Grazing the street stalls of Thailand: three great meals.

We're in Varanasi! And Varanasi is a very, very big place, a place that swallows everything else up. Before I lose everything that isn't India, I have two more Thailand posts for you.

This is the first. I am really into food, as you may know, and Thailand is heaven for a girl who is really into food. I love trying new things, and this year I was introduced to two new street food beauties, as well as digging into an old favorite.

It seems that the Thai philosophy about food is that you should never, ever be forced to be without it. Thai people don't eat a lot; the portions are small, and much is very healthy, but there are snacks and meals literally everywhere you look. And the street food cooked by vendors in small kiosks is some of the best food around. I would venture to say that in Thailand you could eat really well without EVER leaving the street.

One dish that I indulged in for many, many lunches, is Som Tam.  Spicy green papaya salad.

It's SO good, and what is almost as good as eating it is watching a Thai lady make it.

 Thai people often put three or more chillies into one serving of salad. I can only handle one. And even then my lips are on fire.

But oh, such sweet pain. The magic of Som Tam is the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and spicy.

A more dangerous new favorite was street-fried roti, or rotee.

Again, it's really fun to watch as the dough is pulled and stretched.

Then fried and filled with bananas.

And finally drizzled with condensed milk. Do you see why I call it dangerous?

But such a nice little dessert to pick up for after dinner.

And rice salad. This is one that I truly would never have known about if not for my friend Leaf. She brought it over one night, without any pork. (Thank goodness, she knows us.) The stacked up balls are little balls of deep fried rice, which are cooled and mixed up with many delightful things.

Onions, peanuts, tomatoes, basil and lots of lime. I'm not sure what else went into this beautiful little salad, but it was delicious.

There are many more, and I didn't get a chance either to photograph or even eat them all. There must be more time in life for eating food on Thai streets. Maybe one day.