Our ship has come in, literally. Four months ago when we arrived in Bangkok, one of the first orders of business was to locate a reliable supply of......... well.... Cheese.
Brenda LOVES cheese. She loves Mild Cheddar most, but she also enjoys anything with Velveeta and her favorite snack is Cheezit crackers. She doesn't just eat stuff with cheese on it; she eats the cheese straight up, right out of the package. She stops short of gnawing it off the stick; she always makes dainty little slices but often there are no crackers or vegetables involved at all. Just Cheese.
I think most of the folks that read this BLOG know Brenda, but just in case there is someone thinking that she has to be as big as a house and shaped like a cheese wheel, let me assure you that her contract with Victoria’s Secret as an underwear model would never allow such a thing.
Anyway shortly after we arrived, we found what we thought was a store that carried Kraft American Cheese slices and Cracker Barrel cheddar cheese. We were set. We bought a couple of things and made our way back to our apartment. The next week when we went back..... WHERE IS THE CHEESE? All the store had was Thai cheese and Thai's don't like cheese. If you have ever eaten a meal cooked by someone who doesn't like to eat then you can imagine how bad cheese is when it is made by people who don't like to eat cheese. It is bad. Even their best cheddar has the color of Swiss. It is pale and not at all tasty. I predict that Thais will never like cheese if this is all they ever get.
We have been checking the cheese store pretty regularly ever since to no affect. We have developed some alternative sources for imported cheese that costs accordingly. So we have been getting by, but tonight our ship came in. Somewhere in Asia a ship literally came in loaded with cheese and some of it showed up at the store down the street. We were there tonight to pick up some Triscuits and on a whim Brenda went by the Daily Food aisle. Yes, I said Daily Food. You would know it as Dairy Food but we are in Asia. You figure it out. Suddenly while I was trailing Brenda at a respectable distance as husbands shopping with wives are known to do I hear an exclamation "CHEESE!" And as I rounded the corner there she was, standing mesmerized by the sight of, not just a little, but a LOT of Kraft and Cracker Barrel packages all eagerly waiting just for us.
We loaded up what you see in the first pic above while carefully checking expiration dates and mentally calculating how many days our supply would last making sure to neither under nor over-buy and made our way to the checkout counter.
Right now you should be wondering something like "Hmmmmmm if cheese is so hard to come by, I bet it's expensive too." Right you are Sherlock. You are looking at $52 worth of “American made gold” and by Brenda’s reckoning you could double the price and it wouldn't matter. All told tonight, two boxes of Triscuits, the Cheese, one jar of Salsa and a medium size bag of M&M's cost 2,843 baht - almost $80 and it all fit in two small grocery bags. Remember, you can eat every meal here cooked to order for about 30 Baht (less than $1) but not if you want farang food. Isn't Asia wonderful.
Oh, one more thing. When I went back to the grocery store with my camera to take the "Daily Food" picture, I also noticed this unusual pairing on one of the aisles. Proof that a sign doesn't have to be in Thai to be surprising here.