My bra didn’t fit properly after just a few days eating in Bangkok.
Everything else was pretty tight, too, but I prefer to focus on the positives. It’s a pattern I’ve come to expect when I have a limited amount of time in a delicious city, but refuse to eat anything less than a month’s worth of meals in a quarter of the time.
In a culinary Mecca like Bangkok, I often spend more time researching food in the lead up to a trip than I do time on the ground. It’s not that I dread the thought of a wasted meal (well, that also), I simply end up down edible rabbit holes, ill-fitting-bra-deep into the history of a dish like guay tiew reua (boat noodles), or liaising with food-loving locals from afar.
I enjoy the lead-up almost as much as the real thing, but no matter how much I research, I’m always prepared to throw everything to the wind if I see a queue of workers around a particular street cart or end up at a market that brings me to actual tears of happiness and frustration, because I know I won’t be able to physically taste something from every stall.
Bangkok is a punchy, pore-clogging combination of fish sauce, chilli and smoke. It’s the electricity of makrut lime and Chinese neon signs, the crunch of deep-fried insects between my molars and litter beneath my feet. It’s the innovation of moo ping street carts, new-age bar tenders blow-torching native cocktail ingredients and the playful giggle when I bite into a cube of boiled pig’s blood bobbing in tom liead moo.
Bangkok is a swirl of noise, flavour and sweat, capped off with catharsis that that washes over you when you finally lie down at the end of the day. It is one of the world’s great food cities, and I fantasise about spending a year eating out three meals a day and still barely scratching the surface.