What Are My “Must Eats”?

Sorry to report, but I’m suffering from a bit of post-vacation depression.  Okay, maybe “depression” is a bit too strong a word, but in the nine days I’ve been back, I have had more than my fair share of “Oh, this isn’t any fun… I wish I were still back in New York on holiday” thoughts. 

Deciding to not be gripped by this emotions, I tried to take the detached, Buddhist approach and examine it.  What was at the root of these feelings?  The answer, I realized, was food.


Above, Sukhumvit Soi 38, the nighttime “Food Street” near my house.

Upon examination, I concluded that one of the things I like most about any place is the food.  I could write a lot more about this (and possibly will in a future entry) but I think that food is really the tent pole of a culture to which I tether my experience and perceptions. 

As I think about places I’ve lived and places I’ve loved (to visit), specific food memories come to mind.  These usually revolve around not just certain dishes, but even specific restaurants or vendors where I had especially good versions of those dishes.  The sauteed mushrooms with garlic at Cha Cha Cha in San Francisco.  The gyoza at Rising Dragon in Ueno district, Tokyo.  The bistecca alla fiorentina at Ristorane del Fegioli in Florence.  The bánh xèo at that little outdoor restaurant in Saigon, the name of which I now forget and would have to look up.  The truffled egg toast at ‘ino in New York.

See?  Specific food memories.  Things that, if I’m back in that town, I feel that I absolutely must eat them again.  But when it comes to life here in Krungthep, I’m at a loss to name any specific “must eats”.  Please understand, I really enjoy Thai food and, as Tawn put it, when I’m away, I miss eating Thai food when I am away from Thailand.  But other than the sticky rice and mango place at the corner of Thong Lor and Sukhumvit (the best in town, I assure you), northing immediately pops into my mind.

This strikes me as a problem, a problem which may actually go a long way towards explaining why, when I have guests in town, I struggle to figure out the best places to bring them to eat.  There isn’t anything that jumps to the top of my mind, shouting “Must eat!”

This also strikes me as an opportunity, a task to which I must devote at least some of my attention in the days and weeks to come.  I need to brainstorm and if necessary, explore some more, in order to start building my list.  I may already know of some places and all that is required is some gentle nudging to my memory.  But I may need to start looking and tasting to see if I can build that list of “must eat” places here in the Big Mango.

What about you?  What foods and places are on your “must eat” list?


0 thoughts on “What Are My “Must Eats”?

  1. hahaha my list will be long which will invade your blog…..but that’s true I remember the food of the places which I’ve been more than their scenery…

  2. That restaurant near the corner of somewhere (close to a bike shop) in Seoul where I had delicious spicy beef. That’s where I need to eat again. Well, first I’ll have to find it.

  3. Hmmm…must eat in Toronto…Greg’s Ice Cream!!! My favourite restaurant got hit hard by the recession and closed recently but if it were still open, I definitely would recommend that place.

  4. Washington DC’s Adams Morgan District – there’s a place called Amsterdam’s – and their falafel sandwich and toppings bar are heavenly.
    Durham, NC – “China Buffet” – one of those all you can eat bad Chinese food that’s really good.

  5. my brother was in Vietnam and r&r in thailand in the 1960’s and he loves Thai food-like everyday.I like Tex-mex but when I go to New Mexico or Az.or Co. it is different then what I’m used to.maybe it’s the people you miss too cause when I see relatives I feel worse afterward cause I miss them now and before it was ok.

  6. I have a whole slew of places I love to eat at in the DC area. There’s Matchbox (wood fired pizza and awesome mixed drinks) and Lauriol Plaza (Mexican food) right in DC. Acajulta in Gaithersburg (a city close to us; the restaurant is just a hole in the wall that serves Mexican and El Salvadorean food). Then there’s an awesome Thai place in my hometown that the Architect and I really love; we go there quite often when we’re in town.

  7. Dick and I have a favorite place in The City, White Horse, where you can get the best rack of lamb in the world! Dick loves the red bell pepper soup too. Old fashioned San Francisco service and attention to detail. Tops!

  8. @agmhkg – Bring it on!  Let’s see that list…@beowulf222 – This is why we should all have a phone that is GPS enabled and takes pictures.  Geotagging!  Got to get me one of those…@brooklyn2028 – What flavor?@Dezinerdreams – Now THAT sounds particularly good.  Does she take reservations?  =D@Poom – Maybe I’ll have to make a trip to Durham.  Good “bad” Chinese food sounds interesting.@yang1815 – Please share…@Jillycarmel – That’s a good point; often it is the people or experiences surrounding a place that form a big part of the memory.@kunhuo42 – @TheCheshireGrins – Between the two of you, I’m starting to feel like a DC/Baltimore trip may have to get on my calendar.  I have several days of eating thanks to your suggestions!@stebow – Oh, I really like rack of lamb.  We’ll have to try that next time we’re back in SF.

  9. A restaurant in Madras India, called ” Chettinad”. I would love to go there and be a help in their kitchen to learn some of the recipes. The food was to die for. Chris may be this means that you both want to relocate and return to the US and live happily ever after??? Just a cloaked suggestion. lol.

  10. Haha~I’m always the last one to post comments…I hope your ‘post-vacation blues’ are gone by now! Guess you now know how I used to feel every time I’m back from Khrunthep. You are right about those memorable cuisines from specific places wherever we visited.

  11. @ElusiveWords – @brooklyn2028 – Such drama up there over a single ice cream shop.  Must be good.@Dezinerdreams – Tawn and I LOVE vegetarian food.  Many meals we prepare here that don’t contain the meat component and we never miss it.  Of course, many more meals that do contain meat and we enjoy those, too!@AppsScraps – Yummy!@ZSA_MD – You think they’d let you into their kitchen?  As for your interpretation, I suppose that moving back to the US would be fun if circumstances for us were different.  Paris would be higher on my list, though!

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