Despite being a crazy Vegan (when it suits her), Sarah is absolutely amazing in the kitchen, and manages to feed both of us for less than 300 Baht each (not including booze of expensive treats) for lunch and dinner. Although I love to eat my meat, I’m kind of put off most of it here in Thailand after visiting the wet markets and seeing how its stored, the flies that have a nasty habit of landing on raw meat, and well just the general lack of hygiene standards anywhere, so I’m vegetarian unless I go to a restaurant, then its steak and bacon everywhere – this definitely keeps our costs down.
Many expats I’ve met don’t bother cooking due to “how cheap” food is here in Thailand. While it is comparatively cheap compared to home, you can only spend so long living off 40 baht street food, pork on a stick, pad thai or fried rice. Eventually you want something decent. Eating this way we are able to enjoy curries, home made friend rice, noodle soup, pastas and more and I’m spending less than $15 NZD per week. Other expats who are cooking tend to go shopping at their local supermarket, or mall, and purchase pre packaged stuff and brands from home – or live off microwavable/toasted 7/11 food – I should know, I was one of them!
Tescos and similar supermarkets are great for things such as rice, cooking oil, and other stuff, but for fruit and vegetables the secret to really keeping your costs down is to find your local wet market. We make a weekly trip to ours across the Chaopraya River at Thewes (4 Baht each way) and have a few favourite vendors that we visit all the time.
You can literally get anything at these markets from live fish, frogs and eels, fresh vegetables straight from the farm, and some fairly questionable meat, and you are pretty much guaranteed to be the only foreigners there.
Heres what we get for our money (Approximately 480 Baht):
Stall 1 (100 Baht): 5 x Fresh Squeezed Mandarin Juice
Stall 2 (20 Baht): 2 x Tofu
Stall 3 (180 Baht): 1 x Coconut Milk, 1 x Mushroom Sauce & Mushrooms (Shitake and one that we have no idea what it is)
Store 4 (180 Baht): Chillies, Lemongrass, Kale, Carrot, Tomatoes (2 Types), Red Onion, Garlic, Lettuce, Potatoes, String Beans & Ginger
Add rice, noodles and some spices and this provides us with yummy curries, rice dishes, noodle soup, scramble tofu and more – and gives us heaps of left over cash to save for when we want to go to a nice restaurant or drink some expensive imported craft beer!