by Ben McCarthy
It’s early evening on an unusually cool night in Thailand’s capital and the streets of the leafy, laid back suburb of Ari are alive with activity. All along the neighborhood’s unofficial Main Street, Phaholyothin 7 (nicknamed Soi Ari), vendors are setting up shop for dinner. On both sides of the street, pickup trucks pull up to the curb and unload weathered woks, colorful aluminum folding tables, baskets of prepped vegetables, cases of meat, and pots of rice. Every day of the week except for Mondays (official street cleaning days in Bangkok) these vendors come to the same stretch of sidewalk to sell their wares. Prepared curries and soups, roast meats and seafood, fresh som tam (papaya salad) and stir fried noodles are sold from early evening until supplies run out.