The most common are broccoli spears that garnish the noodle bowls and, if you’re lucky, a cook will tuck some broccoli flowers between the cloves of garlic and onions.
In the markets we’ve seen cucumbers and beans, garlic and onions, and leafy hunks of greens with no discernible identity.
We’ve discovered that you need to ignore the menu that reads “fried vegetables” and just go ahead–that way you are guaranteed to get some color with your deep-fried fish or chicken and hunks of pork.
Everything is fried. Sigh.
One evening I had delicious duck pieces swimming in broth with flattened greens–like kale–a real highlight of our trip.
And one lunch Honey ordered a vegetable omelette and–although he uttered no complaint–it was clear the vegetables emerged from a frozen concoction of peas, carrots and corn right from a cellophane bag (a rarity–the food is usually super fresh).
We often decide on Pad Thai which comes with noodles and a few vegetables and loads of meat: shrimp has been the most common item.
I was sorely tempted to try the cockles at an outdoor vendor near our hotel in Bangkok (we got great Pad Thai here and a wonderful vegetable stir-fry with wee corn cobs) but my common sense–which is easily persuaded to depart from its core mission–won over: no experimenting with shell fish or salads (I guess shrimp doesn’t count).
The dishes listed on the menu are usually catalogued by meats–fish or chicken or pork.
We skip over the salad and the pages that are headlined “Spicy,” which take up a whole section on the menu.
At our hotel you can order food for lunch or evening (although we usually go out) and it comes from a local take-away–so it’s just like getting street food.
Breakfast is a delight: lots of fruits including pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe and papaya, and I tried my first lychee–which tastes like a sweet grape once you relieve it of its rough skin.
The staff puts out a different juice daily: apple, papaya, passion fruit, aloe vera, watermelon with tomato, and orange.
They will make you roti with sugar, or you can get a crepe with eggs enfolded.
I found a plain crepe was delicious with fruit and yogurt.
We feast on a variety of homemade breads, including sliced breads with one dyed green, another yellow, and another red.
As for drinks my favorite is “soda water”–bubble water that’s easy to find.
We know to avoid local water and ice, but, after the first day we realized you almost always get ice in drinks–the Bangkok residents seem to have ice in everything (except beer).
Beer is plentiful but wine is a specialty available only at restaurants for tourists.
We seldom see hard alcohol although bars aren’t uncommon on the streets.
If the drinks are cold then we opt for straws rather than ice, and there’s plentiful cokes and orange soda.
On our return from a very hot train ride from Ayutthaha I drank 2 soda waters with ice at our hotel and I didn’t mind having to get up twice in the night to pee.
Photo from the Bangkok Flower Market
[Please forgive spelling errors I didn’t catch]