A week of Thai feasting – part two

Life lessons continued:

3.  When you go to visit a friend abroad and she asks what you’d like to do while you’re there, say that you’d like to do a food tour, thereby disguising greed as cultural appreciation.

That strategy found me on a food tour of Bangkok with Angel –

– here we are with some of our fellow gluttons, enjoying one of the  best dishes we tried, chicken with finely shredded deep-fried lemon grass.  It looked just like a badly-made birds’ nest, but tasted a whole lot better.  This was an Esan restaurant – food from the north east of Thailand, but extremely popular throughout the whole country.

This woman is preparing miang kam at her stall in the street –

They are made of little bits of chopped vegetables, spices, peanuts, dried fish, and many other things, coated in a zingy sauce and then wrapped in a wild pepper vine leaf and served on a stick.

I’m afraid I ate mine too quickly to get a picture,  but I found one online –

We also tried low-calorie duck –

– not quite sure what makes it low-cal, but our guide assured us it was, so we all scoffed extra portions to make the most of our one and only opportunity to try skinny-duck.

This stall sells banana, sweet potato and taro deep-fried in a sesame batter –

This one sadly wasn’t low-calorie, but it was very good.

The Thai Muslim food was very similar to Malay food –

chicken curry – called massaman in Thailand – and stuffed roti in the photo here.  The roti is called murtabak in Thailand just as it is in Malaysia.  The only thing I passed on was the ox brain … I’m adventurous, but not that adventurous.

We stopped to buy flowers –

and then headed off to the temple to make offerings and light incense sticks.

I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to be giving thanks for good food, or asking for forgiveness for our gluttony –

– so I did both, just to be on the safe side.

Feeling absolved, we headed to a bakery for traditional buns filled with pandan-flavoured custard –

– served with sweet iced tea.  Pandan is an unfortunate mal-de-mer shade of green, but it is very aromatic and sweet and is considered to be the Asian equivalent of vanilla.

Our final stop was a restaurant which serves Thai green curry with fried roti, instead of with rice –

a definite advantage taste-wise, I felt, but unless you want to have your arteries dyno-rodded out on a regular basis it’s probably best to stick to rice except on very special occasions.

Finally, coconut sorbet, made with coconut water and little pieces of young coconut flesh, was my second favourite dish of the day –

– and then we waddled off to find somewhere to sit down and digest our gastric overload.

Thanks, Angel – it was a great trip!




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A week of Thai feasting – part one


Life lessons:

  1.  When a chef brings a pot of his own Thai green curry to a potluck supper, you make a beeline for it.
  2. When a friend then invites you to dinner at that restaurant, you accept with alacrity

and Old Siam is even within walking distance for me … result!

Pad Thai is my favourite, and chef Glen makes his own sauce from scratch –

It was delicious, but it’s not the most photogenic dish, so I made sure I snapped everyone else’s meals too –

This is Thai green curry Laksa … delicious and beautiful.

And so was the mango with coconut rice –

Glen tells me that buys 700 kg of pork a week, and sells 40,000 plates of deep fried pork a year – which is a pretty impressive feat in a Muslim country.

Glen’s grandmother was from Phuket and he has inherited a lot of her recipes.  She oversees the whole operation from her place place high up on the wall –

She’s not smiling, but I’m sure I can see the approval in her eyes.


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Crazy Rich Asian Parents

It’s not just Singapore that has Crazy Rich Asians – the Chinese Malaysian parents in KL are up there with the best of them.

The most ridiculous thing I’ve been asked to date by a parent, was whether I thought it would be a good idea for a five-year-old to start learning Latin ‘because it will be useful for him when he’s a doctor.’

‘But he’s five years old,’ I said.

‘And … ?’ her eyebrows seemed to say to me.

We also have a four-year-old at school with her own phone, which had Youtube installed, so she spent her evenings watching unsuitable videos instead of sleeping.  When it was pointed out to her parents that this wasn’t a good idea, they went away to think about their parenting responsibilities, and came back the next day and announced proudly that they’d uninstalled Youtube and given her Netflix instead.

And how do you ensure that you win any online game you play at school?

By bringing in both an iPhone and an iPad, of course.

Technology is also very useful for the crazy, rich Asian parents, not just their children.

So that they can secretly film their child through the fence while they’re at school.

One parent wasn’t even content with that; she wanted CCTV in the child’s classroom that she would have access to at all times.  Needless to say, her child is not at our school – English head teachers are far too sensible to accede to those sort of requests.

Then there’s also a need for our school materials to relect the lives of these families.  So we have reading comprehensions on useful topics like how to deal with your servants when you go on holiday –

How very different from the home life of our own dear Queen … although perhaps not, on second thoughts.



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