Tattoos and Thailand Part 1
Tattoos and Thailand Part 1
A few winters ago I spent 31/2 weeks roaming the North of Thailand. It was too touristy to go down south to any of the islands, so my friends and I decided to explore the north to end up in Chiang Mai by New Year’s Eve. I was blogging for a now non-existent site back then and I had this idea to take as many photos of tattoos and food as I could during my trip and blog about them. And so the journey began.
We started out in Bangkok, staying a few nights there. We stayed in the touristy area near Kawasan Road. That road is jam-packed night and day with tourists. Tattoo shops litter the road with restaurants and souvenir shops selling everything from fake i.ds to dresses and shoes. It’s hectic and it feels good to get out of there.
One night while in Bangkok we took a tuktuk (a 3 wheeled enclosed motorscooter/taxi vehicle, I don’t recommend them without a surgical mask as you inhale all the exhaust the traffic) to Chinatown to walk around and eat. A majority of the restaurant windows either had dried shark fins and edible bird’s nests displayed for eating. The bird’s nests are called swallow’s nests in Chinese and are a delicacy usually in the form of a soup.
It turns sweet and gelatinous in liquids and is traditionally believed to provide health benefits, such as aiding digestion, raising libido, improving the voice, alleviating asthma, improving focus, and an overall benefit to the immune system. The nests were originally harvested in caves in Borneo but now with growing demand are harvested in man-made nesting houses mainly in Indonesia. Most are white, but there are natural red nests. They are found in caves on one of Thailand’s islands. An interesting fact is there is a lot of counterfeit nests and is a huge industry with a large black market.
After walking around for a bit looking at all the herb shops and restaurants, we decided to leave Chinatown to eat at a 99Baht (about $3.50 usd) all you can eat Thai-style shabu shabu restaurant that is situated along the Chao Phraya River that runs through Bangkok. Shabu shabu is a Japanese dish that consists of thinly sliced meats or seafood and vegetables that you poach in boiling water or seaweed broth called dashi at the table.
A dipping sauce is served with the meat, usually a citrus soy sauce called ponzu or a sesame-based sauce of some kind. The resulting soup is usually eaten at the end. It was pretty insane! Probably the strangest place I’ve ever eaten but definitely one of the coolest. First off, it was huge and all outdoors. It was literally rows and rows of raw meat, seafood, vegetables, fishcakes, tofu, puddings, cakes, ice creams, and jellies all covered by little roofs and safely on ice. It was pretty clean considering the amount of food and people.
The business made food seems to turn over quite quickly as well. In the uncovered, open area right on the river, there were rows and rows and rows of tables of all sizes and shapes. It seemed like almost every chair was filled with someone casually stuffing their face in between loud chatter and louder laughs. Then there was the stage. Flashy live karaoke of Thai-pop songs seemed to fit this atmosphere perfectly, I was wondering how many beers it would take to convince one of our friends to get up there and belt one out. We all ate to our hearts content, packing in the food and drink. It was a great time, really the first of many on this trip.
Stay tuned for more on actual tattoos and more food in Tattoos in Thailand pat 2…!!
Photos by me