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Old 08-29-2010, 10:13 PM   #1
Assistant Cook
dbingham's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Phuket, Thailand
Posts: 4
Learning to Cook In Thailand

Hi everyone,
My name is Daniel Bingham. I'm a computer programmer, science geek and foodie currently teaching Science in Thailand. I work at a school in Phuket Town on the island of Phuket where I teach science to 12-14 year olds in the school's English immersion program.

I've been here for three to four months and I have to admit - I'm getting sick of Thai food. I'm starting to desperately miss some of the comforts of home I'd almost come to take for granted. Good cheese, good milk, good yogurt, good wine, good bread. All are almost completely missing from the market place here. And having moved from the upstate New York town of Saratoga, I was used to very good all of the above from a couple of excellent local farmer's markets.

On the upside I'm learning to cook with new ingredients and getting to experience a new food culture, which is a wonderful experience to have under one's belt. The markets here are all outdoor farmer's markets - every day, all day and well into the night. I can walk a couple of blocks down the road and get wonderful fresh tomatoes - picked the same day - for the equivalent of $0.50 a kilogram.

Cooking has been a challenge here though, not just because certain staples from home are missing, but also because I'm currently living in a studio apartment with a kitchenette that consists of a hot plate and sink. Definitely not optimal. Hopefully I'll be able to move somewhere that has a better equipped kitchen sometime in the near future. But in the mean time, I'm having to get creative to keep my stomach satisfied. For that reason, I'll have plenty of questions for the community here in regards to how to cook when using unfamiliar ingredients and crammed into a tiny under-equipped kitchen.

When I was in the States I got my BA in Physics and Computer Science and worked for a year as a programmer for GE. I've been writing computer code since I was 13, and love to do it to this day. Aside from cooking and teaching here, I've been working on a recipe sharing website that approaches the idea of recipe sharing in a way no other site has. I, also, blog about my experiences here in Thailand in blog I've kept since my college days.

Well, that's about all there is to say about me! If you have any questions feel free to ask.


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Old 08-29-2010, 11:06 PM   #2
Head Chef
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: usa
Posts: 2,223
Hey, I'm jealous!
So how do you communicate? Is English fairly common? And how in the heck did you end up there?
Sick of Thai food, what a concept...
Although thinking about it, there are some things I would sorely miss...
Welcome to DC!


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Old 08-30-2010, 01:01 AM   #3
Assistant Cook
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Phuket, Thailand
Posts: 4
I teach in an English immersion program, so I teach in English. Communication is still really difficult with my students though, because their English abilities vary widely. Some of them are fluent. Others barely speak a word. I teach them their first and second years in the program, so their abilities depend on how much previous English education they've had. Plus teaching science is hard enough even when you're speaking your student's native language. It's definitely a challenge.

Around town English is pretty common in the touristy areas. At least, enough to get by. I'm learning Thai as well - at least enough to get by. In the market I know the names of many of the foods in question and I know how to ask if they have them (in heavily accented Thai). "Mee gai mai?" is "Have Chicken?" I can order in restaurants - "Kor khao pad gai kai dau." -- I'd like chicken fried rice with a fried egg on top. And I know how to say yes, no, please, thank you, hello, good bye, excuse me, and "I only speak a little thai." You'd be surprised how far you can get with a little gesturing and that.

I ended up here by following a girl who'd always wanted to travel, and picked Thailand as a starting point. There are days where I sorely wish I was back home, but on the whole I'm glad I'm here. Homesickness is part of the experience of traveling, makes you appreciate things you took for granted back home.

Heh, yeah, who'd have thought you could get sick of Thai food? Turns out, when you're actually here and eating it three meals a day it can get boring. Especially if, like me, you're not especially fond of spicy.
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