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Thailand for beginners

The country in a nutshell

A review of Eating Thai Food

Bangkok is one of the best cities in the world for street food (I would argue the best, but proof is not actually in the pudding as the pudding quality is unfortunately subjective). There are noodles and rice and fish and pork and, uh that green looking thing and that mushroom that looks like a rock, and that other thing that looks like pudding but it’s maybe made from blood?

Drooling on the digital pages.

If the variety is both fascinating and astounding, the breadth of such a movable feast can prove an obstacle to making a decision. And it’s such a pity (although, arguably a fairly delicious pity) to spend a two week holiday in Thailand only eating pad thai and green curry simply because you don’t know what else there is to try.

Enter a newly published guide to Thai food written by Mark Wiens, author of the blog Migration Mark and co-curator of www.eatingthaifood.com. In Eating Thai Food Guide, Mark has broken down Thai food into three categories, including seafood, Isaan food, and everything else, and lays out some good ground rules for ordering a Thai meal.

Whether eating from a cart in a back alley in Bangkok, trekking through Northern Thailand, or ordering at your local Thai restaurant at home, this guide categorises and makes easy to understand the essentials of Thai cuisine.

Helpful for travellers, there are tips for dining alone, for vegetarians and vegans, and a language guide so you order exactly what you want. For travellers to their local Thai restaurant at home, there are plenty of descriptions and information about other dishes you may want to give a shot.

The lay out of the guide isn’t as clear as it could be, but it’s a definite must for the adventurous Thai food eater. The author has lived in Thailand for over two years, and this work really shows his love of eating, and his willingness to go anywhere and eat anything.

Referenced in the book (and available free on his blog) are maps and guides to street food areas and specific restaurants in Bangkok. Copies of Eating Thai Food Guide are available here for US$7 — print it out and get ready to get it greasy!


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