this is the archive for the ‘foooood’ category:


khao soi

khao soi is a northern thai dish that i had never heard about before but which was everywhere in chiang mai and super yummy:

it’s a mix of soupy egg noodles topped with crispy noodles, and meat or egg. double noodles sounds like a winner already, but the mixture of curry and coconut milk of the broth makes this dish. you can add stuff on top, but in the end we concluded it’s just complicating something that is perfect already. why bother?

it’s just sooooo good that i wonder how come pad thai gets all the fame outside of thailand, but not khao soi?

the cooking class

turns out, thai cooking is a lot of prep work, followed by a very quick cooking process. everything needs to be minced, peeled, squeezed, measured and mashed beforehand — mise en place is everything here.

afterwards, it’s a matter of heating up a wok and throwing stuff there in a specific order. voilá!

under the close supervision of our host/chef, we prepared soups, curries, stir fries and even mango sticky rice, all deliciously filling but way more stuff than we could eat…

… so we ended up bringing pad thai and some other noodle dishes home for dinner. :)

we were also treated to a tour of their beautiful gardens, where the host grows a lot of the ingredients for the lesions like chillies, mushrooms and ginger. he had all kinds of plants there, and it was pretty cool to see a coffee tree or taste stevia leafs for the first time.

near the end of the tour, we were introduced to this funky plant that turns its leaves when they’re touched:

they’re so cool!! aptly named “touch-me-not”, they’re a common weed in thailand. after this encounter, we started touching lots of plants on the side of the road, just to see if we could make that trick again! :D

a trip to the market

going to markets and supermarkets has long been one of my favorite activities abroad. they can be a overwhelming at times, but i still enjoy looking at all the produce and finding new things. here’s a quick walk around a market near chiang mai.


rice, rice, rice! glutinous, fragrant, brown… it all has a different purpose.

aaaaaall the veggies! some are funky and some are familiar. i was especially impressed by all the ginger-like roots they seem to use on their cooking, and which i had never seen before. oh! and those little green balls are fresh peppercorns… who knew they looked like that?

curries are what we associate with thai cooking, but making your own curry paste is hard work as we later discovered. so at the market, you can buy them already made or give your specifications to the seller, and they’ll make you a batch.

stinky but delicious fish sauce!

the variety of noodles they sell makes the pasta in a portuguese supermarket pale in comparison.

the fresh section was also well stocked, both with meat (the whole nose-to-tail), fish and frogs! to keep the flies away, ribbons of plastic were attached to the skeletons of fans, and made to spin above the meat. it’s pretty efficient actually, and super hypnotic! :D

so now we got the produce — let’s go cook it!

thai bananas

oh my goodness, the fruit in thailand… maybe it’s the exoticness of it all, but i swear fruit just tastes better in asia. take bananas for instance:

these look smallish, almost like the bananas from madeira, but somehow thicker and squarish. the looks might not be great, it’s the inside that counts, so let’s open it…

… and take a bite…

… whoa. they’re extra smooth, dense and so “banany”! :D i have never met a fruit i didn’t like, but these bananas at the top of the list. i want to go back…

unicorn ice-cream and other delights

i think sampling different ice-cream flavours is one of the requirements of traveling in a hot country. there were lots of them to try in thailand, so of course we had to test them all. for science!

the trio above was a mixed bag. taro is okayish, its squashy/jelly bits are definitely fun to bite into, but i found the flavour a bit underwhelming. durian is… well, durian. “tastes like fruity onions”, said our friend G who complained that he still had the flavour in his mouth hours later! if this had been jackfruit instead, i would have been all over that.

and the unicornetto was a thing of beauty. i had no idea this thing even existed in the world, but what a brilliant stroke of marketing! the boy wasn’t impressed with the flavour, but who cares about that when an ice-cream is (probably) made of unicorns and looks like this?

not pictured in my crap photo: the red wafer and the “strawberry jelly”-like core. it’s like it was made by (for?) teenage girls and i cannot stop looking at it… whoa. :D

moving on, one boring ice-cream on top, and one more exciting “black sticky rice with taro” option below, which was great. they put bits of chewy black rice on it, that popped up as you made your way through the ice-cream. i approve!

my favorite was this corn and coconut milk creation though:

putting coconut in anything is practically a guarantee that i will like it, but i don’t understand why corn is not more commonly used in desserts everywhere. it has three things going for it: nice color for food, naturally sweet (but not too much) and it has a nice bite to it. i vote for more corn! :)