June 27, 2010 § 6 Comments
I’m sort of nervous about having returned from France, where regular writing on this blog actually took off, and now trying to blog about food experiences at home. For one, I don’t have free reign in my kitchen in Bangkok. And though I am constantly out and about having food adventures on pretty much every weeknight and weekend, are they going to interest you as much as French food adventures?
Then again, I am, of all things, a food writer in this city, and it is, of all places, BANGKOK. Sights like these happen ten times a minute. The above is a famed khao kaeng (rice and curry) stall in Klong Toey market. Most khao kaeng stalls have ten or twelve offerings tops, but this one is staggering. A plate of rice and a ladle of one or two curries on top are B35 (just over $1), and if you come after 5pm, when they’re looking to start closing up, the same will cost you B10, and I can’t even do the math for the dollar amount.
I don’t know the name of this fish, but a lady grills them up in large batches on the side of the street where my apartment building is. They are salt-crusted and stuffed with what looks like pandanus or betel leaves and probably some other herbs. I’m also very impressed by the low-key grilling apparati used by street stall cooks. It’s very DIY and very smokey, making the meat very charred and smokey, something you probably can never get in a home kitchen smokeless grill. I must investigate this dish further on my next traipse around the neighborhood. In fact, I’m in the process of devising a systematic plan to master all the culinary offerings of Bangkok streets. More on that soon.
June 20, 2010 § 3 Comments
I’ve been back from France for over two weeks now, and have been swept up in an on-again-off-again cold, my birthday (!!!) celebrations and back-to-work malaise (then bliss, then malaise), hence the long gap between my last post and this one. Since I’ve been back, already a million food and drink adventures have happened, but before I get into any of that, I should say something about my week in Paris at the beginning of June.
Not to over-romanticize or anything. It did rain the whole time we, my pal Amitha and I, were there, and tourist high season was just beginning, and it was impossible to know ahead of time if we were headed for a disappointing meal or an earth-shattering one. But all in all, Paris was wonderful, breathtaking at times, and I ate some amazing things and met some amazing people.
On our first night in Paris, in a rush to make the most of the extended Friday night hours at the Louvre, we got a quick (and very filling) dinner on the street. Not the most traditionally Parisien meal in the world (although that’s not really true anymore), the sandwich doner kebab is ubiquitous — essentially shawarma, hot and very thinly sliced into a tall heap, stuffed into a pita (or a baguette) with the most consistently well-made fries ever, crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, not at all greasy. I ate a lot of these, and didn’t feel guilty in the least. The one above was eaten sitting cross-legged at the Pont des Arts, across from the Louvre, watching babes go by, wishing I had a beer to wash it down with.