Getting Frisky with the Chicken: What the Big Mango Does with Poultry and other Meats

Five days and a chest cold into our new life in Bangkok, I finally made it out for my first foray into one of our local markets. It took me a few seconds to register that something was different when I came across the meat and seafood section.

It was a central display just behind where I stood when I took this picture – the sort you typically see for fruits – where different chicken cuts and slabs of bacon were laid out that snapped me out of my semi-engaged mosey down the aisles. A woman was handling various chunks of bacon back the same way I might handle cantaloupes or avocados to check for ripeness. She was picking up and tossing back different pieces until she had filled a bag; I’d say she had at least 20 pounds of bacon in there.

Now I am not generally too squeamish. I love the southern european markets where all of the animal is available for view. I believe if you are going to eat meat, you should know what it is and where it comes from. I don’t even think I mind people handling the meat -or at least I can see myself getting over that- unless of course I plan on making steak tartare.

What gets to me is what is she doing with her hands after she finishes bagging that quarter pig? Is she off to rummage through vegetables? Check some fruits for ripeness? Or in my worst case scenario, reach out and ruffle my child’s hair or touch her cheek as EVERYONE seems to do here in Asia? I did not spot the use of a wet wipe or see a packet of tissues come out of her handbag let alone a bottle of Purell. Is she just going to move on her ‘meaty’ way.

I do want to say that the market, including the meat area, was impeccable and everything smelled incredibly fresh. I may have opted for some chicken under cellophane today but I don’t plan on being so coy on my next visit. I will however have some hand sanitizer and I’ll be leaving the children at home.