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Tuesday, 01 May 2007

Can you Spare a Square? - Page 5

Written by Sherry Ott
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Have you seen the Sienfeld episode, “Can you Spare a Square”? In Sienfeld they were talking about toilet paper - however in Thailand - I’m referring to a napkin. Thailand has this weird mix: the spiciest food, and the smallest napkins. This may not seem like an issue, however, when your sinuses are running like a faucet due to the spicy food; you need more than a tiny napkin.


bugsThat night I went to the night market and dragged Emily along again for some papaya salad, meatballs, and any new delights that we could find. There we came across something that we had never seen at any night market before…insects. I’m not talking about the ones flying around, I’m talking about ones to eat. As I peered into a pile of fried grasshoppers, locusts, and worms - I realized - I had met my limit. I couldn’t eat the bugs. There would never be enough napkins in this market for me if I ate a bug.


emilyHowever, Emily did not disappoint. She kept staring at them, going by the stand over and over, and hovering by it. I finally just said…”Go ahead - you know you want to try them…just do it”. We gave the lady 1 Baht and she gave Emily a Locust looking bug - about 3 inches long. I readied the camera and she bit…chewed for a bit - and said that it was ok. However - she wasn’t ready to get a bag for dinner. We got our other food, sat on a curb and ate our spicy food with our little napkin - proud of ourselves for being the only Caucasians at the market. We ended the night with wine, ice cream, cookie crisp cereal and a outdoor movie at the bar. What a great town!


sausagesMy whirlwind eating tour was coming to an end. I was so proud of myself for trying everything (minus the big bugs…come on, give me a break), eating all of the places the guidebooks tell you not to eat, and loving every minute of it. I hope to educate everyone on the fact that sometimes you need to ignore the guidebook’s advice and just do what feels right. Try new things - if you are in Thailand try the papaya salad Thai spicy.


But most importantly, I finally learned why you only get a little single-ply napkin in Thailand. Thai people feel that it’s distasteful to wipe your face with a napkin and then put it back in your lap to use again. In essence you are re-using a dirty napkin that way. They believe that napkins are for one time use, and you can use how ever many you want. So don’t be afraid to sit at your table in Thailand piling up a stack of napkins the size of Mt. Everest…its customary! Happy Eating!


Me and my tiny napkin

©Sherry Ott

(Page 5 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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