When I first moved to Bangkok, I was eating street food 3-4 times a day. At £1 a meal, I figured eating Bangkok street food would be cheaper and better than cooking food myself. A few years later, and my opinion has changed greatly.
Today, around 90% of my meals are homemade, with the other 10% being a combination of street food and nicer restaurants.
MSG in Bangkok street food
I didn’t know too much about all the MSG in the local street food in Bangkok until a friend told me about it. I try to avoid chemicals when I can and eat clean as possible (usually), but had no idea I was consuming so much MSG.
I learned how to say “no MSG in Thai” – it’s “Mai sai pong-chue-rot” (in before some corrects me in the comments).
The next time you go to your favorite street food stall in Bangkok, just say that after you order your dish and taste the difference. The downside from asking for no MSG is the food doesn’t taste as good.
Pro-tip: they will only remove MSG from dishes they make on the spot. Don’t ask them to remove MSG from pre-made curries that they will just re-heat.
I’d fall asleep after eating street food
The amount of sugar, fat and oil that goes into street food dishes in Bangkok is enough to put a horse to sleep. If I ate a big plate of rice and meat, 30 minutes later I’d be out cold sleeping. Not sure if this is due to the high GI in rice, the sugar content, overloading of bad oil or a combination of everything, but its good night Irene for me.
It’s cheaper to make food at home
While not a huge issue, I realized it’s 50-60% cheaper to cook your own food at home. On average, I pay around 25 baht a meal I cook myself and I get to pick better ingredients, coconut oil over reused palm oil, better cuts of meat and brown rice.
Pro-tip: some of you cannot cook or are too lazy to cook. If that’s the case, jump on Thai Friendly, go on a date to Villa Market and convince the girl to cook you a week’s worth of dinner which you put in ice-cream tubs.
Thank me later.
Street food is still epic value
Having cut down on Bangkok street food, I still think the food is fucking great (if it has MSG) and the price is just as fucking great. When I first arrived, I think I was eating too much and certainly felt the effects. I gained a ton of weight, felt fatigued all the time and had long naps every day.
Now I’ve found a balance, I no longer take those naps, feel fitter and healthier. Who knows, if I manage to sell a few more eBooks on freelancing in Thailand I may even be able to use Paleo Robbie full time.
What are you thoughts on Bangkok street food? How often do you eat it? Do you agree with what I’ve said?