Around the World in 100 days Place & Taste Column

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Bangkok, Thailand

When you think Bangkok, your appetite should instantly amp up. This has to be one of the best places in the world to have a food trip in. As you walk the streets of Thailand’s capital, you are often bombarded with the alluring aromas of street food. If you observe closely, Bangkok is a juxtaposition between the peaceful and the hectic. While the traffic can drive some people insane, many are able to keep up and experience this colorful city. The constant hustle and bustle here will keep you wanting to explore more of what this city has to offer and try out new things. 

Chatuchak Market | This is one of the largest markets in the world where you can find almost anything, from traditional souvenirs to hawker stalls to street food, and even fake designer goods if you’re into that. This area is filled with so many trinkets, which can easily be more expensive than usual, so be cautious. Nonetheless, try your hand at bartering and see how low you can go. Take note, this should be more of a place to explore rather than a place to actually shop at.

Chao Phraya River | This river, which cuts through the city of Bangkok, offers a lovely view of the city away from the crowded and congested streets. You can take a boat along the river, which is one of the best ways to get around, depending on your destination. The best times to ride would be at sunset or at night, when you can appreciate the city lights.

The Grand Palace | Admire the gilded structures of the Buddhist temples here at the Grand Palace. Within each temple, you’ll find that they are all elaborately embellished. You’ll also notice that monks are practicing quietly in some areas. As with all other destinations, please be aware of the cultural norms and remain respectful. With that said, observe the tranquility and avoid being the boisterous tourist.

The list of foods to eat in Bangkok is endless. If you ate one dish at one place, it could taste completely different at another place, despite it being the same dish. The cooks here are playful with their recipes and their variations are exciting. Many Thai recipes, if you try to cook them traditionally, have quite an extensive list of ingredients, which all work harmoniously. This inevitably packs some serious punch to your taste buds. 

Panang Curry | Out of all the variations of curry around the globe, this is one of my personal favorites. What sets apart Thai curries are their prominent use of coconut milk, which provides a richer taste. Panang curry is a type of red curry that mixes in fresh herbs – including kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and galangal to name a few. Oftentimes, you can choose which type of meat or other protein you want in your dish.

Mango Sticky Rice | As the name suggests, this dessert consists of glutinous rice mixed with a coconut and pandan syrup, which is then topped with freshly sliced mangoes. The slight tanginess of the mango accentuates the dish, while the sweetness from both the rice and the mango itself balance each other. This simple dessert can be found almost anywhere, meaning you can finish every meal with it, if you really wanted to. 

Thinking of Thai cuisine can certainly stir up some aggressive cravings. You could have food trips consisting of just strolling around, frequently grabbing small bites of street food and not even have full-on meals. However, be careful about where you buy the food from, lest you may risk an upset stomach or food poisoning, which is probably the worst thing that could happen when you’ve dedicated yourself to just eating. Bangkok is a lively place with so many things to experience — from the food to the places to the nightlife, and maybe to that one forgetful morning — it’s a place you definitely want to add to your bucket list.