Friday, February 17, 2012

The food post

We eat cheap. Still, as we've gotten older we're eating more often at more upscale places like where the seats have backs; but often it's still plastic

stools, standing on the sidewalk, or the floor of the guesthouse or hotel. It's hard to find better food or have a better time. What could be better than this (Photo at left)... In our Bangkok hotel room - The Ultimate food - mango and sweet sticky rice with coconut milk, and in this case, some mangosteen!

All the food photos are here. Or just keep reading for descriptions and some photos.

We've broken the Asian food court code. These food courts aren't remotely like what Americans think of as food courts – no franchises, just vast amountsof totally ethnic, totally cheap, and really good food. Yesterday, for example, we ate at Big C, a middle-class mall in Bangkok: First, we got some masaman (Muslim) curry and sticky rice at the back of the grocery and some jackfruit. We went up to the food court (aircon, seats with backs, hot water to rinse utensils before using, all the right stuff), where we got larb (fine-chopped chicken, chillies, lime juice lemon grass, fish sauce) and rice. All this was about 100 baht or a little more than $3USD. Today we had green curry with rice, pad se eu (flat noodles with pork and vegetable), fried shrimp, and jackfruit for dessert – again, about 100 baht. So this post is all about the amazing food we had on this trip. ****means Hall of Fame; everything else was excellent to good.

Fruit in various places: Jackfruit, mango (really amazing mangos), mangosteen,

pineapple, papaya, banana (not the same as American supermarket banana), watermelon, rambutan, lychee, pomelo, and mixed fruit smoothie

Photo: Food alley in Hanoi

Hong Kong: Our goal in HK is to have all the duck and pork we want, all the dim sum we want, and all the brilliant shrimp wonton noodle soup we can eat – big wonton dumplings with the best shrimp everDim sum from a street stand in Mong Kok, including hargow (steamed shrimp dumplings),

sui mai (steamed pork dumplings), steamed BBQ pork buns, fried curried chicken rolls, steamed pork with black beans and chillis, stuffed fried dumplings

Roast pork with rice and vegetable

BBQ duck with rice and vegetable

Indian food, including curry, samosas, naan, pickles

Ham and egg sandwiches at Cherikoff Bakery or 7-11 (7-11 not the same as in U.S. - way cheaper).

****Shrimp wonton noodle soup almost every day at Tsim Sha Kee – the shrimp here have a wild taste, unlike the bland shrimp we get in the US – and vegetable with oyster sauce

Chicken tikka masala, naan,

pakoras, vegetable samosas, and milk tea in a hallway at the Chungking Mansions

Photo above: Binh Thanh Market food court; photo left: bun cha

Vietnam: Porkarama! Vietnam is the place where pork, especially grilled, reaches a pinnacle of porkdom.

****Banh cuon (steamed big crepe with pork, vegetables, served with herbs,

fish sauce, and massive amounts of smashed fresh garlic in vinegar)

Photo: That's the banh cuon lady in her little queendom; following photo is the banh cuon served with fish sauce, garlic, chillies, herbs, and nem.

Nem (like egg roll but all meat)

Banh xeo (like a big crepe with shrimp, pork, vegetables)

Bun bo Hue (spicy beef stew with noodle)

Bun thit nuong (grilled pork on cool noodles and vegetables)

Nem nuong (grilled pork wit

h sauce and vegetables)

****Grilled pork chop on rice with egg and vegetables; always with strong iced coffee

The coffee!!! - $.50 for large iced strong

Banana pancakes

French fries

Noodles with vegetables, chillies, and garlic

Fried bread stuffed with shrimp

Cha gio

Garlic bread

Omelet with baguette

Photo: The people who make roti in Chiang Mai

Banh khoai – kind of like a fried pancake folded over pork and

shrimp – cut it into strips and wrap them into rice paper with steamed bean sprouts, cucumbers, lettuce and dipped into nuoc mam-based peanut sauce.

Chicken fried with garlic and chillies

Fried dumplings, one stuffed with

yellow bean and some coconut and the other a "salty mystery mix" including meat

Photo: Part of the food area in the "walking market" in Chiang Mai

Cambodia: Most of our meals were with Samnang's family – a blur of good food and good company

Various soups

Stir-fried beef, chicken

Chicken with garlic and chillies

****Raw beef salad

Red curry with noodles and baguettes

Picnic food (written by Leslie): We ended up with whole fish (1 large and 4 small) fire-roasted on skewers; chicken with ginger (every piece perfect with its fair share of bone); a whole roasted chicken; hot pot with soup, vegetables and assorted meat; lotus seeds; whole steam
ed tamarind; rice steamed in metal tubes served with sugar, cinnamon and grated coconut; other gelatinous, sweet morsels. Amazing!

Photo above: Food court food in Bangkok at Siam Paragon - Red curry, chicken with cashews, satay, larb, vegetables, rice, all kinds of sauces - about US $5 for everything

Thailand: Here is where the food fun really takes off. We experience Thai food as a brilliant melding of sharp, sweet, sour, spicy, sometimes rich, and always fresh. Fish sauce with chillies and some variation on lime and ugar is part of almost every meal; other sauces usually available.

Photo below: Khao soi stand - serve yourself to vegetables

****Mango with sticky rice and coconut milk -

I had this every day in Thailand

Red curry with steamed rice

Green curry with steamed rice and lots of herbs, etc.

Panang curry with steamed rice, cucumbers

****“Meat curried in sweet peanut” - turned out to be masaman or Muslim curry – this was from the Big C grocery store, served in a plastic container, 39 baht. We took this + some unsweetened sticky rice up to the food court where we also got some larb and steamed rice and various fish sauces. Finished the meal with jackfruit.

Photo below: Meal at Big C food court - pad se eu, green curry, fried shrimp - US$3 for all

****Khao soi (red curry soup with noodles, crispy things, chicken and various vegetables

Jungle curry, which was okay – red curry soup with a lot of different vegetables

Satay (chicken, pork, beef in various marinades)

Grilled chicken, grilled sweet beef

Pad se eu (fried noodles with chicken or pork and egg and vegetable)

Spicy fried noodle with pork

Chiang Mai sausage – grilled, spicy, with lots of cilantro

Rice with chicken, Chinese sausage,
ground chilli paste, egg

Ground chicken with chillies and peanuts

Ground pork with chillies

Photo: Pad Thai street stand - 45baht for pad Thai with shrimp - good!

Tom ka (spicy coconut soup with chicken)

Tom yum (very spicy clear soup with shrimp)

****Larb, chicken and pork

Fish cakes, fried (this was just okay)

Sticky rice, sweet, flavored with fruit

Peanuts with garlic, lemon grass, citrus leaf

Photo: Entrance to a lane in Chinatown - ladies are cooking it up!

Northern Thailand sampler plate, including Chiang Mai sausage, eggplant and chillies, fried sour sausage, steamed vegetables, pork roll, pork crackling

Banana roti from the Muslim couple who set up a stand every night outside a wat

French fries

Pad Thai

Som (papaya salad with green beans, lime, tomatoes, etc. with dried shrimp – [the ones with little beady black eyes]; also with crab)

All sorts of vegetarian breakfast things at the Lanna House in Chiang Mai, like noodle, soup, pizza, pineapple, watermelon, banana

Photo: Rice with two things place in Chiang Mai - 30 baht!!! (US$1)


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