Category Archives: Travel

Thai Coconuts – What More Could You Want?

Thai Coconuts – What More Could You Want?

Abstract: There are so many uses for coconuts. Building on some interesting basics about coconuts, this article touches on many delicious uses of coconuts in Thai food, as well as some cultural context. Some key health benefits as well as many non-food uses are also outlined.

Coconuts are the seeds that grow coconut trees. Given time, a coconut will sprout and take root. The juice and flesh of the coconut provide water and fertilizer to grow the young new tree. Coconut trees are grown throughout Thailand on raised beds with irrigation canals on each side. In some places, trained monkeys even harvest the coconuts. Coconuts provide juice to drink, flesh for eating or for making coconut milk, and play a role in many non-food items as well.

Coconut trees are treated as propitious in Thailand. They are often included in gardens along with other trees that include the word “ma” – for example, ma muang (mango), ma la gor (papaya) and ma prao (coconut) – to bring good luck and basic prosperity. Oil from coconuts is produced by first drying the flesh for several weeks and then pressing it. Sugar is made from sap of the seed pods of the coconut. Sap is boiled and set, and a light brown sugar (palm sugar) results.

Fresh coconut milk is widespread in Thailand. Thais often buy it freshly pressed (the first pressing yields creamy coconut milk, the second is more like water with nutrients). Coconuts are sometimes roasted which concentrates the sugar to make the flavor sweeter. Coconut milk is used in some Thai soups and curry dishes (such as green curry, massaman and panaeng curry) and can be a key ingredient in harmonizing a tasty flavor and consistency.

Coconut milk is used to make the sauce poured on mango with sticky rice. It is also used with black sticky rice desserts. In Thailand, one also often finds for dessert what appears like a buffet choice: many containers gathered together of freshly prepared fruits as well as items like lotus seeds or corn. The customer selects from some of the containers and these are put together over crushed ice and a fairly sweet liquid containing coconut milk. Speaking of desserts, another favorite is coconut ice cream – contrasted with making it from dairy products, a delicious version can also be found which is made from coconut milk and cream. It is slightly icy and some versions include small pieces of sweet coconut meat. Some Thai restaurants in the US have this. And of course on cooking, second best to fresh coconut milk is canned coconut milk.

In Thailand, one can also buy young coconut from stands on the street where the vendor will chop open the coconut for you and you can enjoy the fresh coconut and juice. There are a variety of other tasty snacks and appetizers as well. There are many examples of Thai food with coconut, which combine potential health benefits with enjoyable snacks and dishes. Coconut contains substances such as lauric acid known for benefits such as anti-microbial effects. Two other positives are that coconut oil does not contain trans fatty acids, and most of its saturated fat consists of medium-chain fatty acids rather than long-chain, which means it gets digested and used more easily and is less likely to be stored long-term as fat.

Interestingly, the fat and oil of coconuts contain many beneficial aspects. In addition to antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal functions associated with lauric acid, natural coconut fat helps normalize body lipids, protects against liver damage, and perhaps most importantly, improves the immune system’s anti-inflammatory response. Good saturated fats also contain micronutrients and vitamins that are vital to metabolism. Coconut milk helps balance cholesterol and metabolism, and provides valuable fatty acids. The positive aspects of coconut and palm oil generally are likely part of the reason Thais have such a low rate of heart disease.

There are non-food uses from the coconut tree as well. Dried shells are used in making kitchen utensils such as spoons, as well as other household items such as lamps. Some musical instruments are also made with the shells. The fibrous outer layer of the coconut is also used for fuel as well as roofs. It is also a component for cosmetics and soaps.

Thai medicine also makes use of the coconut (tree, leaf, shell, juice). To conclude, suffice it to say there are a rich variety of food and non-food uses for coconuts!

Finding the Perfect Beach in Phuket Thailand

Finding the Perfect Beach in Phuket Thailand

Some of the world’s most unforgettable beach holidays happen here, whether vacationing alone, with friends, family, or if you’re honeymooning. When someone hears Phuket, it is immediately associated with spectacular sandy stretches. But when in Phuket, where exactly do you go to enjoy the postcard-perfect beach, or the beach that suit your vibe?

If the object of your Phuket visit is to find out just how alive or vibrant beach life can be in this part of the world, Patong Beach should be your first destination of choice. By the sheer number of visitors to this beach, you can say it’s the most popular in Phuket. This is a busy and crowd-friendly beach, and nightlife here is electrifying as most would describe. If you don’t mind the crowd, and if part of your goal is to enjoy crystal clear water and white sand, this is the beach for you. Patong, itself is pretty convenient for vacationers as it offers a plethora of hotel and restaurant options. Even the shoppers and diners will find the area to be a perfect respite to a day on the beach. Its shopping center is something you should check out. You might just find something that will fascinate you and be a perfect gift for those back home..

For a long lazy walk on the beach and the enjoyment of plenty of space, Karon Beach is a great choice. Despite being the second longest beach in Phuket, Karon is not as crowded as its neighbor Patong. It exudes a more laidback atmosphere. The nice thing about spending time at Karon Beach is you usually have a vast personal space even while finding comfort in the presence of other tourists, who are also seeking a more serene environment. The beautiful water is intensely inviting too. You’ll also find that Karon has a pretty decent number of restaurants and pubs. Nightlife here is low key. The kind you probably like if you’re not into the huge party crowd but would still want to enjoy a few drinks.

If you feel Karon Beach is still pretty crowded, head to Phuket’s secret beach – Banana Beach. With its palm trees, clear blue shallow water ideal for swimming, and exceptional sand, this beach is just going to blow you away. Banana Beach is also a popular snorkeling spot. It’s not totally without people around but it is not as explored or visited by many. Perhaps, this is due to its more isolated located. Unlike in Patong and in Karon where you can easily have access to a number of restaurants, including the western chains; at Banana Beach, choices are more limited. Some visitors even opt to just bring packed meals and eat them under a coconut tree.

If the secret beach, with its charm and just a handful people even during the peak season, still doesn’t prove peaceful enough for you, try the deserted beach Haad Sai Kaew. Here you will most likely have the beach all to yourself. After your much needed time alone, head to one of the thatched roof open cottages to satisfy your hunger. There’s just no better way to cap a solitary walk or swim on a gorgeous beach than feasting on a nice fresh seafood meal!

Whichever type of beach person you are, Phuket has one that’s perfect for you!

Why Phi Phi Island in Thailand is considered the heaven on the earth?

Why Phi Phi Island in Thailand is considered the heaven on the earth?

What makes Phi Phi island a heaven on earth is that it is free from the hustle bustle of the busy lives that we usually encounter. Phi Phi Leh islands are entirely free from human inhabitants. Phi Phi Don lacks roads and you wouldn’t get lost in the maddening crowd. You can explore the place on your own which is one of its kind experiences. Located in the AndamanSea, Phi Phi Islands offer the best things for the visitors to explore. This stunning island that is second to none offers impeccable choices when it comes to the activities and the tours. You always have something or the other to indulge in Phi Phi islands. The crystal clear waters, lush green vegetation and the white sand powder on the beaches transforms Phi Phi islands into a heaven on Earth. The Maya Bay is a hot spot on the Phi Phi islands. The back end of the beach has a small terrace that offers a breathtaking view point of the Loh Sama which is famous for snorkeling. The Viking Cave is yet another attraction in the Phi Phi Islands. This cave features ancient paintings and the tourists learn how to capture swifts live in the cave through the aid of local fishermen. The Koi Phi Phi Don is a main village and is renowned for its unusual shape. Shaped like the alphabet “H”, this village is covered with jungle and features two mountains as the vertical bars of the alphabet. This village has a setting of a picture post card which is bound to enchant the visitors. This village is a Mecca for the photographers. The Pirate Island Adventures in the Phi Phi Island is one of its kinds. It is one of the popular attractions on this island and features a shop house that resembles a pirate ship wreck. The visitors have the option to enjoy the electronic shooting range with muskets and pistols. This attraction as well features rides and a 5D motion theater. The adults and the children are bound to have fun in the haunted house that sprawls over 250 square kilometers. If you love diving, then Phi Phi Islands wouldn’t disappoint you. Professional and serious dive centers offer dispensing courses to the visitors around and in the Phi Phi waters. The Anemone Reef, King Cruiser Wreck and the Shark Point are the most notable dive sites in the Phi Phi islands. The shark watching tours are quite popular and done in small groups. Snorkeling equipment under the guidance of professionals are offered to the visitors offering educational yet exciting experience to carry home with.

If you love shopping, then Phi Phi islands offer you the best experiences. You can find most of the interesting items for purchase on these islands. Although the number of stores is few, they offer a lot of souvenirs and original articles for sale. You would be able find unusual gifts to take back home in the Phi Phi stores. Get a glimpse of the life of the islanders by visiting the Phi Phi market. You can check out the exotic vegetables, fruits and seafood that grow on Phi Phi. The tropical jungles and the azure waters of the Phi Phi islands would leave you speechless. Explore the wildlife, cruise in a long tail, unravel the mysteries of the prehistoric cave paintings and a lot more while you are at the Phi Phi Islands

Adventure and adrenaline in Thailand

Adventure and adrenaline in Thailand
Over the past few years Thailand has gained a reputation for its incredible range of adventure activities, with testosterone-fuelled highs around every corner. You don’t need to be super-fit to join in and you usually don’t require special training. Any budding Indiana Jones can stomp through jungle paths to meet remote ethnic groups while Easy Riders can bike around looping roads surrounded by swooping mountain ranges. Here is a list of the top places in Thailand for thrill-seekers to get their fix.

Kayaking and rafting

Thailand’s rivers and seas are the perfect places for some paddle power. Kayaking trips often venture inside caves glittering with stalactites and stalagmites, visit limestone islands or pass through mangrove forests. Many companies run trips around Krabi and Phuket while in Kanchanaburi you can power your way along the famous River Kwai.Some of the country’s wildest and wettest white-water rafting can be found in the north and west of the country. In Chiang Mai, for example, you can take on the fierce Mae Taeng River, which has grade three and four rapids, with Siam Rivers outfitters.

Yachting

For more upmarket adventure, learn how to sail your own yacht. Sailing Thailand runs courses around Phuket for those who wish to learn the ropes through to those who want to race. Phuket also has some reasonable rips for surfers, while kiteboarding is starting to take off, literally, in Ko Samui and Hua Hin.

Diving and snorkelling

Peer into the crystal-blue seas that surround Thailand’s 3,200km (20,000mi) of coastline and a whole new watery world appears. Snorkelling is the simplest option and nearly every island runs day-trips out to nearby coral reefs. All you need to do is grab a mask, pull on some fins and jump in.To get a closer look at the range of marine life, scuba diving in Thailand is an incredible experience. Day-trips typically include at least two dives, or you can join a liveaboard and spend several days diving.The best places to plunge are on the west coast, which includes the Similan Islands. Set in the Andaman Sea, these islands are rated among the top dive sites anywhere in the world. Along with red and purple soft corals, the marine life includes yellow boxfish, triggerfish and octopus.Ko Tao is one of the most popular places to learn to dive, thanks to its shallow waters and abundance of coral. Dive centres run courses that will teach you the basics in a few days, and after that the undersea world is your oyster. Hin Daeng (Red Rock) and Hin Muang (Purple Rock) are remote sites that are off Ko Lanta but are worth seeking out as sightings of manta rays and whale sharks are common.The best time to dive is from November to April, when the waters are at their clearest.

Ziplining

Think you’d make a great Tarzan? Then check out the high-flying, high-speed jungle adventures in the heart of Thailand’s stunning countryside.Several resorts in Kanchanaburi have specially built courses that offer visitors the chance to fly from tree to tree while attached to 500m (1640ft) ziplines, then scramble across rope bridges and over spider nets while surrounded by dense jungle. Tree Top Asia runs a Flight of the Gibbon experience that includes up to 26 platforms stretching over 3km that lets thrill-seekers whizz, crawl, fly and swing through the forest canopy. It has bases near Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Flying

If ziplining isn’t enough altitude for you, learn to fly at the Nok Aviation Flying Club near Chiang Mai or try a spot of hang-gliding and paragliding in the eastern province of Rayong with the Thai Gliding School.

Biking and cycling

By far the best way to see Thailand’s mountain ranges and lush countryside is to jump on a motorbike. An area to the west of Chiang Mai is known as the Mae Hong Son loop and in biker circles it is said to be one of the ultimate routes thanks to endless hairpins, corkscrew twists and awe-inspiring views.Cycling tours are also available, with the best routes running from Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi or Hua Hin. Organised trips can be arranged with companies such as Spice Roads, and these often include sleeping overnight in a homestay with villagers.

Trekking and camping

Meeting ethnic groups and experiencing life in their villages is a highlight of any trip. Trekking tours range from short strolls in a forest up to challenging stomps through thick jungle accompanied by expert guides who are often able to spot hidden creatures that you’d otherwise walk straight past.Thailand’s national parks are filled with dragon-toothed mountain peaks, tumbling waterfalls and dense vegetation. Camping out at designated sites means you are utterly immersed in nature. One of the best parks is Khao Yai in the northeast, which includes a giant monsoon forest, dozens of elephants and excellent trekking options.

Elephant riding

Riding through the jungle on the back of an elephant is a memorable, if somewhat jolting, experience. For those who want to understand Thailand’s national animal better, it’s possible to spend time training as a mahout. The Elephant Palace in Ayuthaya runs special courses that teach guests how to respect and care for the pachyderms.

Quad-biking

If you’re planning to visit Thailand’s beaches rather than its jungle, some of the more remote, rugged islands are ideal for quad-biking. Ko Samet is virtually filled with dirt tracks and so these machines are the best, and most enjoyable, way to get from beach to beach.

Rock climbing

Clambering up a rock face delivers the ultimate vertigo-enducing buzz. If you’re a beginner, head for Ko Phi Phi which has relatively simple ways up, but if you are more experienced, then Railay beach in Krabi is rock-climbing nirvana – and has one of the best beaches in Thailand. Andaman Adventure runs rock-climbing, fishing and kayaking packages around the southern islands.

Mouth-Watering Thai Desserts – The Flour

Mouth-Watering Thai Desserts – The Flour
There are many kinds of delicious Thai desserts, and the desserts use many kinds of flour. This article is gives examples of these desserts and recommends ways to use flour for each kind of dessert to arrive at the best texture and taste.
A friend of mine told me that my article, ” Mouth-Watering Thai Desserts” on August 9th, 2008, does not have information on flour used in Thai desserts. My friend was right – I mentioned flour in one of the seven main ingredients but I did not write anything about flour. Thus, continuing from the previous article on “Mouth-Watering Thai Desserts” this article will focus on flour used in Thai desserts. Taken together, these two articles give a fuller picture of Thai desserts.The following are the common flours used in Thai desserts: sticky rice flour, rice flour, cassave starch, corn starch, wheat flour, arrowroot starch and mung bean flour.
Sticky Rice Flour (แป้งข้าวเหนียว – paeng khao niaw)
Sticky rice flour is also referred to as “sweet rice powder” or “glutinous rice flour.” It is made from short-grain sticky rice that becomes moist, firm and sticky when cooked. This is due to its proportionally higher number of waxy starch molecules. With its chewy texture, sticky rice flour is a favorite base for buns and pastries. Sticky rice flour is often combined with plain rice flour to create a variety of Thai desserts.In Thailand there are 2 types of sticky rice flour: wet and dry. Wet sticky rice flour is finely milled with water, whereas dry sticky rice flour is finely milled without water. When buying sticky rice flour, choose products that have a white color and no smell or moisture.Example desserts using sticky rice flour are Paeng Jee (grilled coconut cakes), Bua Loy Benjarong (taro, pumpkin, and mung dal bean balls in coconut milk) and Khanom Thua Paep (mung bean stuffing coated with shredded coconut meat).
Rice Flour (แป้งข้าวจ้าว – paeng khao jao)
Rice flour is used to thicken various dishes and is also an important ingredient in various Thai desserts. Rice flour is a good substitute for wheat flour, in that the latter causes digestive system irritation in those who are gluten intolerant. However, rice flour should not be used or substituted in some desserts like cakes. This is because rice flour is not finely milled like cake flour, and would not yield the same quality of desserts. In Thailand, there are 3 types of rice flour:

  • rice flour made from rice older than a year – good for absorbing water,
  • rice flour made from new rice – does not absorb water as well because of its moisture, and
  • rice flour made from new rice without water – excellent at absorbing water.

Beyond the type of flour, there are many grades for each type. To buy rice flour, choose products with a white color and absence of an old smell. If you plan to make a dessert using rice flour, find flour that was finely milled so your dessert will have a smooth texture.Example desserts using rice flour are Khanom Chan (nine-layered dessert) and Khanom Thuay (coconut cakes).

Wheat Flour (แป้งสาลี – paeng sa lee)
Wheat flour is a fine white powder that has high gluten content. There are different types of wheat flour depending on the types/characteristics of wheat used and the milling process. The common wheat flours are bread flour, all purpose flour and cake flour. These 3 types of wheat flour are different in the percentage of protein contained in the flour. Bread flour has the highest percentage of protein, 12%-13%, followed by all purpose flour at 9%-10% and cake four at 6%-9%.Protein content is an important key for a buyer to know because it yields different result in cooking. High protein content means more water will be absorbed and there will be a longer mixing time to achieve optimum consistency. Thus the desserts/snacks that are chewy or sticky usually use the high protein content wheat flour.
Mung Bean Flour (แป้งถั่วเขียว – paeng tao khiaw)
Mung bean flour is made from mung beans. It is a gluten-free flour. Some brands offer a very fine texture of flour. If the flour is not finely ground, one must grind it before use to prevent lumps. Mung bean flour comes in a variety of colors depending on how much it has been precessed. When cooking mung bean flour (with water on a stove), it turns transparent. One of the most well-known uses for mung bean flour is in so-called glass/clear noodles, very fine noodles made with a highly refined form of mung bean flour. When raw, these noodles are almost transparent, and they turn completely transparent when cooked. Khanom Salim is a Thai dessert that requires mung bean flour and cannot be substituted. Khanom Salim is sweet mung bean threads in syrup with coconut milk on top. It is served cold with ice. The mung bean thread is colored with natural colors like Flower of Chitoria Tematea Linn (Dok Un Chun) yielding a blue or lac (krang) yielding a red.
Cassave Starch (แป้งมัน – paeng mun)
Cassave starch is often called tapioca starch (แป้งสาคู – paeng sa koo). It is a refined white flour which is made from cassava root. Cassave starch is very finely textured, and is a common substitute for arrowroot starch and cornstarch. Cassave starch is gluten-free and easy to digest. It is often added to gluten-free baking as a thickener. It is broadly used as a thickener for sauces, soups and desserts in Thailand. In desserts, cassave starch is almost always used in blends with other types of flour so that desserts are more soft and sticky than when using only one type of flour.
Corn Starch (แป้งข้าวโพด – paeng khao pod)
Corn starch is made from corn kernels and is finely textured. Corn starch is best dissolved in cold water. When cooking corn starch (with water on a stove), corn starch tends to form lumps. Thus, it is important to stir frequently on low heat. It is used as a thickener and used in blends with other types of flour like rice flour.
Arrowroot Starch (แป้งท้าวยายม่อม – paeng thao yay mom)
Arrowroot Starch is made from the root of the marantha arundinacea. In Thailand, arrowroot starch consists of tiny white balls that must be ground before using. However, in some brands, arrowroot starch is a fine powder just like cassave starch. Arrowroot starch is a gluten-free flour that has no identifying taste or scent. It is used as a clear thickener with any mixture or in blends with other types of flour. Its thickening power is about twice that of cassave starch. Arrowroot starch is used in many Thai desserts.Thais love desserts and they have been a part of our lives for a long time. Thai desserts cannot be perfected without attentive use of flour. For some desserts, some types of flour can be substituted for each other, but in other cases substitution is not advisable. Each type of flour has its own characteristics, which in some cases preclude substitution, depending on how they interact with the rest of the dessert. When making delicious authentic Thai desserts, it is more important to closely follow the recipe than it is for non-dessert kinds of dishes. Enjoy the many wonderful tastes and textures of Thai desserts!

Dating the Sin City of Asia

Dating the Sin City of Asia

About Bangkok

Known as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep in Thai, Bangkok is the capital city and also the most populous city of Thailand. The city is highly popular for its upscale street life, cultural landmarks, as well as the infamous notorious red-light districts. Bangkok is amongst the world’s top tourist destinations. It has been named the most visited city by various travel magazines and was named “World’s Best City” for four consecutive years by Travel + Leisure magazine. Bangkok has well established itself as an international hub for transport and health care and also has emerged as a regional center for the arts, fashion and entertainment.

Tourist Attractions

The opulent capital city of Bangkok offers so many sightseeing and touring opportunities that you will never lack for choices. The sacred and religious can savor some calm and harmony with Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew), Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), Temple of the Golden Buddha (Wat Traimit), The Golden Mount (Wat Saket), Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple), Wat Suthat, Erawan Shrine (Thao Mahaprom Shrine) and Wat Ratchanatdaram Woravihara (Loha Prasat).

The nature romantics can delight themselves with numerous scenic spots such as Chao Phraya River, Lumpini Park, King Rama IX Park, Klongs, Chatuchak Park, Benjakitti Park, Benjasiri Park, Koh Kred, Khlong Saen Saep and Sanam Luang.

For the shopaholics, Rajawongse Clothier, Chatuchak Weekend Market, Siam Paragon, Central World Plaza, Terminal 21 and Train night market are the ideal destinations.

Some of the other prominent points of interests includes BTS Skytrain, The Grand Palace, Jim Thompson House, Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Snake Farm (Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute), Safari World, Asiatique The Riverfront and State Tower.

For the gourmets, Le Normandie Restaurant at Mandarin Oriental, Maidreamin, Smokin Pug American BBQ, Rock Restaurant and Bar, J’AIME by Jean-Michel Lorain and JP French Restaurant are the perfect spots to cherish some delicious meals. While the best nightclubs and bars in the city includes Check Inn 99, Moon Bar Bangkok, Sky Bar Bangkok, The Bamboo Bar, Red Sky Bar and CE LA VI.

Best Time to Visit

The best period to relish Bangkok is late October through March, when the heat and humidity are at their lowest. For people looking for Cheap Flights Fares to Bangkok should prefer the off season period.

Major Airport

Suvarnabhumi Airport (IATA: BKK) is the twentieth busiest airport in the world, sixth busiest airport in Asia, and the busiest in the country. You can Book cheap flights to Bangkok by surfing the various online portals.

Thai food: a tour from north to south

Thai food: a tour from north to south

Whether you’re munching on freshly-made papaya salad, slurping down noodles or devouring fresh mangoes, Thai cuisine is unbeatable. The country has some of the most explosive, fresh and tasty food in the world and eating is a major reason people visit.

Thai meals tend to have five features – spicy, sweet, sour, salty and bitter – and when put together are said to produce the perfect balance. Not all of its food has the famous tongue-burning spices, so don’t be afraid to dive in and sample some dishes. When it comes to eating etiquette, throw off any chopstick anxiety – most food is eaten with a fork and spoon, and chopsticks are only used for noodles. Dishes are placed in the middle and shared.

One of the many great things about Thai food is the sheer variety; each region has its own style and characteristics, although it’s possible to get virtually any meal in any part of the country. Here’s a breakdown of what you can look forward to while you’re on the road.

   Northeast

Folk from the northeast (Isahn), are justly proud of their food. Much of the cuisine, like the dialect, is similar to that found in neighbouring Laos. This includes the legendary som tam (spicy papaya salad), made by pounding papaya with a mortar and pestle, then adding lime juice, fish sauce, tomatoes and roasted peanuts. Lahp (minced meat mixed with shallots, chillies and mint) is a firm favourite in the northeast, along with grilled chicken, catfish and tom saep, a spicy hot and sour soup.

Food is often eaten with glutinous sticky rice, which is rolled into a ball with the right hand and then chomped on. Eating this way will earn you huge respect from locals, who will marvel at your ability to dispense with a fork and spoon. To clock up some more respect (and if you’re feeling brave), join them in dining on frog, rat or deep-fried scorpion.

   North

The north is home to several tasty Burmese-style curries and dips. The most well-known is gaang hang lair, a pork curry with handfuls of peanuts, tamarind juice and dried chillies thrown in the mix. Khao soy is a fantastically rich broth with egg noodles and meat, topped with pickled onions and a slice of lime. Also popular in the north are dipping sauces, which are usually combinations of chillies, tomatoes, fish sauce and raw vegetables. Deep-fried pork rinds are used to scoop up the mixture by hand.

The best way to experience northern cuisine is while watching a khantoke (traditional dance performance). Diners sit on the floor and eat from a low table filled with various dishes that will almost certainly include the north’s spicy version of sausage, sai ua.

   Central

Central Thailand is home to rivers that flow from mighty mountains into fertile plains, and the abundant rice and vegetable crops that grow here form a major part of the diet. Along with fantastic jasmine rice, there are several classic central dishes, including gaang pet (red curry), gaang som (orange curry) and salads. The latter are seriously spicy affairs and a world away from the tomato and lettuce variety found in the West.

One of Thailand’s most famous dishes, tom yam, comes from the central region and is a fiery concoction featuring lemongrass, lime, galangal, herbs and, of course, chilli. This soup usually comes chock full of giant, juicy prawns, but can also be found with mixed seafood. Another must-try soup is tom kah gai, a gorgeous creamy coconut soup that comes with chicken.

In Ayuthaya, the erstwhile capital of Siam, be sure to check out gooay deeo reua, a famous noodle soup, and roti sai mai, a DIY dessert that diners create by rolling together thin strands of sugar palm inside a pancake. Those who make the journey up the serpentine road to the border town of Sangkhlaburi are rewarded with markets offering large pots of curries made by the local Mon people.

   South

With a strong Muslim community and more coconut trees than rice fields, it’s no surprise that southern food has a distinctive flavour. The coconuts are used to full effect in curries and soups, with one of the best being gaang massaman, a smooth curry featuring potato and peanuts. Another major ingredient is turmeric, which gives many dishes their characteristic yellow tones.

Being a narrow peninsula with lots of coast, seafood is particularly common and inexpensive in the south. Lobster, crab, squid, prawns and scallops all feature on menus, and if you’re staying near a beach, be sure to experience the seafood barbecues. Other traditional southern dishes include yellow rice and chicken, Malay-style satays with peanut-based dipping sauces and the dessert roti, a pancake covered with lashings of condensed milk, filled with anything from bananas to chocolate and eaten with toothpicks.

   Desserts

It’ll be a test of your willpower, given the array of savoury cuisine on offer, but make sure you leave plenty of room for dessert. An incredible array of Thai fruit is available, including mangosteen, bite-size bananas, super-sweet pineapple and durian, which is delicious but so smelly most hotels ban it. As well as fruit, be sure to try khao lam (black or white sticky rice with coconut milk, sugar and black beans) and the divine mango with sticky rice and coconut milk.

The Thai Mango – A Luscious and Precious Staple

The Thai Mango – A Luscious and Precious Staple
The abundant and delicious variations of fresh Thai mangoes are enjoyed by millions in Southeast Asia. This article offers detail on types of Thai mangoes and dishes, while exploring the broader cultural value of Thai mangoes.
The Thai mango is known as “Ma Muang” in Thai, although this varies by region. For example, in the Northern region a mango is also known as “Pae,” and in the South as “Pao.” The mango is rich in symbolic meaning. As part of the feng shui tradition, for generations many Thais have believed that growing a mango tree on the south side of the house will bring prosperity to the family. More broadly, mangoes are so widely enjoyed in Thailand and surrounding countries that they truly do represent a precious part of the culture. There are perhaps more than one hundred types of Thai mangoes, many of them hybrids developed in Thailand. The mango tree only bears fruit once per year, and its season is between late March and early June. This is the time one will find delicately delicious mangoes – a fairly small window of time for top quality. Nevertheless, this small window of time represents much of the enjoyment of mangoes by so many in Thailand, making it in effect a staple for meals and especially desserts.
Thai mangoes vary in size, shape and color depending on the type, soil and harvest areas. The shapes of mangoes can be round, kidney-like in shape, oval, or a long slender shape. The color of a raw mango is typically green, but the color of ripe mangoes (the skin) can be yellow, yellow-green, green, yellowish orange or yellowish red. All mangoes have only one flat seed surrounded by flesh. Ripe mangoes have flesh that is yellow, golden-yellow, orange or orange-yellow.
The following are the most well-known mango types:

  • Nam Dok Mai (น้ำดอกไม้): oval with a sharp pointed tip. The ripe fruit has golden-yellow flesh with a sweet-scented taste;
  • Kiaw Sa Woei (เขียวเสวย): oblong dark green fruit. The ripe fruit has pale white flesh with a sweet taste;
  • Thong Dam (ทองดำ): oval with rounded tip. The ripe fruit has yellowish orange flesh with a sweet taste;
  • Ok Rhong (อกร่อง): oval with rounded tip. The ripe fruit has light yellowish orange flesh with a sweet taste;
  • Raed (แรด): oblong with a small pointed knob. The ripe fruit has light yellow flesh with a sweet-scented taste;
  • Pim Sian (พิมเสน): oval with tapered tip. The ripe fruit has light yellow flesh with a sweet taste;
  • Nang Klang Wan (หนังกลางวัน): oblong with curved and tapering tip. The ripe fruit has light yellow flesh and a sweet-scented taste.

As I experienced in Thailand, mangoes are eaten in a number of ways depending on the type of mango. Both ripe and raw mangoes are enjoyed as snacks. Nam Dok Mai, Nang Klang Wan, Thong Dam and Ok Rhong are usually served at the peak of ripeness. The most famous dessert is perhaps mangoes with sticky rice (Khao Niaw Ma Muang). Increasingly, this dish is being offered at restaurants in America as well. Kiaw Sa Woei, Pim Sian, Fah Lan and Raed are preferably eaten raw, even though they are also delicious as ripe mangoes. Well-liked dishes include Mango Salad (Yum Ma Muang – spicy shredded raw mangoes) and Crispy Shredded Catfish with Raw Mango Salad (Yum Pla Duk Foo).When eating raw mangoes, dipping sauce is essential. The two common dipping sauces are:

  • mixed of salt, sugar and crushed dry chili, called Prik Gleua in Thai,
  • mixed of chilli, fish sauce and palm sugar, heated to a caramel-like consistency, called Nam Pla Wan in Thai

Besides eating fresh and raw mangoes, Thais also use mangoes to make ice cream, juice and milkshakes, as well as pickled mango (Ma Muang Dong), dry pickled mango (Ma Muang Chae Im), or air dried pureed mango (Ma Muang Kuan). Since mangoes ripen so quickly and are abundant during the season, many mangoes are canned and sold, both domestically and internationally. Mango products are usually made from other types of mango such as Kaew (แก้ว), Chok Anan (โชคอนันต์) and Maha Chanok (มหาชนก).
Thais not only use mangoes as fruit or in cooking, but in medicine as well. The following process is one example. The seed of the ripe mango is dried, and subsequently ground up or boiled in water. This process results in a drink which helps one with health problems such as a bloated feeling or to get rid of a parasite or worm. Another approach involves boiling 15-20 mango leaves with water to create a drink to treat bloated feelings, ulcerative colitis, or for other applications such as external use to clean wounds. Some drink water boiled with the bark of a mango tree to reduce fever. As always, consult a physician as appropriate before deciding on treatments.Asian grocery stores in America often do not have Thai mangoes, but may have products made from Thai mangoes. In this case, if mango juice or mangoes with sticky rice sound appealing this summer, mangoes from the Philippines or Mexico are your best substitute. Costco often offers Mexican mangoes – wait until they are ripe – the skin will be very yellow. Mangoes from the Phillipines may be better, but they are equally if not more difficult to find.As the vast majority of people in Southeast Asia eat mangoes, the cultural significance of the mango is broadly based. The mango has been a luscious and precious staple for generations. This is an ongoing result of both the high quality Thai mango itself, and the inspiration of its many delicious variations, uses, and cultural heritage.

Bangkok nightlife areas you cannot miss out on

Bangkok nightlife areas you cannot miss out on

Bangkok is a sprawling metropolis which is also the capital of Thailand and an iconic tourist destination. From its beautiful beaches and ornate shrines to the vibrant nightlife, Bangkok has something to offer for every type of traveler. Known primarily for its exciting nightlife, here are the nightlife areas you need to add to your Bangkok package:

Sukhumvit

Located to Siam, Sukhumvit is one of the most prominent nightlife areas in Bangkok. It is a popular area where most tourists go to party. Some of the hotspots in this area one can visit are: Nana, Asoke, Phrom Phang and Thong Lor. There are a number of international restaurants one can eat at in Nana. There are also several go go bars which are an iconic Bangkok attraction which many tourists wish to visit. Most of these areas offer some of the best wine and cocktails bars and you can almost always spot a famous Thai star. If you can afford the expensive prices a trip to Sukhumvit is definitely worth adding to your Bangkok package.

Khaosan

Khaosan is the perfect destination for youngster and backpackers who wish to get a taste of the famous Bangkok nightlife. Many a time the party is simply on the street with tourists drinking beer and dancing. There are however many bars and clubs which offer an affordable glimpse into the famous nightlife allowing tourists and travelers with lower budgets to enjoy themselves. There is no specific time one needs to visit the area to party. It is believed that the party rages on 365 days a year.

RCA

RCA stands for Royal City Avenue and is one of the largest nightlife areas in Bangkok. It is a place where locals and tourists can visit and enjoy a couple of drinks. The three most popular bars in the area are Route 66, Slim and Flix. Though the Thai are allowed to enter clubs for free the tourists are required to provide a cover charge. Another thing that a tourist needs to be aware of when visiting any bar or club in RCA, is that they have a strict dress code which must be followed.

Bangkok’s clubs and bars are an attraction one must not miss out one. When you plan to visit the city, it is crucial to add visits to the local clubs and bars in itinerary of your Bangkok packages. They play a crucial role in the culture of Bangkok and must not be missed out on.

 

 

 

Top 10 Thai Food by Foreigners

Top 10 Thai Food by Foreigners

Get To Know Thai Food

When you think of Thai food, you would think of the ‘Hot and Spicy’ taste and probably believe that all Thai food are very hot and spicy. That is a misunderstanding. And you may also think that we eat everything by chopsticks. That is also not true.

More than 50% of Thai food are not hot and spicy at all. And chopsticks will be use when we eat noodle only. We are not Chinese or Japanese who like to eat almost everything by chopsticks.

If you have been to Thailand, you may have a question that why the taste and the texture of Thai food in Thailand are different from Thai food you have eaten in Thai restaurants in your country. One reason I would say is that maybe some ingredients are not available in your country so they need to skip some of them or use something else as a substitute. Another reason is that maybe the owner of that Thai restaurant and their chef or cook are not Thai. It would sound a bit arrogant to say that only Thais know the best how to cook Thai food with authentic Thai taste. But it is very true, isn’t it ? So do other countries food, no one could cook Swiss food better than Swiss people and no one could cook Italian food better than Italien people. Because we grew up with our food, we know what the right taste of each dish should be and what ingredients should or should not be used in that or those dishes. Each Thai dish has their own character.

As a Thai, I am so proud of Thai food that it is now well-known by people around the world as well as Italian, French, Chinese and Japanese food. We are now in Top 5 most popular cuisines of the world.

Thai food is world renowned for being very healthy for its use of many fresh vegetable and herbs. The popularity of Thai food is due to its wonderful medley of different tastes : sweet, sour, salty, hot, spicy, creamy, bitter and mind. The variety of different flavours, textures and colors, and the way that the food is presented make Thai food very exciting and appealing.

In Thailand the main evening meal generally consists of several small dishes with different tastes and textures that are served at the same time and shared by everyone at the table. Each person has a plate of steamed rice to eat with the shared food. Thais do not put everything on their plates at once because we do not want to mix the different tastes of the meal. We like to appreciate all the different tastes and textures separately.

Thais like to eat with a spoon and fork. Knives are not used at the table due to everything are already cut into a bite size. Chopsticks are only used to eat noodles.

Food for breakfast and lunch are not much different from food for dinner but they are easier to cook and need not much time to prepare such as rice soup, rice noodles, stir-fried rice, etc. Noodle is a good option for our lunch due to there are many noodle shops on almost every single road.

There are also many light dishes that Thais like to eat between main meals, for example : satay, spring rolls, papaya spicy salad, deep-fried or grilled meat balls, minced pork sausage with glass noodle, etc.

Thai desserts are well known for being beautiful and delicious. Coconut milk, rice flour, palm sugar and eggs are the main ingredients for almost all Thai desserts. Shallots, ginger, sticky rice, peanuts and pumpkin are sometimes also used in some Thai desserts. Banana leaves are often used for wrapping food in many styles. We have plenty of desserts, both hot and cold, with many different textures and colors.

Vegetable and fruit carving is a fine art that you will find at many Thai restaurants. The decorative carving helps to make Thai dishes much more interesting and amazing.

The popularity of Thai food and the many Thai restaurants that have sprung up all over the world have led to an increased availability of Thai ingredients in supermarkets everywhere. Let’s visit an Asian grocery in your town and see what Thai dish you would like to cook at home today.

 

The Office of the National Culture Commission announced the top ten Thai dishes best liked by foreigners. In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreigner Affairs, the Office had conducted a survey of Thai restaurants all over the world to find out ten favourite Thai dishes of foreigners. In the survey 1,000 Thai restaurant around the world were asked to fill in a questionnaire. However, only 500 restaurants which have Thai chefs and offer the authentic Thai food were qualified for being taken into consideration.

The results were the top ten Thai dishes which are listed below in order of their percentages of popularity:

1. Spicy Soup with Prawn and Lemon Grass [tom yum koong]

2. Green Curry with Chicken [kang kaew wan kai]

3. Stir-Fried Rice Noodle with Shrimp  [pad thai koong]

4. Fried Meat with basil leaves [pad ka-prao]

5. Red Curry with Roasted Duck [kang phed ped yang]

6. Coconut Milk Soup with Chicken [tom kha kai]

7. Thai Grilled Beef Salad [yum neur yang]

8. Pork or Chicken Satay [moo or kai satay]

9. Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts [kai pad med ma-manug]

10. Panaeng Curry [kang panaeng]