Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Culture Clash: Breakfast in Banglamphu

In a life before, my work involved occasional travel to foreign lands. I was often confronted with curious new foods on a meal-to-meal basis. I came to find my comfort zones in each of these places through much trial and error. On these travels, my dear boss once observed that the hardest foods to carry over from culture to culture were breakfast and dessert. Over the years I worked for him, Kevin had many insights, but this one has stuck with me: breakfast has a tough time hopping borders.

On my honeymoon many years ago, I was inordinately excited that there was a Japanese chef and that his breakfast spread included a rice soup bar with all manner of fixings, preserved meats, pickled bits and more. I can still picture that breakfast bar. Each day, I chose a different combination of stuff for my rice soup and it was always an adventure. It is sometimes fun to not have a clue what you're eating.

On our recent trip to Bangkok, we stayed in Banglamphu, not far from the Chao Phraya River and the Khlong (Canal) Banglamphu. We arrived in the city in the middle of the night after about thirty hours of travel. When we woke up to a rooster crowing somewhere nearby, we knew it was time to scope out breakfast. We found our new breakfast place down an alley, past a dark little wet market where light just peeked through the buildings. They had a variety of different Thai dishes and you could order them in bags to go or to eat there over a plate of rice. 

We chose different things every morning. 

There was a day our eyes were too big for our stomachs and we went overboard, but we dialed it back after that.

yes, I plan to eat all these bamboo shoots!

There was a day that things were too spicy for me and I needed to use an ice cube to cool off my burning lips. I had been warned.

hot, hot, very hot.

I'm suffering here.

still suffering, but it was worth it. really.

Jean-Francois asked for extra fried garlic with every meal. It was caramelized and sweet and absolutely sublime.

The elder son who helped run the place commented one day that we would miss them when we went home. Do we ever!

Next up, my Patango guy.

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