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Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Night of Mugata

OK, confession.  For almost a year, I've maintained a happy vegetarian (only eating fish) status and just recently broke back into the world of meat. I was actually planning on eating meat while in Thailand--especially in the village, I figured I wouldn't ask for something special since food is sacred and sometimes not as bountiful.  Most things have meat in them, anyways.  With this in mind, I set foot in the village fully aware my diet would change a little.  Well, for a couple days there, I really went off the meat deep end (I can't deny it was De-licious!) and lived in a sort of meat-fest fairy land. Thai people also know how to cook meat well which is a known fact!  Rationalizing it in my head means I kept telling myself that most meat in the country is much fresher and healthier than factory farm processed meats which is true (it also means more possibility for food sickness? it's a crapshoot).  One of the particularly meaty meals I had was "Mugata" or "Ngua Yang" (Thai BBQ or grilled meat) which consists of a convex grill-type pan with the meat on the grill and a sort of reservoir around the grill that is filled with broth (gets richer as you eat it because the meat juices drip down) and vegetables/ glass noodles.  Often times the blood/fat juices of the meat are poured into the broth as well.  This is all cooked over coals/open flame.  Once "suk" or ready to eat, you use chop sticks to peel the meat off the grill--maybe take some broth/veggies/noodles in a bowl and dip them in the spicy/sweet/garlicy sauce and pop it in your mouth. It is incredible.  And I swear to you...I never crave meat anymore!  But, this is sort of a special ritual, eating mugata is not an every day occurrence for Thais either--it's reserved for celebration.  Once my counterpart suggested having a mugata get-together, it was a no-brainer that we had to do it!  Splendid idea. Unfortunately, my stomach did not approve later which, is another story. 
ANYwho...cease the day, cease the moment, right? When in Thailand... indulge a little. pics below.

With my counterparts daughter--"Nong Bai Dtong" (which means leaf of some fragrant plant)
who is almost exactly the same age as my eldest niece--6.  She has
grown so much since the last time I saw her!
Mugata and all it's glory!

With 2 of the Jaidee village council members and my counterpart,
"P Dtai" to my left.

"P Sayan" to the left--a close friend/old neighbor and the
lady who lives across the street.  I never knew nor probably will
I ever know her name... every time I ask her or someone else, they
just tell me to call her "yie" or Grandma.

To the Left, my original "Grandma" Yie Lamduan--Lamduan is a
flower and "P Dtai" to the right--she was my work counterpart
for 2 years and she was kind enough to organize the Mugata
get-together... she reminds me a lot of my real sister--even the
same age. She's very grounded, kind... practical.  

"P Gaeo" whose real name is Suban but everyone in Thailand
has a nickname, it is customary.  She is a single woman who ate dinner with
 grandma & grandpa & I almost every night for 2 years--I think of her as an older
sister.  Often I would walk to her little, little convenience store just
a block from my house and sit for literally hours at a time--sometimes talking,
sometimes we would sit quietly, watch T.V., study, gossip...whatever.
 It was nice to have a friend like that.  

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