Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gai Bing

One of the things that I want to write more about is Thai food. There is just so many different kinds of it, and I have such mixed feelings about it, that sometimes it seems like a lot of effort. Instead of trying to write one massive article, I've decided to just do individual blurbs about a dish or two.

If you ask people to name their favorite Thai food, I'm not sure how many will answer grilled childen, but it is certainly one of mine. Known in Thai as gai bing, grilled chicken is sold in stands that dot the side walks and street corners all over Thailand.

The chicken is marinated, placed on a wooden skewer and grilled over a bed of charcoal. They usually have a quarter or half of a small chicken on the skewer. They will also grill the entrails and sell them separately. Additionally, a lot of the stands also grill catfish. These stands usually sell sticky rice to go with the meat.

They usually charge 20 baht (~ $0.66) for a big skewer of chicken and about 5 baht ($0.15) for a bag of sticky rice so it is very inexpensive. You can eat quite a bit for a few dollars.

As these are individual proprietors, the quality is not always the same, although I've never had any that was bad. I'll have to say that some of it is as good or better than any chicken I've eaten back in the states. There are a few reasons. The marinade gives it a really nice flavor. Secondly, the chicken is thin, so its easier to cook it through without drying out part of it.


HeatherV said...

Do Thais have regulations on food that the U.S. has? My guess is no, but I was always curious. Do you ever have to worry about the food being bad when you get it from a street vendor?

Brian V. (aka Spurlock) said...

There might be some food regulations, but I don't think there is a health inspector for the street vendors. You do have to be a bit careful. Obviously poisoning your customers isn't a good way to stay in business, so for the most part its pretty safe.

My concern would be something that has water in it that isn't boiled in case the person uses tap water. Even that I think is not too likely.