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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4 thoughts on “Soi Time aka When We Don’t Cook

  1. My dear, dear, very special grandchildren,

    Thank you so much for this posting and especially for the pictures. The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is most certainly true. Can’t say I would love to go dinner shopping with you. You know me and spicy ! Shopping at street vendors reminds me of Mexico and “Montezuma’s revenge.” Probably not the same at all. These places look very clean and neat and of course the two of you like all the items you mentioned . . . not so sure about the fish with heads on, though.

    It appears that you are very much into the culture of Thailand and loving it ! ? ! Your Sol Time seems to be quite a fun adventure. Thanks again for sharing with us. I love you dearly. Grandma

    • Grandma, we ARE loving it. We may have experienced a bit of “Montezuma’s revenge” when we first got here, but our stomachs are getting used to the new spices and dishes…Dan is especially winning over the hearts of all the older ladies who cook up these dishes with his willingness to dig in 🙂

  2. Yay! Looks yummy! Anything non-spicy foods you’ve tried that I can eat?

    And it looks like you have quite a spread! How much does it cost to get a meal there?

    Also, do you usually take your food home or do you eat at those outdoor seating areas in the picture? I guess I’m wondering about fun crowds, exhaust, animals, people begging for food, etc.

    What foods haven’t you tried yet?

    Okay, now I’m just being nosy. We’ll have to skype sometime next week!

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