So, Thailand….Where the hell to begin describing all the things I tried here, the experiences I lived through my taste buds?
Might as well start with the first thing I woke up craving every single morning, the first thing I needed to transform from a tired, sunburnt, sweaty and agitated tourist into a real human being. Thai iced coffee from the stand. The first one of these could easily be free because they become addictive and as I type this, I’m desperately clutching one, specifically a kaffe boran yen mai waan nom kom. Kaffe boran is coffee roasted in a bit of fat (which gives it an a amazingly thick texture), ground and then brewed in a weird sock-like device hanging over a can. Mai wan means not sweet from sugar (so the they don’t add any extra sugar, it’ll be sweet anyway) and nom kom means with sweetened condensed milk. This last part really makes the difference, transforming the coffee into a thick, sweet, velvety soft heave no beverage. The coffee is also brewed with a bit of cardamom which adds a beautiful herbal, autumnal depth to the thing. Yen means iced – a plastic cup is scooped full of ice (if this is taken from a sketchy place, so be it, I couldnt live without this stuff anyway) and the coffee and milk are poured over it.
Despite the work and ingredients going into this thing, the lady down the street from our place charges only 20 baht (so around 60 cents) and let’s me look greedily over the counter, sticking my camera into the stand to capture every seemingly (to her….) mundane movement. She shakes her head and says “eh…” but otherwise she doesn’t judge me too much.
Sipping on my coffee, which conveniently comes with a handle cut out from a plastic bag, everything falls into place. My eyes open up and I can see this new world around me, the minutae of it. The motorbikes whizzing past me on all sides, always coming within a foot of my skin, transform from life-threatening monsters into playful and fun little vehicles. I actually consider going to “mai tai, TOMORROW NIGHT, see mai tai, see thailanddd.” I become nterested in 150 baht fake Hawaiians and “I ❤ phi phi island Ts.” Even The tuk tuk drivers getting all up in my face and asking me where I want to go seem friendlier. Maybe they really do care about my well being and won’t rip me off this time… Maybe not…
Point is, Thai iced coffee is bomb and it does things that I can’t explain. I’m gonna miss it lots.