A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.


Monthly Archives: February 2006



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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.

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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.

For the turmeric fried fish I’m using plaa saay daeng, this fish:

but plaa insee, Spanish mackerel fillets are also common, and very good.

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.

Coat the scaled and gutted fish with this mixture and set aside for 10 minutes:

After the 10 minutes, shake off the excess garlic/flour mixture, reserving all of it (there should be a lot), and fry the fish on both sides in plenty of oil over a medium-high flame:

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:

Now, for the mullet (heheh…) in turmeric broth, take a couple small cleaned and gutted mullets:

and chop their heads off. You could even chop the bodies into long-ish bits (as I did) if you prefer.

Bring about three cups of water to a boil. In meantime prepare your broth flavoring ingredients, a couple stalks of lemongrass, some peeled shallots, peeled turmeric and chilies:

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:

Add your mullet (hehehe…) and bring to a gentle boil. Add a few torn kaffir lime leaves. Flavor to taste with fish sauce and lime:

You is done:

(My apologies for the less-than-stellar last pic, it was getting dark and I was hungry!)

Talaat Nat Mania

Posted at 3am on 2/18/06 | read on
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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.


These beautiful rose apples are for sale every week.


Stopping by to pick up the essentials; limes and dried fish (?).


This is where to get your garlic and shallot fix. She’s mobile.


Southern Thai-style curries. I think there must be several people of southern Thai origin in my neighborhood, as there are about three or four stalls selling this type of food.


This khao mok kai is sold by a Muslim family.


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.


Continuing on the sausage theme, these northeastern-style sausages are filled with rice, glass noodles, and a kind of sour, fermented pork, and are also grilled.


Another popular northeastern dish is grilled freshwater fish, especially catfish, as seen at the top of the pic. The other fish are coated in salt before being grilled.


These are nam phrik, various “salsas” or dips that you have over rice or with vegetables.


And for dessert, try a pumpkin filled with custard and steamed, or


colored sugar twisted into birds and other shapes.

I got a real job

Posted at 8am on 2/22/06 | read on
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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.

Ever try Googling RealThai?

Posted at 8am on 2/22/06 | read on
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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?

Bamii Blow Out

Posted at 9pm on 2/23/06 | read on
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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.

I was at the computer working, heard the sound, ran downstairs, and saw him just down the street:

I called him over (isn’t mobile food wonderful?):

And orderd a fat bowl of kiaow naam, wonton with broth (many people like to order bamii and kiaow haeng, meaning, without broth). This is him at work:

(I supplied my own bowl.)

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.

Phat Sii Ew

Posted at 10pm on 2/24/06 | read on
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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:

First the eggs are fried, then the noodles and veggies are added. The noodles are pre-soaked in the sauce, which the cook (below) told me is a mixture of soy sauce (sii ew) and oyster sauce.

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.

Here’s an action shot of the eating process:

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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.

Bamii Blow Out

Posted at 10pm on 2/25/06 | read on
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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.

The noodles they use here are really good, similar in quality to egg noodles I’ve had in China. Here is the guy parboiling the noodles before adding them to the bowl:

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.

The shop uses entire Chinese-style roasted ducks. Here’s the guy who chops them up:

And here’s my bowl:

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.