First week in Thailand
Blog posts: 4
As an expat in Thailand I know how to make sure my food is meat free and what dishes to avoid. However, it wasn't always this way. In my first few weeks living here I received meat on my plate multiple times! Sometimes it was a matter of going hungry or eat around it. I had to unhappily choose the latter a few times however, one time in particular sticks out the most...
My boyfriend and I were really excited to get on our first train ride in Thailand to a city six hours away. Well, actually only three hours however the trains are slow and delayed, all the time, everyday. “Thai time” at it's finest. As we board our train we were quite surprised to find that there wasn't a seat available! We walked up and down and came up short. So we stood. After an hour or two we got hungry and found some seats available in the dining car of the train. We actually were quite excited to eat on a train and didn't eat anything for dinner. We were really hungry at this point!
As I eye-balled the menu it was apparent that I was going to have vegetable fried rice as it was nearly the only veg option. The menu stated: 'Fried vegetable rice' with the Thai writing directly above it.
I thought- Awesome! I don't have to worry about anything. I just point and we're good. So that's exactly what I did. I pointed to the “ fried vegetable rice.” She asked me, “chicken?” I said, no! No meat! She gave me the oddest look and walked off. I thought nothing of it and enjoyed the view of the rice fields and random statues of Buddha speedily passing by me.
As our food arrived to the table, I was ready to eat and starving. I picked up my fork and spoon, (yes, fork and spoon... spoon in the right, fork in the left- then eat) and noticed a lump of chicken on my plate with a few bits of veggies and a large heaping portion of rice. I was so upset. I thought my pointing to the fried vegetable rice” was a fool-proof plan! I tried to ask the waitress if she could kindly fix my meal, which was an epic fail and just received a laugh and a reply of, “No English.” Needless to say I was on the train for at least another4-5 hours and I was forced to eat the bits of rice around the chicken.
Lesson learned! I quickly started learning all the Thai words possible for asking for vegetarian food, no meat, I don't eat meat etc... Vegetarian food is most certainly available here, it just doesn't seem to be the most popular option for the locals and they often feel the need to help or provide what they think is best. They mean it well. However I think I would rather you add extra veggies if you want to help out next time please!
Cover image by Mrkt