Schnitzel in Bangkok
On my last day in Bangkok, I once again decided to brave the public bus system to head back to the KSR area (Khao San Road, i.e. The Backpacker Ghetto) on bus #53. Again, I was the only caucasian/foreigner on the bus and was the object of many stares. After a week in Thailand, the natural air conditioning (no-windows, no doors) of the buses and the colorful locals were growing on me. After snacking on street food all day, everyday, for a week, it was time to go to a restaurant for a proper sit down meal. I chose the neighborhood kosher restaurant, The Chabad House. Truthfully, I felt like I was in a bizarre version of Canter’s Deli on the West Side of Los Angeles. The atmosphere was welcoming and warm. Although non-Jews are typically not allowed, I seemed to manage to talk my way past the big security guard. Even though it felt like I had stepped out of Thailand for a moment, I did feel out of sorts as I was frankly the only Gentile in the place. To break the ice, I chatted up new found friends and eventually found myself singing a couple of bars of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Soon enough, the Rabbi invited me to sit with them for dinner. That evening I happily dined on chicken schnitzel, potatoes, and knisch. I must say it a nice change of pace from the yummy guessing game of spicy Thai street food. My friends make fun of me for how much I like schnitzel in Europe. That night it was comfort food when I needed it most. Some people go to McDonalds for a taste of home while on the road. I eat the ubiquitous Schnitzel. The rest of the evening was spent making temporary friends in lounges and guesthouse patio hang-outs on the Soi (alley) where I was staying in the Khao San Road. With the parade of people, street vendors, and thumping music coming from different directions, the nitty gritty mean streets of Bangkok were a stark contrast to my Kosher meal at the Ohr Menachem Chabad House.