Behind the Smile, the story of Lek, a bargirl in Pattaya

The Story of Lek, a Bar Girl in Pattaya
'Daddy's Hobby'

Hunting in the Village

There is no hunting for wild game in Thailand as such, so there are no safaris and one is not allowed to go hunting the few remaining wild tigers and elephants. There are no wild crocodiles as they all live on farms. Not that Thais would kill an elephant anyway, because they are practically revered.

Hunting in the Village

Hunting in the Village

However, there is a lot of hunting going on all the time, albeit for smaller animals. Children start hunting by trapping and fishing quite early on in life. Their favourite kinds of game are frogs and small birds.

From the age of about six, children, mostly boys, go out with older children after dusk to hunt frogs during the monsoon seasons. They use a homemade device fashioned from a one-litre plastic lemonade bottle.

The neck of the bottle is cut off and reinserted into the bottle to create a funnel into the bottle. This is attached to a long pole and the funnel is placed over a frog, which then climbs into the bottle where it is trapped.

There are various types of design but they all involve the frog climbing into the bottle from which there is no escape.

Children also hunt small birds with catapults and their parents add them to soups and stews. Thais usually eat the small bones of frogs and birds as they are a rich source of calcium, which they would otherwise go short of since Thais do not eat much dairy produce.

Adults often take their children fishing in the many streams, rivers, lakes and irrigation canals around the rice fields. These narrow, shallow waterways do not grow big fish, but are well-stocked with small fish that resemble whitebait and small roach or rudd.

They are very nice gutted, butterflied, dried in the sun and then fried.

Older teenagers and adults hunt rats and poisonous snakes in the rice fields. The frogs go there for the small fish and the snakes go for the frogs. The small fish are introduced to eat mosquito larvae in order to save on pesticide.

Some Thais will eat any snake, but as Buddhists, Thais are only encouraged to eat poisonous snakes because it was a constrictor that elevated Buddha out of the flood water when he was seeking enlightenment under a tree.

Rats are not considered dirty animals in the countryside, because there are no sewers for them to live in. Furthermore, they eat rice and fallen fruit, so actually have a very good diet.

There are many ways of preparing rats, frogs, birds and snakes, so I am old, but where I live in Northern Thailand, most people seem to cook them in the same way.

That is, the animal is cleaned, skinned and the unwanted parts are cut off. The remaining meat and small bones are then chopped up to resemble mince meat and it is fried with fresh green pepper corns and other herbs and spiced.

The resulting dish is not as hot as a Thai curry, but the pepper corns do make it quite warm, especially if you bite into one of them. The pepper corns are kept 'on the twig' for easy removal.

However, Thais are not the sort of people to avoid hot food, so they eat the lot. The bones are not as sharp as fish bones and crunch up easily.

by +Owen Jones



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BTS 1: Daddy's Hobby

BTS2: An Exciting Future

BTS3: Maya - Illusion
BTS4: The Lady in the Tree

BTS5: Stepping Stones

BTS6 - The Dream