This Is Thailand #2: What’s on the Menu?

I love to go out to eat in Thailand as it’s always an adventure. The best food is to be had from the myriad of road-side stalls, some of which appear after nightfall along random sidewalks and others are more permanent affairs in markets or other long-established locales. There are indications as to what is on offer at some of these vendors but I long ago perfected the method of pointing at what I’d like to eat as I often don’t know the name in either Thai or English. In restaurants, I follow the same method of pointing at the picture of what I’d like. Sometimes these have a number. If English is involved, there is guaranteed to be at least one big example “lost in translation.” Here are a few of my favorites….

I think the most common menu misspelling has to be “crap” for “crab”. In fact, a Thai-English menu isn’t complete without this.

I think I’d prefer my friends boiled, in a little garlic butter perhaps. With a side of “dalad”.

Can I have the horse urine on my devil porridge, please?

Prince tribute with the boiled chicken.

Curry bypassed what?

Can I have extra bubbles in my soap?

Back to the crap….

I’d reckon strawberry crap has got to taste better than poo sushi.

You have got to admire the Sheraton for listing ALL of the ingredients.

What exactly is in Thai rish coffee?

From a mall directory in a land where Kentucky Fried Chicken is considered to be Italian food.

I often wonder why the many English teachers here never seem to be consulted before anything is printed in this country…

Many restaurants intentionally de-spicify (um, is that a word?) food when the customer is a farang (non-Asian foreigner). I usually add my preferred degree of hotness from the on-table condiment selection but some farang are a bit more insistent in trying to make the cook understand they want bpet mak (“very spicy”). I imagine this receipt — from a shopping mall frequented by Westerners — is a bit of fun revenge towards such unsubtle demands, unusually delivered in English to drive the point home:

Finally, Pizza Company dominates the delivery market here in Phuket amongst both Thais and expats both for their low prices and constant promotions (although Pizza Hut tastes much better). Pizza Company frequently introduces innovative new flavors for more of a Thai experience. However, I don’t think the Land of Smiles is quite ready for this flavor combination….

Happy eating!


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