That’s what I’m craving perpetually, as a good bowl of the green stuff dressed up properly is one of the most satisfying dishes on earth.
It’s also one of the healthiest things you can eat, which is also why my body craves it. Back when I lived in the States, it was no problem getting an amazing salad – or making my own – at any time. But I took those simple pleasures for granted, as I had a newfound appreciation for salads once I moved to the Philippines – and there really are none. Living in that country, you will find salad on some menus, but they are either:
1) Ridiculously overpriced
2) Ridiculously awful
3) Or even dangerous.
Why the hell would eating a salad be dangerous? When they don’t wash the lettuce and veggies properly, such as in bad water, or they don’t wash them adequately at all, they can contain a lot of parasites that can get you insanely ill.
What they consider a “salad” and my definition also differ slightly, as they often have a piece of lettuce loaded with unhealthy dressings, meat, creamy pasta, and other junk – not exactly organic and fresh vegetables.
So, when I come over to Thailand like I do a few times a year, I’m in heaven when it comes to healthy eating – including salads.
Still, I usually just order great Thai food instead of an actual salad at most Thai restaurants, so I was thrilled when my American buddy Big Scott wanted to go hit Wooden Box in his new adopted hometown of Jomtien, Thailand.
I know, Wooden Box sounds more like you’re going to a shipping company to send a package with UPS, and they could have done A LOT better with the name. Quite possibly, they should have included “salad” somewhere in the name, since it is a make-your-own salad joint?
True, they do have other grub, such as hamburgers, steaks, and some Thai food, but it’s obvious from the moment you walk in that the salad bar is the real winner here. Maybe they called it Wooden Box because of the wood décor, as it was ensconced in attractive light wood paneling throughout, with big windows and sliding glass doors looking out on the street below, modern lighting fixtures, and big, utilitarian but comfortable booths.
Once we told them that we were there for the salad, they handed us a giant menu – both in the number of items it has and also because it was about half the size of a poster! They then give you a slip of paper and a pencil, and you check off what you want to order. The set price comes with three items from the lettuce section, four from the veggie section, etc. etc. down the list until you’ve built your perfect salad. You can order more items, of course, but you just get charged. Some, like chicken breast strips on your salad, will only cost you 75 cents or so, but others, like avocado, can be almost $4! They also have high-end items you can add like steak, crab, and even lobster!
Once it came out, the salad was huge, fresh, and really delicious. I was happy with my choice of Japanese sesame dressing, but I’ll double up on the chicken or hard boiled egg to get a little more substantial protein next time. I also ordered the carrot-ginger soup, which wasn’t as good just because there was way too much ginger which made it unpalatable.
But overall, Wooden Box is an amazing place for me to get my salad fix and I’ll be back again and again while I’m in Thailand!