Thursday, 26 February 2009
Eating in Thailand and Laos. Part 1 - Bangkok street food
I recently spent 6 weeks eating my way around Thailand and Laos. I'm going to put a sample of the pictures with some explanation, and occasionally recipes, up on this blog. I hope you like it, there's plenty more to come! This is the first installment – some snaps and explanation of some of the things I ate on the street in Bangkok (if there’s a better city in the world for street food I certainly haven’t been there). Rice soup often eaten as a breakfast dish, it doesnt look great but, when you add the ginger, spring onion, chilli toppings and crack in a delicious raw free range egg it becomes really satisfying & moreish. A mad arrangement of sweet-savory concoctions - with the aid of much pointing a little old lady will make you a tailored mix to excite (and somewhat confuse!) the taste buds. Chinatown - it has the best fresh seafood stands i've seen anywhere, and they're always jam-packed. We ordered snapper in 3 flavour sauce, stir-fried morning glory and mussels with thai basil and lemongrass. all delicious. This duck noodle soup with feather-light prawn wontons was one of the simplest and most delicious things i have eaten in a very long time. I dont think i've ever tasted duck so good or wontons so delicate. A street stall near hidden down an alley near my my guesthouse in Bangkok - packed everylunch with locals choosing a curry type sauce with pork or chicken and then loading their plates with fresh beansprouts, herbs, roasted dried chillies and pickled mustard greens. All for about 50p! A crispy fish ('pla grop' i think) with shredded green mango, roasted peanuts, chillies and a sweet-sour sauce. An acquired taste, but a fantastic taste and texture sensation, i loved it. Street stalls - where the produce on display is stunningly fresh and the ladies working the woks could take down any michelin starred chef in a wok-off! Thailand has some Muslim communities, particularly in the south. This reflects in the cuisine - like roti's with curry sauce. Yum. hmmm, hard to pin point what goes in to these tasty morsels...i think they are a kind of fried tapioca & spinach-like greens mix. comes with a bag of sweet soy sauce and a cocktail stick to spear them with. Only the most seasoned Bangkok street-eater can tell you what is in a banana leaf parcel just by it's shape, but i soon got to recognise these ones...they contained a delicious mix of sticky rice, banana, coconut cream, sugar and i think some sort of plum...all grilled and caramalised to additive levels of tastyness. Sweet yellow mango and sticky rice needs no introduction...this was the best i've ever had. taaaaaaaaasty! rice flour dumplings with a peanut-fried shallot sweet paste in the middle, top with crispy shallots and eat with green chillies. steamed wonton style rolls with various fillings (pork, cabbage etc) quite chinese in origin i think. Crispy fried balls (of something like semolina i think), sweet nam jim chill sauce and roasted dried chillies.