Monday 31 January 2011

The laab moo bowel blues pay a visit

Everyone wants to leave his mark on Bangkok -  but not like this.

I am a fan of laab moo (ลาบหมู or spicy pork salad - pictured above), but know it can be hard on the stomach.

I like to eat it every night before work, but have learned from experience that if my guts are unaccustomed to it, I will often suffer in the hours to follow.

So it was the other night, when I ate laab moo for the first time in a week.

The trick is to make sure your stomach saves its protest for the next day, when you are in the relative safety and comfort of home.

You can make a quick dash for the harm done.

My stomach protested for the first few weeks after I started eating the spicy pork dish regularly.

The next morning, I would suffer a dose of the cramps.

But such is my desire for the stuff that I find I must eat it, no matter that it might cause me pain.

A couple of months ago, I found a stand selling north-eastern food – the ones with a slab of raw meat hanging in the glass case – in the slum area close where I live.

A woman aged in her 40s and her smelly male partner sell it. They set the stall up in front of their home, which fronts a busy road running past the slum.

For weeks, I have bought the dish every night before work. Lately my stomach has grown accustomed, so I no longer need to go through toilet seat-gripping stomach pain the next day.

Four or five days ago, when I paid my customary pre-work visit, I found the place closed, and the smelly one chatting to friends nearby.

‘We’re closed until the 10th...going back to the provinces,’ he said.

For the next few days, I went without my cherished lab moo. I bought a relatively tame fried rice dish - khaow pad kraphao moo - instead.

But last night, an Esan food seller in these parts flashed me an enticing smile as I walked to work, and I knew it was time for more laab moo.

Normally I avoid her stall, as it is expensive, and so it turned out to be last night: her meagre serving of laab moo, including green salad and sticky rice, was 55 baht, compared to the B30 I pay for a much more generous portion in the slum.

But with the slum place closed, what could I do?

I bought her blasted laab moo, and complained to myself soon after as I tucked into the dish at work that at those prices, I should never go back again.

She must have heard me.

On my way home from work six hours later, in the dead of night, my stomach was gripped by pain.

It had grown unaccustomed to laab moo again. Yet the safety of home was another five minutes’ walk away.

Bugger it, I thought. This is one will mind.

I found a shrubby area by the side of the road and, after scouting about for dogs (there were some, but they looked tame enough), I ducked in, whipped down my pants, and relieved myself.

The whole gruesome procedure took no more than a minute.

I applied a leaf to cleanse my bottom hole, whipped up my shorts, and a moment later was striding down the road again as if nothing happened.

A taxi passed me. A moment earlier, and he would have been treated to the sight of a foreigner defecating in front of a local landmark.

Today, my stomach is still suffering, but as I am close to the sanctity of the toilet, I have no reason to fear that I will get caught short by the laab moo bowel blues again.

1 comment:

  1. 4 comments:

    Anonymous1 February 2011 at 02:49
    I hope you're feeling better already!

    It's amazing that you can get unaccustomed to food you used to be able to stomach so quickly... Maybe something was wrong with this particular dish?


    Anonymous1 February 2011 at 15:09
    Is it possible that something used by the Esan food seller has gone bad or is substandard?


    Bkkdreamer1 February 2011 at 18:22
    Anon: I am not sure, but I won't be going back!

    Anon 2: Possibly, but her shop is a popular one, and I have bought there many times before.


    Alvin-JKT2 February 2011 at 05:46
    your stomach is sensitive to acid/sour foods. eat something heavy first, then eat the lab moo. consider it as a dessert instead of salad/appetizer.



Comments are welcome, in English or Thai (I can't read anything else). Anonymous posting is discouraged, unless you'd like to give yourself a name at the bottom of your post, so we can tell who you are.