Welllll, I wouldn't say I 100% enjoyed the pizza there, which I know, I know, is shocking.
But let's back up to earlier that day. We were halfway through our trip, and were spending a long weekend in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai. Northern Thailand is beautiful, with green jungles and mountains, rice paddies, and even the stifling heat and humidity of the south and Bangkok is muted by comparison. Many people come to Chiang Mai to "trek" (hike) through the jungles and walk through the peaceful rivers; my husband and I were no different. Since we are city-folk with minimal outdoorsy survival skills (and gear), I figured a one-day trek would be fine. And of course, as a reward for our calorie burning efforts, I chose this day as the perfect day to reward ourselves with a nice big pizza. Remember - it is my travel rule that I have to try the local pizza in every country!
We hiked a good 4 hours in the morning, then sat down to lunch at a picnic table with a local hill tribe family. Without electricity, indoor plumbing and thus proper hand-washing facilities, and utensils, I cannot imagine the filth I must have eaten. The food we ate was scrumptious: perfectly cooked sticky rice, fried chicken, local Chiang Mai spicy sausage, and some ripe juicy pineapple. Regardless, about ten minutes after eating, I was blacking out dizzy, having stomach cramps, and our trek guides were shoving a eucalyptus inhaler into my nostrils to relieve the nausea.
While I felt better after a few minutes, periodic stomach cramps persisted, and it became obvious that I could not continue on with the hike. One of our guides drove me to a riverbank, where I rested and waited for the rest of the hikers to join me. After a while, I began to feel a little better, and my stomach stopped hurting completely. Our guides drove us back to our hotel, and we arrived in our room around dinnertime.
Now I should have taken the day's events as a warning. I should have been gentle to my stomach, drank some gatorade, had some rice for dinner, and slept for like 12 hours.
I still decided I wanted - no, NEEDED to try the Thai pizza. I had even done some research before our trip, and found a place called Pizza n Pasta, a NY-style pizzeria in the old walled city of Chiang Mai that was owned by a western expat. Besides, I hadn't had any stomach cramps in several hours, so my magnificently resilient disposition must have recovered. My husband tried to stop me, but it was too late, as the idea had already been cemented in my brain. He went out to pick up the pizza, and for good measure, I asked him to pick me up a Smirnoff Ice from the local convenience store (wine in Thailand is prohibitively expensive due to import taxes).
The pizza in Thailand was honestly not that great. The pepperoni was very light, almost like a bologna. I am more of a fan of the crispy deep red variety. The cheese tasted strange and unnatural, very processed and full of preservatives. And the sauce didn't have much spice, instead a bland creamy chalkiness that was completely forgettable. I finished eating, and then went to bed with a shrug.
My night should have ended there, but unfortunately I awoke around 2 am to searing intestinal pain. I began what would become a reoccurring ritual of running to the bathroom. I started my antibiotics that night. I was sooo sick the next day during our elephant excursion and couldn't even eat a mouthful of rice. I discovered the intricacies of third world non-automatic plumbing. A world devoid of toilet paper.
I never thought I'd equate something as exquisite as pizza with something as disgusting as food poisoning. But every time my husband mentioned the heavy pizza we ate that night, a wave of nausea flashed over me, and my stomach turned.
Thailand - for all its exotic beauty - made me think bad things about pizza. And for that, it shall never be forgiven.
PS: I have since recovered, and am eating pizza in full force.