Archive | September, 2012

Krabi Street Food – Again

28 Sep

Street food in Thailand has made us not like restaurants anymore. I hope that in the next three places we go, we can only eat from on the street! It’s super delicious and cheap! Plus, a Chang beer in the restaurant is 99 baht (over 3 dollars), so we have been going to the local store and buying them for 45 baht and then taking our beers and enjoying them on the street!

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So much better!

So over the past few nights here in Krabi, we have tried a few more delectable items.

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Pineapple fried rice – 50 baht. The girl made it quite spicy for us but the pineapple really balances it out to give that spicy-sweet combination that Emilio loves. Plus, we learned that Thai people eat pineapple after their meals to get rid of that overly full feeling – so why not eat it as you go?

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Tempura prawns – 50 baht. To me, this isn’t Thai-specific (the Japanese in me totally wants to claim tempura) but the girl who served these does them right! The batter is pretty thick, but is fried to a perfect crisp and has great texture and taste. I tend to pick off batter a little when I eat, but I think Emilio was licking the crumbs from the plate he liked it so much. It was served, of course, with chili garlic sauce.

And I am about to post three pictures of the same thing, but only because it was that good..

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OMG. Chicken on a stick – 50 baht. I don’t know what this meat was marinated in, but it was cooked in between a large pair of ohashi right in the grill in front of us. Amazing!

And what’s even more amazing? Street food here is probably the original good truck as we know them.

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If you look at the cart carefully behind Emilio, you will notice that attached to the street food cart is a motor bike. At the end of the night, they pack all their gear into the cart and drive it away – its all attached to their bike. Ingenious!

Why can’t the States have food carts like this?!

Thai Cooking Class

28 Sep

As we planned our trip, I already knew that eating in Thailand would be my favorite. There is still fish sauce in practically everything (my cooking class instructor said if you have cooking oil, oyster sauce, and fish sauce, you can make Thai food), but oh man, there are Thai chilies also and I love spicy!

I went to the Siam Cuisine Thai Cookery School for my cooking class. It was 1200 baht (just under $40 – and significantly higher than Vietnam and Cambodia!) for one one person, which is quite expensive, but I cooked a six course meal and the class was easily my favorite of the three I have now taken. The instructor was very informative – explaining even the little things like Thai food revolves around four tastes – salty, sour, sweet, and bitter. And we also smelled and discussed all the different produce we would be using.

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For my six course meal, we cooked two at a time and then ate. This was helpful because I was ridiculously full!

The first two were what I think everyone considers a Thai classic, Pad Thai, and chicken in coconut milk soup.

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Pad Thai in the works!

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Tasting as I go – everyone thought I was crazy because I added five chiles! This was pretty delicious, if I do say so myself. It had chicken, mushroom, tomato, and onions simmered in coconut milk with the chiles, fish sauce, lemongrass, ginger, and chicken stock.

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Completed dishes!

For the second round of eating and cooking, we made…

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Mango sticky rice topped with peanuts.

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Seafood salad. Not my favorite. It had prawns, squid, celery, and jelly mushrooms but the sauce was basically fish sauce, lime, chiles, and sugar.

And the last, but easily my favorite, round of eating…

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Chicken with cashew nut. Delicious! Emilio’s favorite Thai dish to order (beside Pad Thai) and one that I feel he will be asking me to make quite often.

And my favorite – green curry. Making this curry paste is a lot of work. It has several ingredients and you have to grind it into a paste, which makes my weak arms very tired! I plan on making a big batch of this when I get home because it stores for months in the fridge and even longer in the freezer.

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Not quite the texture yet – but I needed a break!

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Thai green curry. I have tried to make this several times before and could never get it right – now I think I finally nailed it?

And you may have been asking, where is Emilio?

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Here he is! He didn’t cook (really, like he ever does at home anyway). The class was a few hours so I thought he might be bored but he was camera man for all the people in the class and really, it just means he got to eat everything I cooked and get excited to eat more of it at home!

Overall, an awesome experience. I am excited to recreate Thai food at home.

Muay Thai

26 Sep

Muay Thai is a Thai style of fighting that is a killer workout. We trained for two hours and our bodies are gloriously sore. Muay Thai uses punching, elbowing, kneeing, and kicking (or at least that’s what I was shown so far).

Training started at 8am with a 15 minute jump rope warm up. What happened to jump rope being a recess playtime activity? I kicked ass at it in fourth grade. Now, it kicked my ass. We were both dripping in sweat five minutes in. Remind me to buy a jump rope and include it in my workouts at home.

We then did various exercises like I already mentioned — getting in the ring with the trainer and getting our hands wrapped and putting on our gloves to learn punching and elbowing, along with how to knee and kick. It was so much fun. Admittedly, all this was so new to me because I have obviously never fought before. But, the trainers knew this and were totally patient as I stumbled every time I tried to kick.

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Now, though, if someone ever kicks me – watch me grab your leg and drag you around!

And look at my mascota Рchingón!

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Um, isn’t my boyfriend freaking sexy?

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Our trainers were awesome. When I told one of them that we were from the States, he goes, “oh, America….I like Obama!” Me too, dude.

We treated ourselves to $6/hour Thai massages (which is a lot of stretching, pulling, and pressure on your muscles) and had to do a full stretch session this morning because oh boy, can we feel it!

I can’t wait to go train again tomorrow. I might even have to find a Muay Thai gym at home. It was that fun.

Street food in Krabi – Part 1

26 Sep

When we first arrived in Krabi, it had been about 24 hours since we had slept in a bed or ate a real meal. We were dirty, hungry, and exhausted from long bus rides, missed connections, and people ripping us off.

After we had missed the connection to Krabi in Bangkok, we had to stay the night there. Then the terrible tiger experience – where in addition to everything I already said about that, the guide promised up and down we would be back by 7PM to catch the last train at 8PM to Krabi. When we were just sitting around and not leaving for the ride back to Bangkok, the guy swore that there were buses every hour to Krabi. Lie. We got to the bus station at 7:50 and the bus was full. We could either bus to Surat Thani (about 2-3 hours from Krabi ) or stay another night in Bangkok. We chose to get as close as we could. And this bus ride was great – comfortable ride, a/c, water bottles, muffins, and a blanket. This was just under 1000 baht for both of us (about $30). Then at 5AM, we arrived in Surat Thani and fell in another trap.

There was a guy waiting at the bus door asking where we were going. Then, he said he would take us to catch the bus to Krabi. This seemed maybe logical since there are several bus stations in Bangkok depending on the location you’re going. But, here, lies. The guy charged us 300 baht ($10) to drive us 10 minutes to a freaking tourist agency – NOT a bus station. There, there was only one rickety LOCAL bus option to Krabi. We were totally stuck. This bus ride cost us 500 baht for a three hour ride that stopped every 10-15 minutes because it was a local bus. TERRIBLE.

Lesson learned? Stay at the real bus station.

But…once we arrived in Krabi, the food made up for it all. Our first meal was inside a restaurant and cost about 600 baht. The beer here is 100 baht – that’s like 3 bucks. Waaaaaay more than 50 cent veers in Siem Reap. Oh, Cambodia.

Then, we discovered the delicious, cheap street food. OMG.

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There are all kinds of things on sticks. Corn, chicken, whole fish….plus prawn tempura, spring rolls, and the yumminess continues.

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We got some spring rolls. 50 baht.

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Thai curry with chicken. 50 baht.

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Thai iced tea. 20 baht.

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And for dessert? Pancakes. Not your American pancakes though – these are made from rice flour, are super thin, and fry to a delicious crisp. This one had banana and nutella. I hope to try a different kind each night. Delicious!

Eating in Thailand rocks my socks.

Tiger Temple – Caution: This isn’t awesome

26 Sep

When we first started planning our trip to Thailand, I heard about tigers that have been rescued and trained by monks that you can go visit. Pet a tiger? That sounds amazing.

The boyfriend did some research and read some websites where people commented that it seemed the tigers were drugged. This sounded like a bummer and made us weary of going. Trained by monks is different than drugged up. But in Saigon, we met a couple from NYC who said it was the best thing they did in Thailand and my spirits were raised again about the prospect of petting tigers.

On our way to Southern Thailand, we missed the connecting bus to Krabi, so we had a night/day in Bangkok to spend….so off we went to the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi. It was 600 Baht to get in – which is about $18.

I am struggling to write this blog because of the excitement I had for it but let me say this before the pictures:

If you visit Thailand, DON’T GO TO THE TIGER TEMPLE! It is tempting, I know. The allure of tame tigers is hard to resist. I fell for it. But I hope anyone that reads this, doesn’t.

So, yes, here are pictures of us petting tigers:

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But, seriously? Thousands if tourists pet and pose with these tigers and they just sleep through it all? That’s what we were told – they were “napping.” I am sorry, but once there, I remembered that oh yeah, tigers are hunters! I am pretty sure, “napping” or not, they would be a little more alert. Plus, notice the huge chains around their neck.

Even more so the workers did not treat these animals very well. We saw one worker spraying a tiger down with a water bottle as a joke. The tiger barely responded. In another section, we saw a tiger sleeping in his “sanctuary,” and the worker poked him with a broom to lock him in another cage. And rescue sanctuary?

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I think not.

I did see some tame deer though. All around the “sanctuary” were cattle, hogs, and deer.

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Overall, a really depressing experience. Did I mention we didn’t see a single monk? I felt guilty that we had paid money to continue supporting this. I honestly think the tigers would be better off in a zoo. Please don’t let the pictures fool you – this is NOT something I would ever do again or recommend to anyone. Total stupid tourist trap (for dumb-dumbs like me).