Food and Food: Asia and General and Travels06 Feb 2008 07:38 am

Life isn’t always a beach here in southern Thailand and sometimes supply runs must be made. While there are smaller mini-marts and 7-11’s on every block, plus fresh markets that sell simple household items, produce and hot food, sometimes you just need a dose of the west.

Phuket has a few different western grocery stores now; quite a change from even five years ago when the only one in town was Big C, which is where we headed today. I’m not sure about the name. My dad thinks it’s a throw back to “Big K” when K-Mart was popular, and I’m fond of that explanation myself, but the truth is, this is Asia and who the hell really knows?

Here’s my mom behind the wheel. It’s weird to have her driving now, as I’m used to my dad doing it. It’s pretty stressful driving here. Today alone we were stopped at a police checkpoint, a van almost backed up onto us and a water buffalo and her calf were in the middle of the road by the condo. She does pretty well, but sometimes she still hits the windshield washing lever instead of the turning lever in the car.

After a 25 minute drive, we arrived at Starbucks for our pre shopping coffees. I had hoped to escape my addiction to their expensive drinks while here. So far, this isn’t happening.

We drove down the road a short distance to Big C. It’s a discount/grocery store and two other levels of shopping, food and even a mosque. Almost all the shoes in this picture were about $6 a pair. I think the thrill is gone for me though. Last year, en route to Hawaii, the heel on a pair of them snapped off on me as I walked down the jetway. It cost me almost $12 to repair them, and now I’m too scared to wear them anywhere. This year I’ve mostly been looking at flats.

There were some karaoke booths on the top floor. Thai only, I think.

Many Thai snacks are often strange combinations of sweet, savoury and doughy. Think pineapple hot dog buns or fluffy pork sugary rolls. These little bunnies looked alright though.

Big C displays a lot of it’s fresh meats in the same fashion of the Thai markets, on ice and in open air, not in air chilled chests that we deal with.

Do not get sucked in by pepper steak Lays as I was. The steak on the package…it looked so juicy, so meaty, so right for putting on chips. I was dismayed upon opening the package that the aroma was similar to some dollar store brand of manly stew. I’m not even sure a dog would eat these. Very reminiscient of some “meat cookies” I bought a few years ago at T&T.

Nori seafood are a much more delicious choice, surprisingly.

Most stores have an aisle for monk’s supplies. They are ochre colored buckets and baskets full of the items any hard working monk might need. Paracetamol, tomato sauce, candles, condensed milk. There was also a special aisle set up for Chinese New Year.

Mom, working the aisles.

There was a large cosmetics section, with the counter being worked by a ladyboy. There are many skin lightening products available…and also this. To get rid of “menlanin”. I hate it when that stuff hangs around. Making me all colored and such.

We were getting kind of hungry so we went to the Food Zone for a snack. I don’t think I’ve eaten at a food court at a mall in Edmonton for years, but the food courts here are different. They usually focus (like food carts in the street) on a particular item and cook it to order, with payment coming from a prepaid card you load up before ordering. It’s kind of a strange system, but it works out well.

These ladies were selling deep fried fish and curries.

The traditional Thai condiments are readily available.

I got some rice and Korean style pork and soured cabbage, with a pineapple shake. I think it was about $2.

I didn’t get any, but the Thai desserts were really popular. There are some kidney beans here, palm hearts, rambutans and preserved bananas of some kind.

As we left, I came face to face with a common sighting at malls in Phuket, the half naked German jaybird. Unfortunately (or luckily?) I wasn’t able to capture the full extent of his, ahem, plummage, but I can only hope after looking at shoes, he headed towards the store selling pants.

5 Responses to “Phuket Outing”

  1. on 06 Feb 2008 at 6:27 pm Jayson

    Such a great entry and you have to end it with THAT guy?!! Hahaha! I’m glad you are having a great time and keep the entries coming because the cold, grey, gloomy dark winter is doing me no favors here!

  2. on 06 Feb 2008 at 7:54 pm Kelly

    I had considered posting a warning about that last dude, but then I thought about how horrible it was to see the FRONT of him (seriously, that fanny pack he’s wearing only accentuates matters) and how you guys could live with the ass shot.

    I’ve washed my eyes with bleach, however.

  3. on 06 Feb 2008 at 11:44 pm 32-P

    LOL! I loved the fluffy bun photo… and then kept scrolling and got to the ‘other’ fluffy bun photo. Two in one post! That’s talent, girl.

  4. on 07 Feb 2008 at 9:48 am Par

    Thanks for that last shot. I don’t see enough disturbing images during my day job.

    Out of curiousity, are you seeing a lot of these “whitening” products? I was under the impression that they serve a similar role in Asia that spray-on tans serve here (with the added bonus of making white people uncomfortable about Asian standards of beauty.)

  5. on 08 Feb 2008 at 7:07 am Kelly

    Yeah, I don’t know what it worse. Some Romeo who thinks his tanned ass is the bee’s knees or some yokel from Hinton’s crack. Yikes.

    And yeah, Par, the whitening and lightening products are everywhere. The construction workers wear FULL BALACLAVAS in the heat and long sleeved shirts and full pants to protect themselves from the sun. It’s kind of a weird dichotomy between the foreigners who bake in the sun all day long turning blacker and blacker and the bar girls who complain about their skin getting ‘black’ and cover themselves from the sun in anyway they can. I’ve had more than one conversation with a Thai about why white people want to get rid of their white skin. I could go on for ages, but I’ll leave it at that. It makes me sad.