My first Thai BBQ scared me

It’s no secret I’m what many would call an adventurous eater. It generally takes quite a bit to make me take a second thought before trying a new food.

Unless it’s a bug or contains broccoli or cauliflower. Then all bets are off. Even though I HAVE eaten grasshoppers and a beetle before.

thai bbq, guinea pig, adventurous eater

When I travel, I’m even more adventurous. I absolutely love trying new dishes, and I’m generally rarely disappointed. When in Paris the first time, I saw kite on the menu. I never knew they were even edible! I ordered it, and it remains the best meal of my life.

On our recent trip to France, I tried plenty of new things, but it’s kind of hard to be considered adventurous when you’re eating French food. Sure, they’ll eat almost anything that’s edible, but still. . . it’s France.

Now that we’re in Thailand, I’m having a blast trying new foods, including new vegetables. I’m not fond of vegetables, so that’s saying something.

The other night we were driving around, and I spotted a Thai BBQ. Thai food. BBQ. How can you go wrong? I thought.

We decided to try it out. It’s a buffet, so I figured double score! We sat down, and in the middle of our table was an interesting metal pan with some flat stones in it. As I gazed at it curiously, a young man came over, placed a metal thing on it, poured water into the ring in the basin, and soon it was ready to cook on. This is when I realized that you cook your own stuff. Cool!

thai bbq

We grabbed our rather tiny plates and headed toward the tables. I spotted the large table with multiple square trays on it and headed there.

That’s when I froze.

As I stared at all the cut-up raw meat, I quickly noticed that the containers were resting directly on the non-chilled wood of the table. Here were easily 20 different types of meats, organs, and intestines before me.

Raw and unchilled. In tropical heat.

Why does that bother a seasoned traveler and adventurous eater?

When discussing food safety in other countries, I quickly remind people that in all the countries I’ve visited I’ve only had food poisoning twice, and both of those times were in the States. I’ve bought and eaten unrefrigerated meat several times without any issues. So what gives this time?

The last time I had food poisoning was after visiting a place called China King and eating their Mongolian BBQ. I had a momentary flashback, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to continue. The first time occurred after eating the most disgusting corned beef to ever be served on a plate. It took almost a decade before I could eat pastrami again. If I got sick again after this type of BBQ . . .

I got past that moment and enjoyed the meal, but I was nervous the whole night.

Would I wake up in the middle of the night like after the last two times? Was I being stupid to risk having to do the dance of kneeling before the porcelain throne followed by a quick leap and spin in the air to sit down upon its cool surface like I was some ungraceful interpretive dancer?

After 12 uneventful hours, I gave a sigh of relief. I had survived my first Thai BBQ experience unscathed. As did Tigger. Phew!

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  1. I don’t blame you for being nervous! I too have eaten unrefrigerated meat and been fine, but there is definitely something uneasy about staring at so much of it!

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  2. LOL, we are vegetarians for the most part. Imagine our surprise when we mosied on over to a local restaurant…We were frightened by all the raw meat everyplace. We made it out alive and the kids were thrilled to eat meat but we were all hungry about 10 minutes later!

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    • I don’t know what it is, but I eat these small portions here, and I am fine for HOURS.

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    • I didn’t this time. I’ve had it cooked with other things, but by itself I’m not quite as interested.

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  3. Very brave! Did they have 20 ways to wok your dog on the menu? (Just kidding!) I’ve heard that fresh meat will actually keep surprisingly well without contamination. I have a family of hunters who hauled field dressed elk and deer home from Colorado without anything happening to the meat.

    The worst food poisoning I ever had was from Arby’s after eating a beef and cheddar. I still can’t eat their sliced meat sandwiches. I would trust food cooked in front of me before something cooked out of sight!

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    • I’ve definitely seen that. In Morocco the meat hangs up all day long with no refrigeration, and we never had a single problem. Ditto in the Philippines and Latin America.

      I’m just glad I can finally eat pastrami again! LOL

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  4. You are more brave than I am! I have been sick from meat more times than I would like to remember. I would have run like the wind! Still, I give you major props for diving in, and even BIGGER props to Tigger! Impressive!

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    • I think he takes the approach of “If Dad eats it, it’s probably at least safe.” And they had hot dogs and bacon, so that’s mostly what he focused on. LOL

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  5. We had this on our road trip around the Mae Hong Son Loop. It became a running joke for the rest of the trip (and still is to this day) about how we were quite sure we ate dog. Either way, it was a night full of mystery meats, and these weird tortilla chips that we filled up on.

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    • Aren’t those “tortilla” chips interesting? I was quite curious what some of those meats were for sure, but they tasted good. 🙂

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  6. So you’re in Asia now? Do try to get here to Vietnam. Just yesterday whilst zooming around the countryside here in Dalat on the back of a motorbike, I ate my first CRICKET! Surprisingly, it was DELICIOUS! Tasted much like smoked oysters (which I love). Only downside I could find: hours later – I was still picking CRICKET LEGS out of my teeth! 😉

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    • Yeah those legs are a big turn-off for me. Had the same problem when I ate grasshoppers. Blech.

      We are planning on Vietnam at some point. Just don’t know when. Possibly in May.

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  7. You will love the steamboat cooking style, where you make your own soups…. Glad you survived unscathed.

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    • They had that there, too. It is quite cool. I’m very happy as well. LOL Hopefully next time my brain won’t do a WAIT A MINUTE! POISON!

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