Two Years in Bangkok, Two Years of Blogging

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2 years in Bangkok

In the immigration line leaving Luang Prabang last week, a scruffy guy heard Frank and I say we were on our way to Bangkok and turned on his heels.  “You’re going to Bangkok?” he said. “Why would you go there?”  (Actually, he used a much more colorful phrase, but I’ll skip that.)

I seethed.

“We live there.”  I said, and handed my passport to the Lao immigration officer.

2 years in Bangkok

If there is one thing I can say for certain after two years in Bangkok, it’s that there is a lot to love about this place.

In that immigration line, all I could think was – how dare this scruffy guy dismiss my vibrant, energetic, kind-hearted city with one critical phrase?  I couldn’t shake the desire to come to its defense.

2 years in Bangkok

I feel so fortunate to live here.  And even on the days where I step in a city puddle or have to cram into a crowded car on the train or get a disappointing bowl of noodles (nothing puts me off like a bad bowl of noodles ;)), I love this place.

Yesterday marked the end of our second year in Bangkok.  Exactly two years ago we stepped off a plane, blinded by the hot sun, and made our way into a new life in Bangkok.

Instead of a cake, or a fancy dinner, or even world’s best brownies, to celebrate the end of our second year and the two year anniversary of this blog, we let Bangkok cast her spell in the best way I can imagine – through food.

Last night, we took ourselves out for a Thai food feast to celebrate.

It started with a classic – Som Tum Thai (Spicy Papaya Salad with peanuts, shrimp, long beans, carrots, and tomatoes).

2 years in Bangkok

We had sticky rice on the side.  (As if we didn’t have enough sticky rice last week.)

2 years in Bangkok

There were these Sai Krok Isan (Northeastern Fermented Sausages filled with Rice and Pork).  A Thai colleague of mine introduced me to these.  The flavor is unlike anything I’ve ever had, and they are just sour enough that eating one never fails to make me crave another.

2 years in Bangkok

My favorite variation on the minced chicken/pork salads – Laab Gai Tawt (fried chicken tossed with toasted rice powder and fresh herbs).  I love this stuff so much that I make it at home – recipe here.

2 years in Bangkok

And then this.  This.  Yum pak boong krob.  Crispy fried morning glory topped with a tangy-sweet salad with pork and shrimp.  It’s amazing.  The morning glory is fried like tempura, and it is so light and crisp that it has an audible crunch.

2 years in Bangkok

We ate our dinner outside on a tiny street while the sun went down, kids played, families gossiped.

We drank beers with ice, because that’s how they’re best served on a hot Bangkok night.

2 years in Bangkok

We ended up in Bangkok by chance, but over time, it has become “ours”.

It has been a spectacular two years.

Two years in Bangkok.  Two years of writing this blog.  And there’s still so much more to learn.

In the next year, surely there will be more mishaps with the KitchenAid, more baking in really old t-shirts, and hopefully lots more cooking classes to be had.

2 years in Bangkok

And likely there will be plenty more photos to be taken on the floor, or the couch, or the futuristic dining table, because that’s where the light is just right.

2 years in Bangkok

Thank you for reading, and most of all for sharing your own experiences with food and travel through your comments and emails.

If I could have brought every last one of you out for dinner, you know I would have.

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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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  1. Jess you are stunning! Just as beautiful as your pictures. Love this delicious recipe and definitely putting this on my to make list. Congratulations on two years of blogging! It’s a ton of work but you’ve made it look so easy. Keep it coming!

    1. Thanks Heather! It went so fast – seems like just yesterday you were snapping our pictures in the 1,000 degree Kansas heat. 😉

  2. Congrats on two years – that’s a big milestone! And on doing it all from Bangkok- WOW!!

    I love the shot of you brushing butter on bread/rolls and the light streaming in in the last collage over the rolls. Truly breathtaking shot!

  3. Ahhh! I can’t believe it has been two years! I have loved following things on the blog and have been in awe of your adventures, food and photography! We miss the heck out of you and cannot wait to see you in December!

  4. Oh the things I do to get photos in the fading Swedish winter light… these days it’s on the kitchen floor with the balcony door open, a pizza box with tinfoil taped to the inside bouncing light back the other way, and many other variations of that set up!

    I’ll admit that when I traveled around Thailand last winter Bangkok was probably my least favourite stop, but we were there less than a day, weary at the end of our trip, suffering from endless tummy troubles, and ready to go home. I’m sure that given a good chance and a local perspective I’d love it like you do. Congrats so much on two years! Maybe I’ll get out my Thai mortar and pestle and bang out a green papaya salad in spirit!


    1. Bangkok is tricky, Katie, and I do my fair share of griping about it, so it’s not SO surprising for me to hear. But there’s lots to love too, if you know where to look. On your next trip, I’ll send you some Bangkok recommendations. 😉

      You must really struggle with the dark – last year in the middle of winter, didn’t you say the sun set before 5pm?

  5. congrats on 2 yr blogaversary! LOVE your pics, recipes and travels! You inspire me – keep blogging!

    xoxo from TrinidaD

  6. Happy anniversary Jess! What an adventure the two of you have had so far.
    I’m glad I’m not the only one who takes photos in strange locations. I think we should all include a full scene shot in every blog post. Wouldn’t that be entertaining?! (especially love the husband in the background).

    1. It’s so strange the places you have to take pictures to get them to look right – you did some great behind-the-scenes pictures a while back, and I loved seeing how you do it. Our apartment is so small and I do most of the cooking on the weekend, so that if I always took full scene shots, Frank would almost always be in the background – lol.