Taking notes in a friend’s kitchen:
Her cook is preparing Pad Thai: fried rice noodles with shrimp, fish sauce, Thai chilies, tofu, bean sprouts, egg, ..
It’s not uncommon for Thais to greet you with:
“Gin kow rey yang?” (Have you consumed rice yet?)
“To eat is to eat rice.”
Does this hint to the fact that Thai cooking is centered around rice? Can you imagine asking a Westerner if they have consumed a hamburger yet?
Flavor is important since rice is so bland.
The dishes are spicy, hot, pungent, sweet, sour, salty, exotic: Loaded with herbs and spices.
And if the meal is lacking in spices- four little condiment jars can be found on the table to add more flavor: sugar, vinegar with green chillies, red chili powder, and fish sauce. I never saw salt and pepper- too neutral.
Understanding the culinary specialties of a culture is one way I appreciate the lifestyle of the people. It’s more than just what they eat: Where , When, and How, are all factors I observe.
The Thais are notorious for eating out, not restaurant- style but in street stalls. (sometimes a little risky for foreigners).
For those on the go, food is served in these little bags– thin wooden sticks are included to stab the food while walking and sauces (of course, hot chilies) are packed for the customer.
My husband is a great wok chef, but I met his match in Chinatown!
Seafood from Amwapha (Floating Market)
Where are the chopsticks?
Thais eat with a fork and spoon: the fork scoots the food into the spoon and the spoon is used for actually eating.
I asked my students to share some of their favorite dishes:
Red Curries: (hot, hot with Thai red chilies!)
Pad Thai (fried noodles usually with shrimp)
Hainan style chicken (marinated with rice)
Tubtim Krob (chestnuts in coconut milk)
Tom Yum soup ( see below): hot, spicy and sour soup with lemongrass, galangal (root), kaffir lime, and shrimp/chicken- with or without coconut milk
looks like something is going to crawl out, but DELICIOUS!
Staying true to my blog,
I found student food (school lunches), while teaching at the local government school,
I observed these food trays outside the classroom. After inquiring, I learned the government provides a free hot lunch to all students. The meals are delivered to each classroom.
Now, that’s service!
A glimpse into the exotic world of tropical fruits:
mangosteen, rambutan, mangoes, durian, papaya, dragon fruit
My favorite fruit dessert: (my daughter fell for this too while in Cambodia)
MANGO STICKY RICE!
Speaking of fruit, I have a new health secret:
Coconut Water-hydrates, nourishes, and one friend said, “It’s similar to the plasma in our bodies.” (I thought of plasma TVs???)
Flying to Vietnam tomorrow