When I first told people who had visited Thailand before that I was planing on going the reaction was almost always the same, “You’ll love it there! definitely try all the food you can get your hands on”, They all said. I found the same message on all blog posts I read also. Now, having been there, I definitely see why this advice is given, as Thailand can be a food lovers dream, but for all my picky eaters out there traveling can get quite stressful.
Before I start I do want to clarify a few things. The term “picky eaters” kinda has a bad rep. It’s usually associated with toddlers that don’t want to eat vegetables.
This is not meant to be a guide as to how to find the nearest McDonald’s so that you can eat all the same things on your vacation that you eat at home. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but part of what I love about traveling is pushing past your comfort zone and breaking out of the things that you do ( and eat!) so much on a daily basis that they have become routine.
On the other hand, I also understand the struggle of there being certain things one just can’t eat, whether it being for taste reasons, allergies or other dietary restrictions.
When it comes to myself, I simply can’t eat seafood or any fish at all really and I’m not a fan of meat and eggs either. Seeing as the majority of dishes in Southeast Asia contain at least 1 of these ingredients I struggled a bit, but I also managed to come up with a few tricks that allowed me to experience the Thai kitchen without compromising too much.
I started off with the mall food courts, then worked myself up to the street food.
Not because I didn’t trust the street food, but because I figured out pretty fast that when you order street food in Thailand, you kinda just take whats given to you. Maybe this was due to the language barrier ( the more I think about it the more I’m convinced of this) but gesturing “no eggs please” to a street food vendor didn’t take me far. That worked better at the food courts. The food you get at the food courts is very similar, if not the same to the ones offered by street vendors with the big plus of a menu in english (most of the times) with detailed ingredients and the workers are more likely and maybe also willing to understand you.
This was a great way to tryout the various meals so that I could order confidently at the street food vendors and did not have to rely on how the food of the person ordering before me looked like ( even though that can be fun too)
I got recommendations from other travelers.
Recommendations are essential to the way I travel, I basically run on them. The best kind of recommendations are those from other travelers. It’s through them that I knew to look out for sticky rice with mango and not to skip out on Thai Chai. So they’re a great way to make use of other people experiences. Kind of like an own personal food taster. (Taste buds are different though so do take every recommendation with a grain of salt.)
I was flexible, open to try new things and compromise where I can
Like that one time my pad Thai came with more eggs than pad Thai or the many times I ate things that up to this day I’m not exactly sure what they were made of.
I can’t compromise when it comes to seafood, but when it came to the stuff that usually just doesn’t taste good to me like eggs for example, I was occasionally surprised by how something can taste so different depending on how it was prepared.
So don’t be afraid to try away,