Two Years in Bangkok, Two Years of Blogging

In the immigration line leaving Luang Prabang last week, a scruffy guy heard Frank and I say we were on our way to Bangkok and turned on his heels.  “You’re going to Bangkok?” he said. “Why would you go there?”  (Actually, he used a much more colorful phrase, but I’ll skip that.)

I seethed.

“We live there.”  I said, and handed my passport to the Lao immigration officer.

If there is one thing I can say for certain after two years in Bangkok, it’s that there is a lot to love about this place.

In that immigration line, all I could think was – how dare this scruffy guy dismiss my vibrant, energetic, kind-hearted city with one critical phrase?  I couldn’t shake the desire to come to its defense.

I feel so fortunate to live here.  And even on the days where I step in a city puddle or have to cram into a crowded car on the train or get a disappointing bowl of noodles (nothing puts me off like a bad bowl of noodles ;)), I love this place.

Yesterday marked the end of our second year in Bangkok.  Exactly two years ago we stepped off a plane, blinded by the hot sun, and made our way into a new life in Bangkok.

Instead of a cake, or a fancy dinner, or even world’s best brownies, to celebrate the end of our second year and the two year anniversary of this blog, we let Bangkok cast her spell in the best way I can imagine – through food.

Last light, we took ourselves out for a Thai food feast to celebrate.

It started with a classic – Som Tum Thai (Spicy Papaya Salad with peanuts, shrimp, long beans, carrots, and tomatoes).

We had sticky rice on the side.  (As if we didn’t have enough sticky rice last week.)

There were these Sai Krok Isan (Northeastern Fermented Sausages filled with Rice and Pork).  A Thai colleague of mine introduced me to these.  The flavor is unlike anything I’ve ever had, and they are just sour enough that eating one never fails to make me crave another.

My favorite variation on the minced chicken/pork salads – Laab Gai Tawt (fried chicken tossed with toasted rice powder and fresh herbs).  I love this stuff so much that I make it at home – recipe here.

And then this.  This.  Yum pak boong krob.  Crispy fried morning glory topped with a tangy-sweet salad with pork and shrimp.  It’s amazing.  The morning glory is fried like tempura, and it is so light and crisp that it has an audible crunch.

We ate our dinner outside on a tiny street while the sun went down, kids played, families gossiped.

We drank beers with ice, because that’s how they’re best served on a hot Bangkok night.

We ended up in Bangkok by chance, but over time, it has become “ours”.

It has been a spectacular two years.

Two years in Bangkok.  Two years of writing this blog.  And there’s still so much more to learn.

In the next year, surely there will be more mishaps with the KitchenAid, more baking in really old t-shirts, and hopefully lots more cooking classes to be had.

And likely there will be plenty more photos to be taken on the floor, or the couch, or the futuristic dining table, because that’s where the light is just right.

Thank you for reading, and most of all for sharing your own experiences with food and travel through your comments and emails.

If I could have brought every last one of you out for dinner, you know I would have.

Comments

    • says

      It’s so strange the places you have to take pictures to get them to look right – you did some great behind-the-scenes pictures a while back, and I loved seeing how you do it. Our apartment is so small and I do most of the cooking on the weekend, so that if I always took full scene shots, Frank would almost always be in the background – lol.

  1. says

    Oh the things I do to get photos in the fading Swedish winter light… these days it’s on the kitchen floor with the balcony door open, a pizza box with tinfoil taped to the inside bouncing light back the other way, and many other variations of that set up!

    I’ll admit that when I traveled around Thailand last winter Bangkok was probably my least favourite stop, but we were there less than a day, weary at the end of our trip, suffering from endless tummy troubles, and ready to go home. I’m sure that given a good chance and a local perspective I’d love it like you do. Congrats so much on two years! Maybe I’ll get out my Thai mortar and pestle and bang out a green papaya salad in spirit!

    :)KT

  2. Lyndsey WTF says

    Ahhh! I can’t believe it has been two years! I have loved following things on the blog and have been in awe of your adventures, food and photography! We miss the heck out of you and cannot wait to see you in December!

  3. Mali says

    Wow this looks delicious! I absolutely love your blog! Keep it up! Also – what is the name of this delicious restaurant you went to for your Thai feast??? Please tell! I live in Bangkok but believe it or not I have a hard time finding a good Thai restaurant!

    • says

      Mali – I have the hardest time finding good, reasonable, spots in Bangkok too! I never know where to take people when they come visit. I love this place – it’s off the Chit Lom BTS, on Lang Suan Soi 7. The name is Luk Keao Neow – they have a menu in English, but I’m not sure if everything we order is on that menu. They can make all the Thai favorites though. It’s super casual, and really cheap!

  4. says

    I just came across you blog for the first time today but after seeing this post I’m ready to explore more! The Thai food looks AMAZING! My boyfriend and I start a 2 year backpacking trip through Asia and Europe in Sept and are currently finishing out time in China and heading to Vietnam in a few days. Thailand is on the itinerary for January and I am so so so excited for the food. I love Thai food back in the US but I’ve heard so many great things about the food in Bangkok and I’m seriously hoping it would be an improvement over Chinese food! If you are interested and in the area I would love to meet up (and perhaps hear some recommendations for good foodie spots in Bangkok).
    Vicky recently posted..Broiled Red Snapper with Chili Shallot SauceMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Vicky – you will love the food here – cheap and delicious! Definitely drop me an email when you get closer to your visit, and I’ll send you some recommendations. 2 years of backpacking!? Sounds amazing – I’m jealous!

  5. Addy says

    I am so happy to have just stumbled upon your blog. I am a fellow Midwestern foodie who lived in Bkk for 2+ years. I’ve been back in the US for about 1 year and miss BKK (especially the food) so much! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs and food explorations; they bring back so many memories. :) chok dee

    • says

      Addy – what are the odds!? It’s such a great place to live for a bit, and it sometimes seems like so many people pass through Bangkok. Being in the Midwest over the past couple of weeks has reminded me how much I appreciate both parts of the world. ;)

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