Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Thailand: they love the sweet stuff!
I've just returned from a fortnight in Thailand, where I made sure I did a lot of grazing. After all, isn't that what all the best holidays are about? So, kicking off with an afternoon cookery course in Bangkok at the Baipai Thai Cooking School, I made it my mission to get under the skin of Thai food.
A lot of what I ate was delicious - fragrant curries, zingy herby salads and gorgeous Pad Thai noodles. But I had quite a significant problem: Thai food was just too sweet for me. The Thais' love of sugar in all their seasoning means that you'll get a fistful of palm sugar liberally chucked into every dish whether sweet or savoury. Even a fruit smoothie will be pepped up not only with a healthy dose of sugar, but also salt and tinned Nestle Carnation milk! I found it overwhelming at times, and wished they’d tone it down. But no matter - I still ate extremely well. I was captivated by the outdoor food markets, where you could see huge piles of dried pink shrimps stacked up next to jewel-bright greens, bundles of flowers and buckets of wriggling fish. Eating in an outdoor night market is an amazing experience - you can graze for tuppence from an array of tiny ramshackle stalls offering anything from squid and chilli kebabs to steamed coconut dumplings, and Pad Thai noodles whipped up in a wok in front of your eyes. Double yum!
Here is a selection of photos from my trip...
Bangkok noodle seller:
The ingredients of pad thai, Bangkok:
The classic pad thai dish, Bangkok:
Trat night market, fish cakes:
Trat night market, coconut dumplings:
Trat night market, pad thai seller:
Mango and sticky rice, Taling Pling restaurant, Bangkok:
Traditional Thai condiments (sugar, dried chillies, fish sauce, chillies in vinegar):
Som Tum salad seller, Koh Kood island:
Fruit seller, Khao San Road, Bangkok:
Bai Pai cookery school dish: 'Golden Bags with Tasty Combination':
Bai Pai cookery school teachers:
The classic Thai beer: Singha
Bangkok Talaat Thewet Market:
Bangkok Talaat Thewet Market fish:
Bangkok Talaat Thewet Market vegetables:
Bangkok Talaat Thewet Market dried shrimps: