Monday, February 18, 2013

Aroy Mak Mak!!

I ate so much on this trip that I'm afraid I am not going to have pictures to do every meal justice.  But the food in Ubon definitely deserves its own blog post.  If you love to eat - if you live to eat - Ubon may just be your paradise.  Practically every street stall, no matter what it is selling - is selling something delicious.
That's why one of the very first words I learned in Thai is aroy, or delicious.  Mak means "very".  So basically everywhere I went, I was chirping, "Delicious VERY VERY!!" in barely restrained bliss.

I sampled all of the street food at will, with not much fear of getting sick.  The street carts were very clean and everything was really sanitary.  It was nothing like Bangkok, which just seemed grimy and dirty in comparison.

I guess the food can be a bit of a shock, especially if you're not used to being served shrimp or fish from head to tail.  But otherwise I thought it was overall pretty normal fare - rice, pork, chicken, fish, shrimp, a lot of vegetables.  It wasn't like we were eating bugs (although that was admittedly at my request).  One of the things that I find very annoying about American grocery stores is how meat and seafood are reduced to nearly unidentifiable blobs, rendering the consumer as far removed from the entire killing and preparing process as possible.  Therefore American consumers are absolutely oblivious to the animal he or she is eating.  Guess what?  The creature you're putting into your stomach once had brains, guts, and eyeballs!  It wasn't always a pretty piece of pink meat under saran wrap cover in the refrigerated section of your supermarket.  I guess you're not going to be surprised to hear that I strongly believe that anyone who eats chicken ought to have reached their hands inside the carcass and also know what cutting through a chicken's neck feels like, and anyone who eats shrimp ought to know how to handle the head and the veins.  You know what a head of lettuce looks like, don't you? Everyone should understand what she's eating.  Ok, rant over.

A partial list of the things I sampled (scarfed down) on this trip:
papaya salad     fish covered in three-flavored sauce     pad see ew    coconut juice 
coconut jelly     banana pancake     mangosteens     mango sticky rice    green mango
yellow mango     banana chips     roasted seaweed     jackfruit curry    lotus root curry
morning glory curry     spicy roast eggplant     beef jerky    tamarind    longan fruit
smoked chicken    moo bing pork    sticky rice   Isan hotpot     hoi tod    gyu jap noodles
snakehead fish    fried yellow fish    fried spring rolls    banana leaf salad     quail eggs
sugarcane chicken skewers    hot soy milk with sago    mini fried crabs    khao tom

Until next time, Ubon!

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