It’s cool season here, which means at night the temperature plummets to 75 degrees. It’s kind of like what I imagine the weather in heaven would be like. Cooler evening breeze. Song birds chirping down the sun.
The last few weeks I taken too eating out on the street more. I’ve built up the bravery or the food tolerance to try and sample each of the stalls in my neighborhood. Here’s my usual routine.
I find a stall where lots of people are eating. I find out what’s cooking. If they have a menu in English, it’s a bonus, but in this area, most can tell me what they’ve got. I order something.
Since there is a 7/11 or minimart, literally every 100 yards, I amble to the closest spot and buy a 1 dollar beer and open it at the register. I come back. I sit at a tiny cozy table on the curb on a little plastic stool. About the time that I return, my food is just coming off the heat.
They bring the food.
I eat and watch the world go by. The school kids and working people come home. The ladyboys come out for the night. The food vendors ramp up their woks or griddles. It’s a terrific transition into the evening.
On the next street over, I found some competent Pad Thai. A woman in the next stall was setting up shop for the evening. She sold fruit smoothies and Mango Sticky RIce.
If you’re not familiar or you’ve not tried this dish, I urge you to seek it out. Amazingly simple, but takes time to prepare. Steamed glutinous rice, mixed slowly with sweetened coconut cream. Sprinkled with toasted mung beans and then topped with a ripe mango and then doused once again with coconut cream. If done right, the rice is still warm and the mango is chilled for an temperate collision on your tongue. There’s the sweet, the tart, the warm, the cool, the smooth, the crunch.
I don’t think I’ve had better than the other evening. I don’t often get too dramatic about food. And perhaps it was the beer. Or, perhaps it was the culmination of a week wading through grief and loss. But, this edition of mango sticky rice, purchased at that moment with the tuk-tuks zipping by and amidst the chatter of the world, brought a tear to my eye. The mango, hand picked that morning, didn’t dissolve, as much as sublimate directly from food to flavor. Everything was perfect.
I loved it so, that I went back again the following night, and again tonight to make sure that it wasn’t a fluke. Tonight, we were recognized as regulars. The vendor, Khun One, picked out the boxes with the two best mangos. She threw in a free tea drink
The second and third times were just as perfect.
If you want more info on MSR, check out this link here. Or stop by, I’ll show you the way there.