Home in a Bowl

It’s been a hard transition back after three weeks of being a guest to other people’s lives. Now, it’s back to my own, and as great as it is, it also bears its own strange frustrations. For example, I’m working on a project that will never be finished. It just won’t. I have made a handful of sacrifices to edge it along to this point: throwing good money after bad, poisoning what used to be healthy relationships, transforming into a dyspeptic harpy. I have decided that these sacrifices are not worth it. I have moved beyond denial and anger to acceptance. TIT. This Is Thailand.

Is this bowl of comfortingly soggy rice, doused in pork broth and topped with a dusting of sliced scallions and indifferently poached egg, the taste of resignation? If so, resignation tastes pretty good to me. Located at the entrance to Charoen Krung Soi 16, this no-frills food cart employs a similarly Spartan approach to its rice porridges: good quality broth, stewed with pork bones for so long it has taken on an opaque, cloudy quality and a generous spoonful of bone-in pork pieces to guarantee a bowl full of piggy flavor.

Regular pork-rib porridge with egg

Regular (tamada) bowls are 35 baht, 40 baht with egg or for an extra-big serving of rice or pork (piset). And the guardian of this enterprise comes in the form of a gregarious gentleman, partial to form-fitting white tank tops, who is patient with questions and with giving directions. What more can you ask for? Thailand can confound and frustrate, yes, but it also harbors the path toward your own redemption. I am eagerly awaiting mine.

Khao Thom Gradook Moo, entrance to Charoen Krung 16. 089-682-0016.

4 Comments

Filed under Asia, Bangkok, Chinatown, Chinese, food, food stalls, pork, rice porridge, Thai-Chinese, Thailand

4 responses to “Home in a Bowl

  1. Re: Khao Tom and Jok with pork broth.
    The Portuguese-influenced English word “congee” is a bit of a problem.
    In Hong Kong, soggy rice + soup is “congee”, and Hong Kong fine soup with starchy rice liquid (and invisible individual rice grain/s) is also called”congee” in English.
    In Thai, the former is Khao Tom and the latter is Jok Hong Kong, which is different and more fine than Juk Taechio/Chiuchow.

  2. SpecialKRB

    I’ve always loved sharing bowls with you.🙂
    “Harpy” is my word.
    Glad you are back safely.

  3. Chissa

    I think khao tom is the ultimate comfort food. And circumstances can pivot and change direction at any time.

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