Today’s bizarre Siamese baked concoction is the elusive Bacon Pastry. Observe:
Here’s a closeup of the bacon:
I must admit, I’ve got mixed feelings about this one. I mean, everybody likes bacon, right? But does everybody really like bacon artfully twisted in flaky pastry dough and baked until cripsy? Well, now that I mention it… Honestly though, I think bacon, and the world, are probably not ready for this. I’ll probably get tons of hate mail from people accusing me of being a bacon conservative, but I have to go with my gut instinct here and give Tesco/Lotus’s Bacon Pastry a thumbs down. The dog liked it though.
Today’s lesson revolves around two southern Thai dishes, specifically those using khamin, turmeric. This bright orange root, as I’ve said about 64 times already, is an incredibly popular ingredient in southern Thai cooking, and it is what tends to give these dishes orange/yellow hue. Today’s recipes use the stuff both in dried form and fresh; essentially two completely different ingredients. The first, plaa thot khamin, fish fried with tumeric, uses powdered turmeric largely to counter any unpleasant “fishy” smells, and to give the dish an attractive yellow/orange color. The second recipe, plaa krabok tom khamin, mullet in a turmeric broth, uses a generous amount of the fresh stuff to provide a wonderfully acidic/fragrant/sweet flavor to the broth.
Take about 1/4 cup of garlic (preferably small cloves with a thin peel–don’t worry about removing every last bit of peel–you’ll soon see why) and smash it up real violent like using a mortar and pestle:
Next, take about an 1/8 cup of rice flour, an 1/8 cup of all-purpose flour, a teaspoon of turmeric power and a teaspoon of salt and mix this up with the garlic in a bowl.
When the fish is cooked, crispy and yellow, remove and allow to drain. Now put all of the reserved garlic/flour mixture in the same oil and cook until crispy. Ladle this cripy gold over the fish, and serve:
Using a pestle or the head of a your nearest loved one, generously bruise two stalks of lemongrass
the shallots and chilies (this helps the flavors to release more easily), and throw all of this into the broth and simmer until the broth is yellow and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes:
Talaat nat were defined by my university Thai textbook as “occasional markets”. This doesn’t help much, so let me explain: Every Saturday afternoon in my neighborhood, a market springs up out of nowhere. There are prepared foods and ingredients, as well as lesser-important non food related frivolities. It’s a big deal and EVERYBODY comes out, the old, the young, beggars, construction workers from the nearby housing project… It’s a lot of fun, and virtually only a few steps from my door.
In addition to southern food, there are also a couple people selling northern Thai food. The sausages above are a northern speciality called sai ua and consist of fatty pork and fresh herbs such as lemongrass, lime leaf and galangale. Very, very good.
Haha.. Just kidding. You don’t think I’d go and do that, do you? However, if things go well I’m going to be regularly contributing food features and restaurant reviews to the Thursday food section of ThaiDay, the paper bundled with the International Herald Tribune. My first assignment looks to be a hard-hitting, no-holds-barred expose of Rotiboy, Bangkok’s latest and strangest food craze. For the two or three of you who don’t know, Rotiboy is a Malaysian chain that sells nondescript coffee-flavored buns. Actually I shouldn’t say buns, as the Bangkok Rotiboy sells exactly ONE kind of bun. And against all logic this bun has become madly popular here. There are two hour waits. There are limits on the number of buns you can buy. It’s total freaking madness over a simple pastry. Here’s a line people waiting to buy Rotiboy buns on Silom:
Anyway, hopefully more on Rotiboy later, because as most of my reviews and articles for ThaiDay will concern food in Thailand, I’m thinking of asking the editor if it would be OK to cross-post them all here.
Here’s what comes up. Scroll down a bit. Might want to ask any children to leave the room. Should I sue these people, or just ask them for free porn?
Due to the request of one of the many millions of RealThai readers, today’s reportage will be the first in a series to focus on bamii, Chinese-egg noodles that are very popular in Thailand. Normally served with barbecued pork or crab meat, these noodles can also be had with kiaow, wontons, and are a favorite late-night snack.
I’m going to start with something close to home, my neighborhood’s mobile kiaow vendor. This guy cycles around my neighborhood during lunchtime selling bamii and kiaow. We know he’s coming because he strikes a hollow piece of wook making a tok-tok-tok sound.
His stuff is pretty MOR, nothing that’s going to make the front cover of Bamee Magazine, but good in a pinch. Here’s the result:
I do like the fact that he puts bits of khaeb moo, deep-fried pork crackling (pork rinds for all you Americans) in with it. Other than this though, I find his bamii/kiaow too meaty for me. I prefer the kind with crab meat and lots of phak kwaang tung, a green leafy vegetable that is hiding somewhere under all that flesh in this picture. There is also a place near my house that serves bamii pet, bamii with duck. More on that soon.
This fried noodle dish is something I enjoyed when I first moved to Thailand, and I even made it at home a couple times. For some reason though I somehow lost track of phat sii ew and hadn’t eaten it for about four years.
Just recently I was stranded on a street near my house and “discovered” an excellent phat sii ew shop. The name of the shop is Laad Naa Yod Phak Nay Lao, (“Mr Yao’s Laad Naa with Tender Vegetables”, laad naa is another dish made there), a well-known shop downtown that has a branch near my neighborhood. Eating here made me realize what I had been missing all these years. For those who don’t know, phat see ew is made by frying wide rice noodles with eggs, pork, and phak khanaa (Chinese broccoli), with a soy sauce-based sauce. This place makes truly amazing phat sii ew. It’s done in a huge freaking wok over a very strong flame:
And the best thing is that from order to eat takes honestly no more than two minutes!
Here’s my dish:
Because of the way they’re flash-fried, the whole dish has a wonderfully smoky taste. I’m not a big meat eater, so I always order mine minus pork and extra veggies, that’s why it looks particularly green.
Today’s lesson in bizarre Thai pastries is an extra super double blowout edition, featuring two very unusual baked treats from the local Yamazaki, a Japanese bakery.
First we begin with a pastry called, and I’m not joking here, the Weiner Kids Donut:
Yes, Kids, it’s the snack you’ve been waiting for: part savory, part cripy sweet, this is essentially a hot dog (the aforementioned “Weiner”) encased in dough, rolled in bread crumbs, deep-fried, and generously topped with a dollop of sweet ketchup. The thing was so oily that if you stuck a wick in it you could probably use it to read by for a couple weeks.
The next example is the ambitiously-titled Crab Pizza Danish:
OK, there are obviously a lot of faults with this one, but my main objection to the Crab Pizza Danish is why try to do so much with one pastry? I can (sort of) conceive of a Crab Danish, or even a Pizza Danish, or even more so a Crab Pizza, but why on earth would somebody try to combine all there of these disparate elements? And what’s with those toppings:
It’s a bit hard to see here, but you’ve got imitation crab, pineapple, “cheese” and ketchup, all mingling on the same platform. I almost chose its neighbor, the Corn Pizza Danish, but felt that imitation crab was something I couldn’t pass up.
Continuing on the bamii theme, today I went to the local bamii pet, duck with egg noodles, shop. This kind of bamii is a bit more hard to find than the usual that has pork or crab, but is quite good, if not better.
If you’re not into noodles, you can also order something called kao lao, which is basically the dish without the addition of noodles, and which includes a ladlefull of “gravy” made from fermented soybeans and duck broth, giving the dish a deep, savory flavor.
I ordered bamii pet naam, egg noodles with duck and broth. There’s also some phak kwaang tung, a green leafy vegetable hiding under there.