I love food.
I love eating and cooking food.
I also love sharing my food experiences.
No matter where I drift in my wanderings, I seem to always converge in a food place.
Nothing is a problem.
Nothing is a bother.
Ideal, good value location to relax, shop and sample fantastic local cuisines.
Our journey begins in Bangkok, capital of Thailand, commercial hub, melting pot of traditional and modern; endless choices of global cuisines … but also capital of traditional Thai specialities.
Travelling north on countryside highways, to me, is the best way to see a country; get to know the local way of life; stopping at places of interest on the way to the next city.
When our guide, Aoi, realise our love for local Thai specialities, our trip became a food adventure through Thailand, from Bangkok to Chiang Rai.
Sample local ‘Khaow Soi’ – yellow noodle served with thick mild curry sauce, with shredded chicken, topped with crispy noodles – enjoy it as a snack or light meal. Try different versions of ‘Khaow Soi’ – all cooked to suit local regional taste. Try it in Ayutthaya, Lampang or Chiang Rai – you will just have to decide which version is most suited your palate!
If you like ‘Pad Thai’ a seafood or chicken glass noodle stir-fry dish, you must try the Sokhothai version of Pad Thai – a unique experience; fresh seafood, stir-fried vegetables and noodles – served as individual as the town itself. The base is layered with noodles, the seafood and vegetables are spread over the top; garnished with crushed peanuts, coriander and dried chilli flakes.
Locals and visitors pack renowned eateries in Sokhothai to sample this version of Pad Thai. It is not what is in it but how it is put together that makes it different.
Not everyone knows all the favourite local haunts – you need a local with local speciality knowledge to get you there.
Luckily, we had Aoi to assist us all through Thailand – you can contact her on her mobile +66 95 959 5234 or check out her Facebook webpage – Aoi Phuangdokmai (‘on tour with Aoi’) to know her a bit better before contacting her.
Sample ‘Kai Yang’ – whole chicken spiced and lighted marinated, open-grilled and served with an assortment of mild and spicy sauces. Be aware that it is usually served as a ‘full bird’ and you cut the bird at the table.
Or, try the Salt-crusted Whole Fish – freshly caught, cleaned and spiced with garlic, ginger and pepper; encrusted in a layer of tightly packed raw salt; wrapped, open-grilled and served immediately. Again, you get the whole fish, accompanied with various condiments such as sweet chilli sauce, light soya sauce and bird’s eye chilli slices in fish sauce.
Try the Green Papaya Salad – shredded green papayas, lightly spiced with lime juice, fish sauce, lemongrass thinly sliced, peanuts and spices; a healthy and refreshing salad to accompany a hearty meal of meats and seafood.
Again, each papaya salad sampled has subtle differences to suit local taste – you will just have to find one that suits you!
My all-time favourite – ‘Larb Kai’ or chicken salad – chicken coarsely chopped as per each order placed; lightly stir-fried till cooked, mixed with lime juice, fish sauce, coriander, lemongrass and chillies to taste; served on a bed of freshly sliced mixed salad. The skill is the balanced combination of lime juice and fish sauce, making it another refreshing meal to enjoy after a long day of travel.
Check out the local Thai noodle soup in Chiang Mai – either sliced beef or shredded chicken in a beef or chicken consommé (light soup stock), accompanied with assorted seasonal vegetables. The skill is the mix of fresh local ingredients and spices in the stockpot – this family business owner, Neung, told us that his recipe has been handed down through four generations. Definitely a well-kept family secret recipe!
It is so well-known that the eatery was also visited by the current Princess of Thailand, sometime ago!
You got to be early to sample the noodle soup – the eatery is only open for lunch and is usually done for the day around 2.30pm.
In Chiang Rai, sample the local hors d’oeuvre called ‘Orderve Muang’ – a collection of spicy Thai sausages, fried fish maw, seasonal vegetables lightly cooked and eggs served with a Thai-style salsa of finely chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, coriander, shallots in lime juice and mild chilli paste.
Refreshing, palate cleansing way to start any meal.
Try the local speciality of whole Steam Fish in Plum Sauce, Larb Moo Kuah; another version of Thai salad, this time with finely chopped pork instead of chicken, stir-fried in soya sauce, lime juice, fish sauce and assorted spices including garlic and ginger.
Tickle your taste buds and savour the fresh local products … most satisfying to the senses and the tummy!
Visit a pineapple farm in Thailand – small farms along the hillsides; bearing 2 crops of fruit a year. Sample fresh pineapple slices picked from the harvested crop – the fruit is juicy, sweet and not very acidic – extremely refreshing under hot tropical skies.
Whether it be in Ayutthaya, ancient capital of Thailand over 400 years ago; Lampang, housing one of the best preserved ‘Lanna’ style temple architecture or Chiang Rai, a city before the Mae Sai Border; the Golden Triangle – confluence of Mae Sai and Mekong rivers; where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge; Thai food vary from town to town, region to region.
The joy and simple pleasure of sitting down to a quality meal with new-found friends, sampling local favourites … laughing and eating … a truly wonderful food adventure!