My friends often ask me if I miss my mom’s cooking? That’s like asking me if I miss my mom. I think Tum Buk Houng (papaya salad) is the only thing that I’m fixing that qualifies for real Lao/Issan food, anything else that I’m cooking is a combination of Lao/Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese or might even have a hint of American food.
Do you know what a Thai Restaurant is like here in the town that I’m living? You’re eating at an Authentic Thai Restaurant, the menu is in English, you order your meal in English language because some of the server can’t speak nor understand Thai language, and sometimes you might get an American server, in a Thai Restaurant of all places.
One of my American friends once asked for American food because she saw it on the menu, the server didn’t even bother to look at me nor notice my black hair/Asian looks, she said “you know, they can’t really cook American food here.” Well, when I got my Thai food that they can cook, because it’s Thai cuisine, it tasted more like Chinese food. I think it’s somewhat comical, but when I got my bill, it’s not funny anymore because they over priced their food, I guess they’re charging me for what is printed on the menu ‘Authentic Thai Cuisine.’
But not all was bad, when I opened the door; the atmosphere was somewhat there, the aroma of the spices of Thai cuisine, the decoration of Thai Artworks, photos of the King and his family were hanging on the wall, and also the Thai country music was humming a song about a broken heart or something, which I’m not too fond. I used to like Thai country music when I was little; I wonder when did my taste in music change.
As for one of my American friends that went with me, she said “That’s a cool song,” I looked at her, somewhat amused by what she said, but she has that look of sincerity and that innocent look of a child, either like it or don’t, sort of look that you don’t need an approval from other people if your music is cool or not. I think as I got older, I sort of lost that innocent feel or look, might be because I’m hearing or seeing too much of the world.
Back to the atmosphere of the restaurant, I guess the smell, sound, sight and somewhat of the taste were all there, it somewhat helps to alleviate the feeling of homesick…I can’t wait to go back home.