Soi Time aka When We Don’t Cook

Roughly three times a week, we may be too lazy to cook after work so we venture off down the road to cobble together a dinner for the night. In Thailand, it’s common to get a meal or parts of a meal at the nearby soi, which is a side street (not an alley) branching off from a major road. Vendors line up on the sidewalk leading up to and on either side of the soi: fruit, veggies, sausages, fried chicken, grilled pork, som tum, gaeng moo, grilled fish (with heads!), larb gai, fried rice, sticky rice and so on.

This is actually a fun, social event because we’ve started befriending the different folks who own/run the stands we frequent the most. In doing so, we have gotten to practice our conversational Thai but also bust out Lao on occasion since “The Fruit Guy” hails from a village that’s not very far from where my family comes from.  Sometimes I’m all over the board with him and he starts laughing because I start mixing Thai, Lao and English together. Dan continues to impress people with his willingness to try anything and ability to eat everything 🙂

The Ginger Beard  emerges and faces the 4-lane road outside the school campus.

The Ginger Beard emerges and faces the 4-lane road (and sun glare) outside the school campus.

It takes all of 3 minutes to get to the soi of our choice, passing small businesses and apartment buildings.

It takes all of 3 minutes to get to the soi of our choice, passing small businesses and apartment buildings.

This is when things get a bit squished on the sidewalk, and we walk single file.

Things get a bit squished on the sidewalk, and we have to walk single file while avoiding mystery water.

Things are still calm around 5pm so that's when we try to hustle out there...that happens 1 out of 3 times.

Things are still calm around 5pm so that’s when we try to hustle out there…that happens 1 out of 3 times.

The long stretch of soi with vendors everywhere, hawking their specialties.

The long stretch of soi with vendors everywhere, hawking their specialties.

Some vendors have makeshift seating for street side dining -- Thai version of "fast food."

Some vendors have makeshift seating for street side dining — Thai version of “fast food.”

This is Khun Maew (her name means 'cat'), our current go-to person to get delicious stews.

This is Khun Maew (her name means ‘cat’), our current go-to person to get delicious stews. She’s fun!

Sometimes a stew just isn't going to be enough, so we hit up one of many fried chicken stands. We still need to learn his name...

Sometimes a stew just isn’t going to be enough to fill up our hungry bellies, so we stop by one of the many fried chicken stands. Dan usually takes care of the ordering here. We still need to learn his name…

We swing into 7 (nobody says the '11' part) about 80% of the time to get a lime (manao) soda or Pepsi Max

We swing into 7 (nobody says the ’11’ part) about 80% of the time to get a lime (manao) soda or Pepsi Max. We’ve befriended 2 clerks there — Khun Annie and Khun Kwarn — but it was too busy and awkward that day to get a picture of them. Next time, though, I’ll be a bit more confident in making myself a public spectacle.

The Fruit Guy aka P'Taht is definitely part of our routine :) Our usual orders are pineapple, watermelon and papaya.

The Fruit Guy aka P’Taht is definitely part of our routine 🙂 Our usual orders are pineapple, watermelon and papaya. If I’m craving something extra tart, I’ll get a green mango with a spicy dipping sauce.

He refused to pose for a pictures, so I just stole a shot anyway. I didn't realize how comforting it would be to speak Lao with a person in Thailand...but it is definitely a welcome respite from the Thai I stumble over.

He refused to pose for a picture, so I just took one anyway. I didn’t realize how comforting it would be to speak Lao with a person in Thailand…but it is definitely a welcome respite from the Thai I stumble over.

And then we are back home within 15 minutes of leaving with a full meal for roughly 150 baht (just under $5 USD).

Leslie

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