Saturday, April 9, 2016

2016 Asia Mega Tour - Thai Food Post, Part One

As has been the case with most of our trip, food has not been the central focus. But this is de-I so the concept of throwing gastronomy to the winds. would be laughable. However, the food poisoning experience in Vietnam has had a lot to do with putting a damper on what we've been willing to try. Another inhibitor has been language, not so much the spoken language as you expect that, but the written language. With Chinese and Thia written in completely different alphabets, it meant that it was incredibly difficult to figure out what was on a menu. The result of these three factors (gun-shyness, not being able to verbally communicate, not being able to read) was a very limited choice of items to eat. That being said we still got to try a lot of things and expanded our concepts of Thai cuisine.

Dinners in Bangkok 

While we were with the Nephew and family we found a place near our hotel on TripAdvisor that was popular with locals but foreigner friendly. We ended up eating their twice during our time in Bangkok. Here are some of the dishes we had.

Pad Thai
Wife was on a mission because she had Pad Thai in the US that was excruciatingly sweet. We wanted it at the source. It was very sweet. 
 Deep Fried Fish
This was so yummy we had it twice. With all that garlic and chile on the top you'd think it was spicy but it wasn't.

Green Papaya Salad
Had this in Vietnam and Cambodia and still love it
Stir Fried Mystery Greens (called Chayote but in our world that's a squash)
Slightly spicy and good
Crab in Curry Powder
This was our least favorite dish. Crab is so delicate. We couldn't really taste it in the sauce

The Ayutthaya Eating Tour

This is the eating component of the tour I described in a previous post. The first stop was at a local market. I think Wife and I are getting a bit jaded about going to local markets. In just about everyone we've been to in Asia, they're all pretty much the same and if you don't have some one to chose what you can eat safely you are doubling down at the Gastrointestinal Roulette Table.

This first is simple roasted sweet potatoes
Basic and tasty
The grilled corn lady
We didn't try these. Wish we had. She had three different varieties
The neighborhood in Ayutthaya that we visited was Chinese of origin so steamed buns were on the agenda. I've not liked these in the past but these had more filling and less bun and were better in my opinion.
This one had mung bean paste. Not usually a fan of bean paste but I liked this.
THE surefire lady magnet in the market is a steamed roast pork bun!
Sigh :(  As is usually the case pictures lie. This is our guide and she's going to become a Buddhist Nun.

A variety of sweets made from coconut and rice flour. One was like a little taco shell with various fillings. Not a clue as to what they are called.
Iced Coffee and Tea for a hot day

Coconut flavored ice cream with various 'things' underneath.
We should have done a better job of keeping notes but we were going pretty fast.
For some reason our guide had us try a bunch of sweet things first and then (after some bitching on my part about all the sweets) moved us on to more savory things.
This was deep fried tofu. The best deep fried tofu ever. Little crispy puffs with almost ethereal light centers. Put a bunch of salt on these and you'd have the healthiest bar food known to man (except for the salt).
My top two eating things in Asia are soup noodles and food on a stick.
This is chicken with a peanut chile dipping sauce and a side salad of cucumbers and onions.
 Boat Noodles
We learned from both this guide and the one next day that the image of living on the water and going up to a boat and getting noodles is a strong archetype in Thai culture. Is practically extinct now but the style of noodle is sold a lot.
These were examples of three different types of noodles, thin wheat, medium wheat, and thick rice, all with the same soup/sauce. Unlike a lot of soup noodles, there was not a lot of broth so it was more like a flavoring than a major component. The flavor was mildly sweet-sour-hot.
Finer dining
We finished our tour with a formal meal

This was a snack you'd have with a drink. The round stuff on the top is palm sugar with cooked pork inside. The combination of the fruit acid, the sugary pork, and the heat of the chile on top actually worked.
Green curry with chicken along with mystery eggs.
Green curry is one of our favorites. We've had it numerous times. This was a bit spicier than some.
The eggs are twice cooked. Hard boiled first and then deep fried and served with the ubiquitous sweet-sour-hot sauce combination.
Fresh Water Prawn
This was a real winner. The yellow stuff is a sauce made from the roe. The shrimp itself was very sweet and the sauce very creamy.

Lunch on the Canal
While our canal boat tour was not a food tour, our guide Nui certainly made sure we were well fed. We shared this lovely meal canal side.
Chicken with basil, pork with red curry, sweet & sour fish
The first two were really great. Wife and I are just not that fond of sweet & sour.

On to Chiang Mai
After yet another tiring Asian Discount Airline trip we didn't feel like going out to diner and ate at our hotel. It was mercifully very reasonable in price. Plus they have very few people eating there (for some reason the hotel is not very full...this is not peak season) so the cook, who cooks in an open kitchen ,was basically cooked to order. The dishes were very good and I was too tired to photo journalize them. However, the manager was so nice and said, "we need to do something special for your wife." So he had this cake decorated that we surprised her with!


alexis said...

interesting! I would guess from this post Thai hasn't been your favorite cuisine. As you're not keen on sweet-savory?

de-I said...

Actually Thai has grown more and more on me as I've learned that yes there are a lot of sweet savory dishes but there are also lots that are not. It is a question of dish selection. Plus now that we've had the cooking class,I know how to adjust the seasoning if I make a dish to taste.