The street food of Bangkok is arguably the best in the world. Passing along almost any street it's possible to perpetually graze, like a whale would plankton, on a myriad of delectable morsels from tiny stalls lining the pavements almost 24 hours a day.
In the Mos Eisley like streets around the travellers hub of Khao San road in Bangkok I discovered a dish that haunts my taste buds to this very day. If there is anything that can kick start hunger in me it's the smell of charcoal and barbecued meat. One stall was selling barbecued chicken drumsticks, ribs and these small skewers of meat. I picked up a selection and headed back to the balcony where myself and a couple of others were doing our to best to finish of a bag of finest thai stick before crossing the Cambodian border the next day. After finishing of the chicken and ribs I put one of the skewers in my mouth and instantly transformed into a salivating idiot. The meat was deliciously smoky, sweet, tender and with a slight tang that I couldn't quite place. The taste was just so good I couldn't explain myself to my cohorts in any constructive manner. What I was meaning to say was "Dear God! This barbecued meat is one of the finest things I have ever tasted" but what came out was a series of enthusiastic grunts that went "Munnhhhhh! Munnnnnhh, oghhhh, munhhh...moh, ahmgeddingmoh!". These sticks cost about 4 baht each (10p) so I immediately went down and bought a load more to pass out to my friends. So began an evening of taking it in turns to pick up more skewers from the street below and return to the balcony to eat more and watch the world pass go by. I have seldom in my life spent such a satisfying evening as we sat eating these porky miracles, smoking weed and revelling in the giddy euphoria brought on by eating too much meat.
Vegetarians often cite bacon as being their greatest meaty temptation but they can't have sampled these sticks of Thai delight before. I'd defy even the most committed veggie to resist their lure. Even Morrissey. Lock him in a room with a plate of these and within minutes he'd have scoffed had the lot and be licking the juices off his fingers with eyes rolled back in his head in ecstasy. I swear they are that good.
For months after I got back from Thailand the memory of their taste would come back to haunt me in my dreams like the memory of an old lover I just couldn't forget.
For months after I got back from Thailand the memory of their taste would come back to haunt me in my dreams like the memory of an old lover I just couldn't forget. It was torturous and heartbreaking. All other food became bland and uninteresting, mere fuel while my tastebuds demanded satisfaction. Finally, one day whilst walking through a summer festival a familiar smell hit my nostrils that instantly transported me thousand of miles away back to a certain night in Bangkok. The elusive skewers!! I found the stall selling them and discovered from the owners that they're called Moo Ping. After spending a good while buying up most of their stock the owners gave me 4 free skewers and the recipe on how to make them, perhaps on the understanding that I would leave them alone and give some other customers a chance.
With the secret in my grasp, the ability to make them at a whim, they inevitably lost some of their allure. I still make them if I'm having a barbecue, if only to watch peoples faces as their minds catch up with their taste buds, but they'll never be quite as good as they are from the chaotic streets of Bangkok.
After further research I discovered that Moo Ping has been the undoing of many a good Israeli traveller whilst in Thailand. Many indicating that they can't eat pork will do the international impression of the cow and say "Moooo" which unfortunately in Thai translates as the word for pork. In doing so they may compromise their religious ideals but they will have discovered something far, far better.
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