But what a way to liven up the tastebuds with a searingly hot seafood salad (above). Raw prawns, squid and little clams were selected from a big tray of ice and dumped briefly in boiling water, before being fished out and then added to a plate. Tomatoes, strips of raw onion, lime, fish sauce and garlic are pounded in a pestle and mortar, then added to the seafood. It was a slow-building heat, leading to proper fire in the mouth.
Our first night saw us meeting up with @NicolaChilton for some street-side eats. It's always great to be taken around a new place by a local, even though you've never met before and Nicola took us for some cracking pork noodles. We then headed off to Soi 38 off Sukumvit, to sample Pad Thai cooked ferociously in a wok, packed full of vegetables and allegedly made with condensed milk. The vegetables had a great crunch and a lovely, smoky flavour to it, without the sticky sweetness you get in London Thai restaurants.
We finished off with sticky rice and mango. The mango was soft and deliciously sweet, while the intensely coconut flavoured rice was light, not like the dense, rich examples I was used to. Outstanding eats.
Another food highlight of our trip was stumbling upon a street food vendor near the Khao San Road. Not a word of English was spoken, and in the end we resorted to pointing at another table's food with a thumbs up. A pork laab, heavy on the shallots and topped with toasted crunchy rice was accompanied with a little plastic bag of sticky rice. Tom yum soup, also with pork, came as a big vat. Sour, spicy and savoury all at once, it was as good as I've ever had it.
Staggering around Chatuchak Market with a raging hangover was pretty painful. The biggest open air market in Asia, it was heaving and hot. I took refuge at a bright cafe, and all they served were Isaan-style salads and Thai sausages. Deep fried chicken tossed with shredded papaya, chilli and limes took the edge off the Sangsom head I was sporting.
It wasn't all good. Intrigued by the 'broccoli and mozzerella pie' and the dessert 'corn pie' in McDonald's, we ordered both to try out. Both were fucking disgusting. We weren't hugely surprised.