I think one of the best things about travelling to a distant land for your holiday is having things turned upside down on their head. What you always saw as normal practice in your home-country, is seen as abnormal or strange in another place. And vice versa.
I think one of the first “strange” things I saw when I arrived in Thailand was the street hawker selling ice cream. Nothing strange in that you might say (see picture above). However, it was how they served the ice cream (or “i sa-creem” as the Thai call it or “i-dtim” as the kids call it). You can choose to have your ice cream in a familiar cone or plastic cup, or in a bread roll! At first that was too weird to contemplate. But after tasting it, I soon became addicted. If I ever go back to England, I think I will start the craze of selling ice-cream sandwiches. They are really delicious.
That isn’t really the only difference. In the West, we are used to ice-cream made from dairy products. However, Thai people have trouble digesting the lactose that occurs in milk. (Most people in Asia are the same however Thai students today drink milk at school daily and presumably are building up a tolerance.) As an alternative, they make ice-cream in Thailand from coconut milk.
Our local “i-dtim” man comes around every day. Probably more often now as it is summer holidays. He rings his little bell which tells us straight away what he is hawking before we even see him. To catch his attention, you can call out “dtim dtim”. The ice cream he sells in his push cart (others have bicycles attached to their carts) cost 5-10 baht depending on the size. Today I chose a big cup for 10 baht and he then asked me what I wanted with the coconut ice-cream. The choice was between glutinous rice or chopped glaceed fruit. I chose the former. He put the sticky rice in the cup and then gave me several scoops of ice cream. He then poured a little condensed milk on top.
Very nice on a hot summer’s day.
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