Meet Jessica Hulse Dillon, a food and travel blogger from Virginia. Jessica is new to the blogging world, and on her site, Tasty Belly, she chronicles her culinary adventures, both close to home and away on travels. Her goal is to visit as many countries as she can, and from what I can tell from her Twitter feed and her busy travel schedule, she may very well manage to make her way around the world. Here’s Bangkok, in her own words.
My Edible City
Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand has always been one of those places that seemed exotic and larger then life. You see pictures of the intense beauty of both the country and its people and it is hard to imagine how the beauty and grace could exist side by side with the intense Thai economy that has spawned in the capital of Bangkok, clearly I had to find out for myself how both could exist together.
My Favorite Dish
Pad Thai. When I got to Bangkok, I of course had to eat all of the Thai food I could get my hands on, including my favorite Pad Thai, and while the American versions I had previously had stayed quite true to its origin in general flavors, the overall Thai Pad Thai experience was quite different. One of the most common Thai dishes enjoyed in the US is Pad Thai, which is something I have always enjoyed. The combination of the spicy and sour sauce, along with the crunchy peanuts, and light noodles makes it both filling and light.
The best place to find a Pad Thai in Bangkok is from one of the many street vendors around town. Armed with a rolling cart equipped with a gas burner and the traditional ingredients these mobile chefs create an amazing meal on the go for tourists and Bangkok residents alike.
The vendors are stocked with multiple kinds of noodles, your choice of protein (shrimp, or chicken) and the sauces, bean sprouts, peanuts, and limes to create the sour and spicy dish that makes Pad Thai so delicious. Upon walking up to the cart the vendor begins with some oil and an egg in their huge wok. From there they toss in your protein, or not if you prefer the vegetarian option, your noodles, the sauces, bean sprouts, and peanuts. Traditional Pad Thai sauce is comprised of tamarind paste, fish sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar and pepper. The better the vendor the more of those ingredients were kept separate and added to the mix as it cooked, while vendors on the cheaper side tended to have one sauce mix that was added.
Once your vendor is done cooking your Pad Thai it is passed off to you on a tiny plate, which makes sharing tricky but not impossible, as you want to eat it while it is still hot from the wok. The whole dish costs somewhere between 50 and 75 Bhat (between $1.50 and $2.50) and between the show you get watching the vendor make your meal and the joy from eating it, street Pad Thai is one of the best experiences I found in Bangkok!
- Pad Thai at Thip Samai (The Best in Bangkok?)
- See a video of Pad Thai being made in Bangkok
- Make it at home: Pad Thai for Beginners
Photo Credits: Bangkok picture by Mr. Wood (Flickr Creative Commons); Jessica’s portrait and Pad Thai picture by Jessica Hulse Dillon.