Discovering new foods with locals

Thai dessert

I jump at the chance to dine with locals anytime I get the opportunity, and thankfully I’ve been getting a lot of offers from new found friends over the last 6 weeks while I’ve been based in Mukdahan.

Every time I go out to eat with locals, I make a mental note to get the locals to order the food we are about to eat. This is by far the easiest way to discover new dishes, and over the last few weeks I’ve surprised myself and have learned to love many new dishes I either didn’t know about or thought I didn’t like it (and I’m pretty open minded when it comes to food!).

Take deep fried beatles for example… they look disgusting and having been bought up in the west with the mentality that humans shouldn’t eat bugs, it may surprise you to know that I have recently discovered they are in fact very delicious.

In Asia, fried bugs are very popular. I’ve tried them a few times during my first few trips to Bangkok, and I presume like most tourists, I eat them to show off with friends, yet didn’t stop and appreciate their crunch, delicate flavor and all round deliciousness. Now I’m hooked, and have discovered they pair very well with spicy sauce and a nice cold glass of beer.

I’ve also discovered deep fried taro over the last week, which again goes nice with beer. Also on the list is a new Vietnamese noodle dish I have yet to learn the name off, along with many Thai sweets I now absolutely adore (like the coconut slash custard-y dessert in the image above).

I guess having an open mind is one thing when it comes to eating new foods, but getting to learn the new tastes and dishes on offer is another.

Next time you’re invited out for dinner by locals, resist the urge to order your normal fare and let the locals introduce you to their dishes. You never know, you may be pleasantly surprised.

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