Before arriving in Thailand, I had only eaten once at a Thai restaurant. I find the food here delicious and different. There are some similarities to the Filipino foods I enjoy, but it is much more spicy. The variety of foods in this country is well worth experiencing. For example, I had never had sugar cane served as a vegetable before. Also, most of the fish I have eaten here is just fabulous – with the exception of the catfish I had last night, which I could only describe as resembling deep-fried hair ball.
While at church yesterday, I noticed that the kids were eating a crushed ice product with flavoring added. They seemed to be enjoying themselves, but I was unsure what condition the water had been in before being made into ice, so I just enjoyed watching them enjoy. I know — I’m a wimp!
Food is actually a very important part of fitting in to a culture. How it is eaten, how it is served, and how it is shared in a particular area is a distinguishing social characteristic. I am reminded of Jesus’ statement in Revelation 3:20 (NLT):
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
So far, we have had some great opportunities to share meals together with our friends in Thailand.
When we met together for worship yesterday, there were a couple of older gentlemen in the congregation. John’s mission regularly gives out boxes of groceries to the elderly, and Ernie and I were glad to take part in that.
John & Maeo and their staff eat in a dining area with several long tables put together. The staff includes several young ladies who assist John in teaching English to local grade school students. For Thais, like Americans, food is just another word for fellowship.