Khao Sol

Oct 1, 2017


It’s Saturday, and to double the ante it’s Chinese New Year. Motorcycles and cars have been buzzing by the house like gnats. Not much to report: mango for breakfast; delicious khoa soi *– a creamy Thai-Burmese broken curry noodle soup which is one of the four essential northern Thai dishes – for lunch ($1.50…God, such inflation, it used to be $ .80 but this one did have two chicken legs, noodles, vegetables, more noodles, more vegetables, pickles etc.).  Clearly, it’s possible to live here with some style for eating well, driving a motorcycle and having a pleasant house for very little.

* Khoa Soi: chili, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, lime zest, turmeric, ginger, cilantro stalks, coriander seed, and cardamom

And then, yet again there is SangSom, that quaint Thai whiskey not for the faint-hearted.  SangSom (SOS I think is more appropriate) is Thai hooch, white lightning, moonshine, grappa, rotgut, poteen, spiritus formenti – every plague there ever went into a bottle. If drunk in sufficient quantities, it closely simulates the effect of true alcohol. It’s lethal and legend has it that it is laced with opium, which is why I drink the stuff, There must be something to the opium rumor, this stuff couldn’t sell on taste alone...but hey, I voted for Hillary. A good bottle, and apparently last week is considered adequate aging, costs $6. The superior Premium level costs $4.50 and that is perhaps the quintessence of Thai logic.  Over seventy million liters are sold per year - I leave the consequences to your imagination.  

Despite its name, it is not a whiskey but a rum and like all rums, it smells like Elizabeth, NJ when the wind is blowing from the refineries. It is not without its redeeming features. I am just still searching for them. Well, it is a benign high. You won’t get up and dance on top of a table as you might with tequila or contemplate world takeovers with cognac. You simply crawl under the table and sleep. 


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