In the evenings, a giant counter with local fruits was laid out near the entrance to the hotel.
There were so many of them that one species crammed another, they were full of all colors and, with rare exceptions, were unfamiliar to me. I regretted coming for just a couple of days …
There are no places on the streets of Bangkok where people would not eat.
Trays and trays, carts, display cases, counters — all hisses, boils, baked, fried. Immediately arranged plastic tables for which you can sit down and eat with an appetite for a quick meal. And it will not necessarily be cockroaches, but sharp pork, fried with rice and wheat germ, or "pad thai" — A favorite dish of foreigners, rice noodles with egg, crushed walnuts and sweet curry.
Serve carefully — in disposable plates and with forks.
Thailand is an ideal country for the first acquaintance with Asia. In a sense, even glossy. For those who already have experience of traveling in Asian countries, the Thais, with their love of cleanliness and gourmetry, inspire a feeling of unlimited trust.
If you are afraid of street food, you will lose a whole world of tastes.
In Bangkok, even newcomers eventually buy something: they start with small fruit skewers, and at the end of the day they return to the hotel with a full package of fruit.
… I bought a guava on the first night.
I like her sharp sweet taste. That’s all the way to the hotel could not understand where it smells so monstrous.
And it smelled something from my bag.
I had to lock her up in the bathroom for the night.
Fruit vendors roll their carts along the multi-tiered streets of Bangkok. They sell durians, which are similar to dinosaur remains. Fragments of it are wrapped in Thai packages with Thai care (you heard, probably, how it smells: in decent hotels you can even see a sign on the doors "crossed durian" — it is forbidden to enter with fruit).
They sell rambutans, "star" carambola and brown balls — either small potatoes, or large walnuts — longans.
At the hour of the most unbearable heat, I always look for a broom in the seller’s crowd, and I always buy a giant citrus the size of a soccer ball. Pomelo can replace iced tea, soda and lemon juice, snacks, and even chewing gum: it consists of giant slices, each of which, in turn, consists of a thousand fine petals with the taste of either grapefruit or sweet pineapple. You can eat endlessly, enjoying, without haste.
And the aroma is so fresh, as if sitting under jets of rain, honestly.
Fruits in Bangkok want to eat like fruits — by themselves. But they, of course, are used in Thai cooking. Start with the fact that nothing is lost.
The peel is sugared, the bones are boiled or overcooked.
Overripe fruits are baked, fried, dried in the sun and then made snacks, candied fruits, cakes, jams.
Immature soaked in syrup or eaten with a sauce of salt, red pepper, sweet chili and coconut and added to spicy soups and salads.
And so those in the juice, as ingredients can be found in the most unexpected dishes.
Papaya goes to the fish, pineapple goes to the duck, melon goes to the pork, mango and sweet tamarind go to the chicken and seafood. And you can interfere with any kind of fruit in rice — it is believed that in hot weather it is the best food for the stomach.
Therefore, the menu of Thai restaurants is similar to the holy books in thousands of pages: only one section "rice" takes a few sheets. And how often the word occurs "coconut"! Coconut for Thais that for us potatoes: without him, no soup to cook, no rice, no dessert to cook.
Coconut-legume-meatballs, savory coconut noodle pie and amazing coconut cream pudding are all one and only lunch.
Chaopraya flows in the middle of the Thai capital. Agree: for the city there is no better decoration than the navigable river.
On Chaopraye, along the banks of which alternate poor houses on stilts and skyscrapers on a hundred floors, you can see route boats and rockets, boat taxis, gondolas and steamers, canoes, barges the size of a small airfield … : on numerous channels that two hundred years ago ordered the Thai king to make an impression on his trip to Venice, scurrying around the boats with food, stoves and a grill … The hot lunch is bought by the inhabitants of the coastal houses, the passengers of the oncoming gondolas.
In the trendy narrow-gondolas move mainly tourists.
Someone goes for cheap ridiculous antiques, which can be found on a floating market on the outskirts of the city, someone — on a crocodile farm, to have fun.
And someone just admires the views from the river: the golden needles of temples, stupas and the royal palace.
In our European view, the local palace is incredible kitsch: all three hundred of the incomprehensible purpose of the buildings are covered with a thick layer of gilding.
On a sunny day, it is impossible to walk without sunglasses.
In the main temple of the palace on a high pedestal sits a completely emerald Buddha, 70 centimeters tall.
Depending on the season, they change it, — at the time of my visit, the Buddha was wearing a golden (again!) Net coat.
In the temple next door, Wat pho, Big Buddha — 46 meters.
This most huge reclining Buddha is captured by the masters at the moment of their departure.
Its feet are decorated with pearl miniatures. Quiet, shocked by the greatness of the moment, people with lotuses in their hands bypass the statue in a circle, throwing sacrificial coins into the ringing trays …
An old ferry brought us to the stupa of Wat Arun, and we climbed up, along its 264 walls, decorated with fragments of broken Chinese porcelain. Hundreds of years ago, from all the lands where wars were fought, Thai nationals brought bits of broken dishes and decorated it with Wat-Arun.
Strange after all taste! One involuntarily remembers that on the streets of Bangkok every second housewife is wearing a T-shirt with Mickey Mouse or playboy bunnies, and every third woman in the age has a bundle of trinkets with pokemon attached to the bag. "You see, ”my companion told me,“ the Thais are very proud that no one has ever colonized them. Maybe that’s why they are such a distinctive nation.
Nobody dictated what was good and what was bad.
They just have their own taste".
Just like Thai fruit. In the gastronomic restaurant, where we had dinner after Wat Arun, I ordered a fruit salad — of star carambola, translucent (not hairy) rambutan, something like a plum, and the ubiquitous papaya.
In the spicy soup, which was served with sticky rice (it is here as bread, it is eaten like bread, hands, rolling into balls), small pieces of jackfruit and mango were swimming.
And for dessert they brought homemade longan pie with coconut sauce.
In Bangkok, I had a meeting with the prince. The most real.
As Cinderella relies, that day I was especially good, and in my hands was almost a real bouquet. Unaware of what was about to happen, I went to the market and saw large, walnut-sized, raspberries on long green branches.
The seller deftly opened the rind of one of them and squeezed a white jelly ball into my hand. He also told why in Thailand litchi is called the «dragon’s eye»: the white ball, they say, looks like a squirrel, and in it there is a bone-acorn.
Shocked by the fact that litchi is not a fiction, I bought a whole bunch "raspberry".
So I walked along the avenue with a bouquet "dragon eyes"when a policeman suddenly stopped by shouting. The street seemed to stand still: not a single car, all the passers-by stretched out at attention, even the air froze. Suddenly motorcyclists flew over the horizon — and after their swift flock an old "Rolls-Royce" ivory.
In it, believe, I managed to see the passenger — a young man in military uniform. The procession completed forty "Mercedes" same red color. "What was it?" — I asked the policeman when the street shook off the stupor. "Crown Prince"He said with a gasp.
For Thais, there is nothing more sacred than the king and his family.
And in Bangkok there were apples (although in fact they are not even relatives of our apples). "Custard apple"covered like dragon skin; it makes an unforgettable milkshake, with a very sweet nutty flavor. "Sugar apple"from which ice cream is made and which is so nice to eat with a spoon straight from the skin. "Rose apple", like a transparent Bulgarian pepper …
Lack of space in the suitcase made me spend "Beauty contest" among thai fruits.
The winner received the right to travel to Russia.
Won a dragon fruit — very spectacular in appearance (juicy pink-red egg with predatory thorns), but not too bright in taste (it is somewhat similar to strawberries and kiwi, although both are much more fragrant).
You understand that in such contests the form always goes around the content.