As written in the entry below, ‘A Roi’ means delicious in Thai. I’ve been chanting that phrase everyday in Thailand. (A-roi, a-roi, a-rooii…)The food and snacks are celestial to my palate. Thailand is simply a foodie’s paradise! Simply A-Roi!
Here’s a brief record of what I’ve put into my stomach in a week in Thailand.
Dinner…The most sumptuous meal of the day and I’m aware of my expanding waistline thank you very much. I’ll describe my Thai dinners chronologically in this report.
On Day 1 and Day 4, we went to a restaurant famous for its savoury fish head steamboat for dinner. The fish head is rich with fat and the soup is flavoured with fried anchovies and pepper. There’s also deep fried mussel omelette, crispy on the outside and all gooey and chewy inside.
The 2-storey restaurant with its scrumptious fish head steamboat
Blue plate: Braised duck meat, Brown plate: Stir-fried morning glory,
Pink plate: Crab leg fritters, Fish head steam boat, Deep fried mussel omelette
On Day 3, at Korat, we went to a large eatery by the road side for some rice porridge. The porridge has a sweet barley fragrance with the rice grains still intact. It went well with the braised preserved vegetables, stewed for hours in pork broth until its soft and tasty. Bamboo shoots with straw mushrooms were also cooked in this manner. We also had a soup made of bittergourd stuffed with minced pork. The stuffed bittergourd is as large as my fist and so soft, that it can be cut easily with a spoon.
My dad wanted to order the artery-clogging salted egg yolks sprinkled with crispy bits of deep fried pork fat. We were served preserved duck egg salad instead. The black gelatinous egg white (uh, which is black) is springy while the creamy ink-black yolk just oozes. The egg slices are nestled among freshly sliced onions, red chillies and crunchy cashews, bathed in a tangy lemon juice dressing.
On Day 5, we went to a restaurant in a bar district. I tried deep fried pork intestines for the 1st time. Crispy on the outside and chewy in the inside. It’s damn delicious!
Deep-fried pork intestine
Dad’s friends also ordered grilled scallops, a crab, stir-fried kale and bittergourd(ゴーヤ) soup. It’s so good, you can see how happy Master Yo is. Just look at him grinning from ear to ear.
On Day 6, we stopped for dinner on our way back to Bangkok after visiting the fortune-telling monk. We had some tasty pork mince omelette, kale, steamed fish and prawn fritters. The highlight of the meal was the fishball steamboat and the deep fried cottonfish.
Minced pork ball, pinched fishball and egg tofu soup (with crystal vermicelli)
Deep fried cottonfish covered in mango strips and pork mince omellete
Tapioca balls, nata de coco and water chestnut in syrup and ice
The fishball is pinched in the middle and it’s so springy that when it rolled off my chopsticks, it bounced on the table.Boing! The deep fried cottonfish is crispy and the meat is as soft as… cotton. The tangy mango strips were crunchy and refreshing, which complemented the deep-fried fish very well.
Here, I’ll pick out my 2 most memorable lunches. One, at On’s stall in Korat and two, our last lunch in Thailand.
When my dad was a monk, he was fed by On, a villager in the area. My dad liked porridge and On usually cooks porridge every morning for my dad. On and his family operate a stall by the roadside selling rice noodles and rice meals.
On’s stall with a tray of fried chicken on the left
From left: On’s elder daughter and her husband, On’s youngest daughter,dad,On’s wife, On and driver To
On’s signature rice noodles and driver To (he’s already 51 and yet…)
On’s very clever pet dog
On’s fried chicken : 100% organic
Village life could not be more authentic than this.There were fat flies buzzing all over and chickens pecking about, as On’s wife piled the table with plates of steaming food.
There’s a large tray of On’s signature fried chicken, fried pork and fried sausages. The chicken skin is crispy,red with spice powder and when you sink your teeth in, the juices just spurt into your mouth. (*´∀`*)
The sausages are sweetened with spices and mind-blowingly juicy too.
There’s also chicken soup with blood curd, carrots, mushrooms and turnip. Curdled blood is made of chicken or pig blood and is highly nutritious. It has the texture of tofu and does not taste or smell bloody at all. Shame that it’s no longer found in S’pore. People should be more adventurous and impartial with food.
Rice , salted eggs , chicken soup with blood curd and vegetables , minced pork soup with cabbage and egg tofu , a tray of fried chicken, pork and sausages
And for dessert, On served us a plate of khanom saisai and a tray of lychees and langsart. I am adventurous when it comes to food and I headed straight for the khanom saisai. Removing the toothpick that held the leaves together, I uncovered a wonderful surprise hidden within the tiny parcel of leaves. Inside the parcel sits a piece of black glutinous rice cake(黒いモチ) covered in smooth white coconut pudding. And within the black glutinous rice cake is a generous filling of coconut, soaked in brown palm sugar syrup.
Sweet tangy langsarts, plump juicy lychees and khanom saisai
My dad was stunned because he always thought it’s slimy, ultra sweet banana covered in coconut pudding. On used to serve the parcels when my dad was a monk and my dad didn’t even try to open them up once.
Dad: Hoy! This looks scrumptious. 他妈的! (Means ‘goddamn’ in Chinese)
Me: Didn’t you eat this when you were a monk back then?
Dad: Aiyar… On always brings this to the temple for me but I didn’t open it to see.(regretfully)
Me: Now you know.
And in total, he finished 3 remaining parcels of khanom saisai later in the day, compensating for the numerous khanom saisai he had rejected in his years of monkhood.
So, moving on… …
On our last day, we had lunch at a large eatery in Bangkok that serves mainly braised goose and other Thai-Chinese dishes. We ordered a large bowl of bittergourd(ゴーヤー) soup, braised goose with goose kidney and blood curd, huge pork buns, deep fried pork rolls, kale in oyster sauce and prawn fritters.
Bittergourd(ゴーヤー) and pork ribs soup which we always ordered in Thailand
The steaming buns arrived first and my dad tore one half of a bun for me. The inner skin of the fluffy bun is soaked with the meat juices and in the center of the meat filling is the yolk from a salted egg. When I put it in my mouth, I tasted heaven. (´∀`) A Roi!
Pork bun and behind, a plate of braised goose
I insisted on a plate of fried pork rolls. These are a Thai version of pork croquettes. Seasoned minced pork is mixed with mushrooms, shrimp and vegetables; and the rolls are fried to a golden crisp. These pork rolls are usually eaten by dipping them in sweet orange sauce. When I sink my teeth in, there’s a crunch and then a juicy burst of pork and shrimp filled my mouth. It’s gastronomical orgasm man….
Fried pork rolls with preserved vegetables and orange sauce on the side
The juicy insides of the pork roll. There’s shrimp, mushroms, leek, onion, carrot, turnip and pork
When we’re on the road, it is important to have some snacks to keep hunger and boredom at bay. The Thais are masters when it comes to making titbits. They’re the ones who coated nuts with crunchy coconut cream and invented the durian chip. Yes, the durian version of the potato chip.
Ajahn Heng said “A Roi” and monks never lie. I couldn’t stop munching. The chips don’t smell of durian and there’s a light, sweet aftertaste. Everyone can eat this!
Durian chips: light and crunchy
I got a bit thirsty and the sun was blazing at a rest stop near Bangkok. We got ourselves some grass jelly drink with crushed ice to refresh ourselves. The grass jelly strips are much thicker than the miserable hairthin strands in S’pore.
Grass jelly drink. I sucked and sucked and …
Fruits are another way to cool off and Ajahn Heng’s tangerines and rose apples really are a life-saver. Thailand’s rose apples are huge, red and has a slight sweetness. When you bite into one, there’s a シャクシャク sound and the juice starts to drip down your chin. The best part is, there is only a sweet cottony core and no seeds to for you spit out. Thailand also produces green tangerines. They are easy to peel and they have a light sweetness. Somewhat close to the taste of a mandarin orange or yuzu.
Thailand’s famous rose apple
Thailand’s green tangerines
And when we got peckish on the road after Patchong, we stopped at a roadside stall that sells corn. Nothing beats a juicy cob of steamed sweetcorn. Like the rose apple, corn juice was dripping down our chins.
Corn seller taking out the steaming corn
Sweetcorn steamed with a little salt and water. Hot to hold but nice to eat
Back in Bangkok, there are little stalls selling crispy pancakes drizzled with condensed milk and showered with coconut shreds.
Crispy pancakes with palm-sugared coconut (left) and raisins (right)
Crispy pancake with raisins, coconut and condensed milk
And when I needed to maintain my digestive prowess, I head to the nearest 7-11 (it’s everywhere!) for a yoghurt drink. There are lots of yoghurt products to choose from. Thailand has farms that produce milk for export. The most well-known is Meiji-CP which we can find in the supermarkets in S’pore.
There, it says “Drinking yoghurt “… but the ingredients are written in Thai
This big-sized Yakult imitation is not sold here and I wonder why… … Burp.