2018 Primetime Emmy
& James Beard Award Winner

When East Meets West

When East Meets West

Western Breakfast in Thailand

Three and a half hours in, three and a half hours out, one-way highway, 1,219 curves. I had been on assignment on the far western edge of Thailand, right up against the Burmese border near the town of Umphang. This is one of the most remote corners of the country. So remote it is rumored to have one of the last wild tiger populations in the region, with livestock and people going missing from time to time. We had been driven in a pickup to get close to the huge refugee camps that dot the mountain valleys throughout the region.

After two long days of being on the road, steep hikes and lots of miles, I found myself back in Mae Sot, sitting in front of this beautiful sight.

International NGOs settled here throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, assisting more than 50,000 Burmese refugees in this region alone. While the number of organizations has dwindled, the international influence remains, resulting in the spread before me.

Thais do food right. But with breakfast, it can be hit and miss. This combination of western food (pancakes, fried egg, coffee) and Thai ingredients (wonderful local fruits and fresh juice) is the perfect fusion.

There is something fantastic about coming back from a challenging trip, assignment, whatever, and sitting down to a good breakfast. In my mind, it can be more rejuvenating than the largest of beds.

Call me closed-minded, but I will never ever pass up on a Western-style breakfast, and after a year and a half of living in Thailand, I’ll more often than not actively seek one out. Toss me into the local culinary mix any other time of the day, but there is just something in this kind of breakfast that connects instantly to home and personal history, no matter where in the world you might be.

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