Lauren Vs. Food is my attempt at overcoming my food neophobia by forcing myself to eat new and intimidating foods as I travel around the world. 

Living in Thailand for the past five months has been a life-changing experience, for many reasons. I’ve had to learn how to cross the road with five thousand scooters, three hundred tuk tuks and and twenty nine songthaews simultaneously racing towards me. I’ve become comfortable with perching on the back of a scooter and remaining calm while weaving crazily through the traffic of Chiang Mai like a local.

But most importantly, I’ve had to significantly alter my eating habits. 

Long gone are the days where I’d live on McDonald’s and cheese and bacon potato skins…

cheese and bacon potato skins

Now, I wander around night markets in an almost-excited state, sometimes even looking forward to eating something incredibly scary. 

Such as rice.

I’m being serious.

eating rice in chiang mai

My list of food achievements in Thailand is enormous and growing by the second.

I should probably preface the next part by saying that if you haven’t read the first edition of Lauren Vs. Food, then you should probably do so right now. And yes, I know my eating habits are extremely bizarre and that these really aren’t a big deal to “normal” people.

My biggest achievements:

  • Eating my first egg. I went through my entire life successfully managing to avoid eating eggs but on my second day in Thailand I decided to conquer my biggest fear. I ordered an omelet for breakfast. It took about thirty minutes of freaking out before I finally worked up the courage to take a bite.

The verdict? It tasted like feet. 

  • Trying peanuts. I remember watching a documentary on peanut allergies when I was younger and that was enough to put me off trying them for life. I would sit in the playground watching friends gleefully stuffing their faces with peanuts and feel my throat and arteries constricting in response. However, when I was in Bangkok with a friend and happened to mention I’d never eaten peanuts before, she immediately ordered a papaya salad with chopped peanuts and forced me to try my first ever one.
The verdict? The worst thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. 
  • Coconuts. Coconuts were another food item that I was afraid I was allergic to. If I had a peanut allergy, then surely I must be allergic to all kinda of nuts, including foods with “nut” in their name. Upon discovering that I could eat peanuts and not go into anaphylactic shock I was extremely excited to enter Nut Kingdom and try all the nut-related food I’d been missing out on for years! I started with a glass of coconut juice.

The verdict? Awful and I couldn’t drink more than a few mouthfuls. 

bowl of green chilli peppers

  • Chilli peppers. How can something so innocuous-looking bring so much pain and anguish into my life? Throughout the past five months I have battled against common sense and eaten these time and time again. There was one of my first dates with Dave, where I decided to try and impress him by grabbing a chilli from his plate in a macho manner and casually throwing it into my mouth. Five seconds later, I was clutching at my throat, spluttering, crying and unable to talk or breathe. Struggling to reclaim my dignity I covered my face in embarrassment, accidentally touching my eyeball with my chilli-covered finger. I was blinded for the rest of the night and spent most of it looking like this.
crying in chiang mai
Sexy.
In terms of finding new things to eat, my search has not been very successful. I’ve struggled to find Thai food I like as the majority of the dishes contain peanuts or coconut, but I’ve still managed. I’ve discovered I like chicken fried rice, oyster sauce, rice porridge and many more dishes… Well, a few more. But that’s okay.
I’ve changed as a person. And more importantly, I’ve changed for the better. 
I still desire bland food with no flavour whatsoever, and I still hate the majority of things that I try, but I am now willing to try things that scare me.
I am now willing to get out of my comfort zone and do something that I may have been avoiding for my entire life. 

 

And that’s all that matters.

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