It's been just on a year since I started RealThai. I'm spending more time on it than ever, it finally more or less looks the way I want it to, my photo editing skills are improving (just take a look at some of the early images!), and as a result, more and more people are reading it. Occasionally I'll even get an email from a reader who happens to be passing through Bangkok, asking to meet up. Such was the case with Maia, a food addict living in Paris. She had asked if I was willing to meet, and deliberately playing on my weaknesses, had promised a grab bag of food-related goodies from Paris. How could I say no?
We at Hua Lamphong and began our day with a bowl of kuaytiaow khae consumed in the medieval-like bowels of Chinatown's talaat mai:
After a bit more wandering, Maia bought three bags of tofu skin, as one does in Chinatown, and we proceeded to Thanon Tanao. Stopping in at a cafe we met this monk, who wished us lives of 130 years, and who was exceedingly proud of the Japanese clock he purchased for 300 baht:
Maia, a self-confessed "weirdo magnet", was loving it. The monk, who originally came from Lopburi, had been a monk at nearby Wat Bowonniwet for an astounding 49 years!
At lunchtime I had an appointment with with another fellow blogger and RealThai fan, Göran Lager. Göran, a food historian, is the author of several books in his native Sweden, and also does stories for a food program on Swedish radio called Meny ("Menu"). Upon discovering my blog a few weeks ago he was surprised to find that I used to live in his hometown, Sollentuna, and decided to interview me about Thai food:
In flipping through RealThai, Göran and his wife (who is Thai) noticed my obsession with som tam, and we knocked back a couple while he asked me, in Swedish, about the dish. Now, I'll admit that I used to speak Swedish somewhat well, but that was back in 1998. In the decade since then I've spoken a total of about 14 words of Swedish, and the "interview" that resulted that day was a garbled mash of substandard svenska, equally bizarre English and, oddly enough, somewhat accurate Thai. Thankfully, Göran appears to be a professional and can edit out the bad bits, although I imagine he's unable to do anything about my American accent. In an effort to capture the entire som tam "experience" he even recorded the sounds of the som tam being made:
My guess is that this sound was somewhat more interesting than my interview.
So, if you're a fan of RealThai and happen to conduct a food-related program on your country's national radio, or are willing to bring gifts of exotic treats, by all means, do drop us a line.