Gordon:  Victoria is well supplied with Thai restaurants, so most of us are familiar with the aromatic, delicious dishes served in these restaurants.  While we do occasionally enjoy similar dishes in our travels in Thailand, the food that is offered in smaller towns and rural areas is often of a simpler nature.  There are also regional cuisines: the North offers different types of curries and noodle dishes, as well as vegetables that we have not previously encountered.  The North also has a significant Chinese population, so we often find ourselves experiencing that cuisine.

During the day we usually stop at tiny, open-air restaurants by the side of the road.  These typically serve only a couple of dishes, generally a rice or noodle stir fry with meat, vegetables, and eggs, or a soup with similar components.  Our limited Thai vocabulary revolves around food, so we are able to request rice, noodles, vegetables and eggs.  It is unnecessary to know the words for meat, as you will be given some regardless.  (Outside of major tourist nodes, it would be very difficult to obtain a vegetarian meal.)  While the meals presented by the roadside restaurants may be simple and quickly prepared, we invariably find them delicious.  (We can also say “the food is delicious”, which we invariably do.)
We have been offered a number of dishes that we have not previously tasted, often made with unfamiliar vegetables.  This morning, for instance, our breakfast included a bowl of small boiled beans in syrup, a sort of thin bean porridge.  At our accommodation in Lampang we had sticky rice, bean paste, suet and bananas wrapped in a banana leaf.  In a curry restaurant in Lampang that was recommended by the tourist office, we enjoyed cold northern curry served with noodles and a mountain of fresh local vegetables.  Most of the vegetables were new to us.
For snacks we often have fresh fruit.  We have passed through papaya and mandarin growing regions and we continue to frequently purchase them.  We were also briefly in a pineapple producing area, where the road was lined with stalls selling fruit harvested from the fields immediately behind them.  Bananas of various types are available everywhere.  Pomelos are also popular and widely available.  They are like grapefruit on steroids, and here the steroids are strong: we have seen them soccer ball sized.  There are a number of mystery fruits that we yet to sample, although we did get to check off “monkey apple” today.  It is like a small, green fruit with a crisp texture and a taste reminiscent of a mild pear.
Ruth: The last two days we have been cycling along a National Park covered in a dense jungle of teak forests. By the end of our ride we came back down to the flat land and are staying just 10 kilometres north of Phayao and its lovely lake of the same name. Our hosts at the I Ya Guesthouse have offered to cook us a green curry for dinner so my tastebuds are watering for more lovely local Thai food.

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