“I really want to eat crickets off a food cart,” I said to my lifelong friend J.P. when he graciously hosted me in Bangkok last March.
“Jenn, I’m not eating street food,” he sternly said.
I’ve always admired my friend J.P. and treasure our friendship which began before we could walk. It wasn’t until high school when we really connected and had a goofy little dance we did after the Pledge of Allegiance. It was a tribute to a favorite pop icon of the ’80s yet it always amazed us no one noticed us doing it. If they did, no one said a word. I remember a mutual friend in high school telling us J.P. and I would be friends for life and she was right.
J.P. is working in Bangkok and at the time of my visit, had a pretty good grasp on being a Westerner and navigating the Thai world. It had been years since we last saw each other but just as good friends do, we picked up where we had left off. I remember him as a kind, honest and hardworking person and today, he’s even more so a wonderful individual. I’m extremely proud of his accomplishments.
When I told him I wanted to eat crickets off some food cart in the middle of a Bangkok street, I knew I was pushing his comfort zone. I compromised and told him I wanted to try street food one night but he didn’t want any of that. Being the good friend I am, I teased him hoping he’d fulfill my request. As resourceful as he is, he had a solution, Eathai Food Court at Central Embassy, one of several luxury shopping malls in Bangkok.
Eathai is the largest food court I’ve perused and although I’m a foodie, found it a bit overwhelming. There were so many delicious looking culinary temptations it was difficult to settle on one item, which is why we chose a few to sample and share. Dishes varied from bites served up from Bangkok street vendors to fanciful dishes. I don’t recall everything we had, but it was flavorful and tasty. But, crickets and insects weren’t on the menus.
The way it works is, you browse the different “vendors” and select which food items you’d like, you’re given a ticket and food is delivered to your table. At the end of your meal, you hand the cashier your ticket(s) at the food Eathai Food Court exit. It’s a fantastic way to sample different flavors and for Bangkok travelers who may be a little shy in trying something from a food cart, Eathai is the ideal solution.
Afterward, J.P. and I headed to Chikalicious Dessert Bar also located in Central Embassy where we capped off the evening with sweet confections and cherry brandy.
On another night in Bangkok, we headed to K Village where there happened to be a market with various independent vendors selling a variety of goods ranging from homemade sorbet in nifty flavors as Tarmarin Sorbet, Ruby Guava Sorbet and Olive to pizza sushi to jams. After nibbling on a few items (then taking some gelato back to J.P.’s apartment) we dined in one of the K Village eateries.
For lunches, I tried a Burger King one day and tried a Thai-centric burger, and enjoyed pad thai at Bangkok’s famous Chatuchak Weekend Market. J.P. did find a place for me to munch on crickets and other insects, where I also grabbed a sweet ear of roasted corn.
On my final night we dined at Lemongrass, within walking distance of J.P.’s apartment. It was the perfect way to say goodbye to Bangkok, Thailand and J.P. I enjoyed the Gai Pad Med Ma-Muang (chicken with cashew nut).
My visit was short, a week with time split between Bangkok and the Loei Province, but I could already tell Thailand is a flavorful kingdom. Someday I’ll return to savor more of its delectable dishes.