Ingredient Labels in Thailand: A Short Commentary

Alright, just got back from 7/11, which should have only taken me about 20 minutes (I have to walk there), but it took me a bit longer than I anticipated.

This is how it all began:

I’m packing right now because I leave for Phuket with a couple other girls tonight at 9. While I’m packing, my chapstick breaks. The chapstick I purchased from Whole Foods with the intention to bring it to Thailand. The chapstick that I fully read the ingredient label to make sure there were no crazy chemicals in the chapstick.

Fast forward to me, standing in 7/11, like a dumb American:

There are about 7 options for chapstick, so, naturally, I attempt to read the ingredient labels. Well, a couple of the ingredient labels are written completely in Thai, so I put those products back on the shelf. I’ve narrowed it down to 4 products, all of which are by Maybelline so the ingredient labels are written in English. Reading down each label and on some I see “BHT”, so I have to put those back. So now I’ve narrowed it down to 3 options, which “may contain” Red 7 and the others listing “perfume” or “flavoring” on their labels.

A couple of us have a great sentence that applies to our lives in Thailand. It’s, pretend it didn’t happen and you didn’t see it.

So, with that in mind, I decide to (painfully) buy the chapstick with Red 7. Next, I need to get some coffee. I have to, of course, skip over the drinks with ingredients written in Thai. The ones I can read contain milk, artificial sweeteners (like aspartame), and natural identical flavoring (what is that even?). I feel like I’m about to have a mental breakdown at this point.

Sidenote: I can’t even explain to you guys how often I have to look the other way when my food is being prepared… so. much. oil.

Anyways, I opt to get the coffee that had no ingredient label. That’s what I mean when I say, pretend it didn’t happen and you didn’t see it.

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