This will be a brief post, as the internet’s a bit slow and it took the better part of the morning to upload the video (actually had to cancel youtube a couple times, as it stalled out) but I extoll the wonders of mangosteen in this brief video.

If you have not experienced this fruit yet, I encourage you to try it if you see it in Asia or South America.

It’s origins trace back to Indonesia and it’s presumed to have spread to other parts of Asia from there. They are readily available in Thailand and run about $1.50 for a kilo. They are significantly more expensive in the United States, IF you can find them at all. Personally, I have only seen then frozen. Frozen doesn’t really give you the same experience, so go fresh if you can!

A beautiful herb garden in a Chiang Mai hotel.

It’s a delight to stay in a hotel that surrounds me in lush green foliage, but throw in a real working herb garden? Wow!

We stayed, not long ago, in a hotel in Chiang Mai called the Shewe Wana Suites Resort (more information HERE). The Shewe Wana is a medium sized boutique hotel, smaller than big fancy resort or hotel, but with a lot of character and attention to detail. I write about it on my travel blog right HERE. There’s a lot of pictures and a video of the hotel, so please do visit and check it out.

Continue reading

Ambience and flavor at Huen Phen in Chiang Mai, Thailand

The restaurant is quite unassuming from the quiet street, but Huen Phen becomes more interesting with each step you take. Although the outside tables are bustling during the day, they are deserted at night as dinner takes place inside the restaurant.

Huen Phen in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Huen Phen - Chiang Mai, Thailand

As you enter you realize that this place is unique. They have both tables and traditional seating. Continue reading

Interesting Thai Snack – Spun Sugar in Crepes

As we exited the MRT station, having had a pretty good day munching our way around Chinatown, which included fresh jack fruit, any number of meat products on a stick (don’t ask me what they were, I have no idea, lol), fried seafood puffs on a stick and some Indian food, we spotted this lady who had a stand selling what looked from a distance like bits of hair extension.

She greeted us in a friendly ‘come on over’ in Thai (or at least that what I think it means), and we took a look. I asked what it was and she said sugar. Hmm sugar.

So, what the heck, 25 baht and we had a bag of blonde and brunette (ok, actually green and wheat colored :D) and another bag with a few crepes in it.

Here’s what we ate:

The best is yet to come, click more. Continue reading

Happy Home Cooking School – Pattaya, Thailand (day 1, part 1)

Watching the clock tick. Sleeping, eating, then napping. Not a great way to waste time on a vacation, but I had the vacation doldrums. I was waiting for my wife to catch up to me and was bored. What to do? What to do?

Well, I’ve taken cooking classes in Thailand before, once at the well known Baipai cooking school in Bangkok, and a few times at the Marriott in Pattaya. Each time was different and quite fun. I searched the internet and a couple cooking schools came up for Pattaya. One seemed to rank higher. Looking at the website, it seemed a bit more down to earth and, I hoped willing to teach authentic flavors and heat levels, as I eschew “dumbed down” tourist food. There’s a tendency for the Thai to take it easy on foreigners especially with regard to strong flavors like Pla Ra and the level of spiciness, and I would be the first to agree that it is for good reason. Not everyone can take it, and many novices may not like it. Having decided to take a chance on the school, I sent off an e-mail and booked two days, both of their intermediate classes. The cooking of Lanna and the cooking of Issan foods.

I spent a couple very rewarding days there and this is my story. Following Soi Boukow from my hotel and crossing Central Pattaya Road led me to the quaint cooking school. Formerly a bar, now converted to cooking use, thinking about it, I can’t think of a better use for the location. Continue reading

Black pudding and a full English Breakfast in Pattaya

I was in the mood for black pudding. A taste I developed visiting Eddie’s Tavern in Bandung way up to the Northeast near Udon Thani. Black pudding is a sausage made of blood and a filler (often oatmeal) seasoned and cooked until it congeals. It’s not always the easiest item to find served in restaurants and a number of ex-pats I spoke to only knew where to get it to take home. I literally stumbled across it at Le Katai, a few doors down from China Garden on Soi Lengkee where I was staying.

Now, luckily this area has a good concentration of English ex-pats and tourists, so the food is geared towards their tastes. As I walked down the street, I saw their large “A” frame sign advertising a large English breakfast for only 140 baht (chance it was 160 baht, memory getting fuzzy 😉 ). In the picture was the pudding (yay!). Continue reading

Delicious Bauernfruhstuck! Domicil Restaurant in Pattaya

I found myself in the mood for a filling breakfast with eggs, potatoes, and some meat and stumbled across Domicil Restaurant on 2nd road in Pattaya. Taking a look at the menu I saw the big omelet filled with what promised to be all sorts of delicious goodness. I have to say I was not disappointed!

The potatoes were scalloped and mixed with ham and sauteed onions. The entire thing was covered in egg and forms a large kind of pan omelet. Breakfast came with juice, coffee, two slices of bread with jam. Delicious!

Crispy Fried Frog – Issan Cooking

I am thrilled that I had the chance to attend Happy Home Cooking School for not only one, but two days. I selected the Issan and Lanna courses from their course outline and received expert instruction from Chef Sheri. More about the cooking school (with tons of pictures) later.

For now, I couldn’t wait to share with you this video that I made of a little surprise I had while cooking the frog.

Keep in mind that these frogs were already gutted and cut up. Yet, just like the classic high school science demonstration (one that isn’t done any more) the frog legs were still kicking. What was interesting is I didn’t notice any movement until after I put the salt on them.

After I got over my initial reaction, I got down to cooking them and I have to tell you that this was absolutely hands down the very best frog I’ve ever tasted. I’m not sure if it was because it was super fresh or due to the recipe, but there was no fishy taste to the frog at all. The meat was firm yet tender, and quite good.


Yum Som O, a fanfare of flavors in this different salad.

Wow!, Who would have thought the light, slightly sour-sweet flavor of the pomelo would blend so well with the sweet, sour, salty, hotness of Thai salad dressing! I stopped in at Yum & Tum at Central Festival tonight and couldn’t resist picking this healthy looking treat.

Blended with the Pomelo was dried shrimp and shaved toasted shrimp sung (i’m not 100% sure what the shaved bits were on top. I thought it was pork sung, then shrimp…), thinly sliced shallots, garlic, and coriander tossed with fish sauce, sugar, perhaps lime. I was trying to figure it out by taste. Bird’s eye chile supplied the fire. Continue reading

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