I lived in North Eastern Thailand for a year decades ago and had some wonderful food while I was there, but it was almost never EXACTLY what the Thais in the area ate. Most westerners could not, or would not, eat the "REAL" Thai food. It wasn't just the spices, although they were far too hot for most people. The types of food and the way they were stored and prepared was just an entirely different culture and what is and is not food is to some extent determined by culture.
I saw a giant Mekong catfish lay on the side of the road for at least three or four days before it was considered "ripe" enough to use in food. When I was there refrigeration was rare and most food sat out in heat and humidity for extended periods. The climate was even a bit more that I was used to -- and I was born and raised in the deep south before air conditioning was common. The aroma of a Thai open air market is to say the least unique. Thailand is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, and the people are the friendliest and most open anywhere, but eating "real" Thai food is something I was never able to really appreciate.
There are places I have eaten in the US that have excellent Thai food, but it is not what you find the Thai's eating in Thailand. Maybe Anthony Bourdain can eat real Thai food, but on a recent episode of his show it appeared that even he was having a bit of trouble with some of it.