fried with ground pork, chilies, and seasoned with lime juice, fish sauce, a little sugar and of course MSG. This dish had the typical tastes and flavors of South East Asian food: sweet, salty, sour, spicy, and bitter. It is not just a saying when I say that food can help you recall even the oldest of memories.