I am a South African, from a small, nowhere little town called Uitenhage. I was working in Education and Training at a large IT company when the 2000 IT bubble burst and I found myself standing in the server room with no bubbles or bathwater left in the bath. Looking for a drastic change of scenery, or at least a break from corporate culture, I walked into a travel agent and asked where I could be flying to without a visa on the following Saturday. A flight to Thailand was wide open, so I bought a ticket. Three days after landing in BKK, 911 happened, and I thought it best to stay where I was – after all, it was clear that the West was about to get much, much worse. Besides, where I was, the culture was exotic and intriguing, the food was from the seventh echelon of heaven, and the people loved to smile.
Somewhere in the first year of living here, my dogma got driven over by my karma. I realised that I had fallen in love with the country and its people.
Something changed within and after almost a decade here, I will most likely never be able to live in the West again without feeling a vital part of me still wandering around in the Land of Smiles.
But I divert from the subject of my blog. Living in BKK one is constantly surrounded by food. Emergency snackfood, exotic dishes, unheard of combinations, a food repertoire that stretches back hundreds of years, and an unpublished list of dishes you could not get through even if you lived here a lifetime. All this, no more than a pavement away. In fact, Thai culture and Thai food are inseperable. If the Thais had a number 1 national pastime, it had to be food. Second to this must be talking about it. People would ask you, not how you are, but whether you have eaten.
There is nothing that cures a bite of homesick like a plate of comfort food. In fact some of the best cooking blogs are written by expats – at least the best South African ones. For the first five years in Thailand I lived a fairly Zen existence, without a kitchen. Without a fridge or hot water. But with the arrival of my son, Barian, everything changed.Within days I moved to a wonderful apartment that boasted something resembling a kitchen. Life in Thailand was never the same after that.
For the last 4 years my time in the kitchen has increased, and I have splurged on every kitchen appliance and gadget. The mix of having a well equipped kitchen and having a authentic little Thai fresh market within walking distance from my house, the kitchen has become a place where I can really live out every aspect of being in foody nirvana. Be creative, experiment, have fun and learn more about the wonderful art of cooking every time I make something – be it a dish I have never made, or something I have made many, many times. One thing is certian, there is so much to learn about cooking and even though really cooking is applied science, experiments that arrive on the dinner table are as unique as the experience was making it. No matter if its the same dish you’ve made for the 100th time! It rarely turns out the exactly the same twice in a row.