I've recently had the rather memorable experience of walking into a funeral dressed in a bright, multi-colored floral dress.
To be fair, J and I had the location off by just a hair. We were actually after the Thai food market. We really couldn't be blamed if it happens to be just next door to the Wat Thai temple, which also just happened to be the site of a large funeral yesterday. Still, we cottoned on very quickly: must have been something about the fact of everyone else being in solid black and looking somber. We backed out as nonchalantly as we could, and to their credit the attendees didn't give us the stink-eye. This is Los Angeles.
We stumbled into the food market with great relief, and it was just as we'd dreamed. (Ever since we went to the big Night Market three years ago in Phuket, Thailand, we've both been rather enamored of the whole Thai food market experience.) This little affair was about a hundredth the size of the original, but we weren't counting. A handful of stalls stood invitingly before us, offering all sorts of mistily-remembered delights. First you buy a bunch of plastic tokens at a separate counter and then come back to the food. All rather quaint, and we were getting happier by the minute.
First up we had the intriguing "Rice with Two Item." The two items we chose were a fiery-looking curry and a salad heaped with gleaming roasted eggplant. Having no idea of what anything was is part of the charm; you simply point, and the hosts tell you what you are about to eat.
The Two Item went down well, and then we went back to a different stall. This time I had a great heap of bamboo-shoot salad accompanied by thin wedges of fresh ginger, chopped on the spot, and tiny green chilies added only after the server gets your consent. With good reason- these little dainty things were the equivalent of nuclear missiles when I took one micro-bite. Never mind, the ice-heavy longan-berry juice to accompany it was sweet enough to save me from death by fire. Longan juice is really a marvel; slightly smoky, very sweet, and superbly refreshing. Why isn't it more popular? We need more longans in our lives.
We finished up with some tiny coconut-custard filled shells called Karnakrop or some such musical Thai name. (The custard was creamy and the shell lacy and crisp, a true delight.) And that was that. J and I are both possess appetites that have been widely panned as pathetic by various aunties across India, with good reason. So next time we go, we've planned to starve; a missed breakfast should enable us to do better justice to the next set of delights. Or so we hope.