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.

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Pulled Pork In Phuket [Burger King!]

Two types of BBQ pulled pork sandwiches now at Burger King in Phuket

Most days, I stick with Thai food for my meals.  Not only is it much less expensive and generally healthier than the farang food that I enjoy but I actually find it much more satisfying.  Yes, I still crave proper Mexican food but as that is so rare in my part of Phuket the Thai fare fulfills my need for spices.

Once or twice a week, however, I splurge a bit and hit Western food eateries.  Usually that involves walking to the Indy Market held in my neighborhood on Thursday and Friday evenings where I can count on chile cheeseburgers from the less-than-one-year-old Tuk Tuk Diner cart.

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Por Tor Festival in Phuket Town

Despite Thailand being a Buddhist country I believe Phuket has more Chinese religious festivals than any other.  The big one, of course, is the Phuket Vegetarian Festival occurring annually in September or October.  This week we have the Por Tor Festival which marks the opening of the gates of hell and the liberation of restless evil spirits.  These spirits are called “hungry ghosts” and the festival is often referred to as the “Hungry Ghost Festival.”

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