Hello again and Happy New Year!
I apologize for being MIA through most of January. I've been so excited to write about my recent trip to
! But then there was the jet
lag, the laundry, an awful cold...you get the idea. Thailand
was amazing! We travelled to three very different parts of the country: the
beautiful Thailand island of Koh Samui, the peaceful city of Chiang
Mai in the northern part of the country, and then the bustling
metropolis of . Bangkok
We started our trip on beautiful
where my brother-in-law got married in a lovely sunset ceremony framed by palm
trees, overlooking a sandy beach and deep blue water. Koh Samui
Our very first night on the island we were treated to a feast at a clifftop restaurant. It featured an intensely fragrant tom kha gai (chicken coconut soup), fried shrimp patties served with a sweet chili sauce, fried fish topped with toasted chilies and garlic, and a fiery green curry with chicken.
|Thai fish curry|
We made sure to take advantage of the fresh seafood while we were on the island. My son ate fried rice topped with sweet, fresh crabmeat for almost every meal. And I enjoyed the fat tiger prawns served on top of pad thai, succulent river prawns served straight off the grill, and tender fish fried in a coconut crust. We tried a fish curry that had a lot in common with the Indian fish curry I'm used to, loaded with coconut milk and turmeric and served on top of fresh rice noodles. My husband fell in love with larb moo, a dish of minced pork sprinkled with lime juice, shallots, mint leaves, and lots of fiery chilies.
|The Mandarin Oriental's khao soi|
|Khao soi prepared for us by a home cook|
|A selection of Chiang Mai specialties|
We also tried other Chiang Mai specialties including naem, a spicy pork sausage made with red curry and lots of herbs; kaeb moo, or fried pork rinds; and a spicy sour beef and noodle stew.
One of our most memorable meals was at the Mandarin Oriental in Chiang Mai. Not only were all the dishes delicious, the presentation was outstanding. We went in a large group, so we got to sample lots of different dishes, from tiger prawns in red curry, to penang shrimp curry served in a pineapple, to a spicy beef noodle soup, and a particularly rich version of khao soi.
|Tiger prawns in red curry|
|Penang shrimp curry served in a pineapple|
|Spicy and sour beef noodle soup|
|Dessert soup of fruit, coconut milk, and pearl tapioca|
|Mango with sticky rice|
But it was the mango with sticky rice dessert that I still can't get out of my mind. Not only was there a beautiful red sticky rice stewed in coconut milk and topped with roasted mung beans served alongside fresh sweet mango, but they went and gilded the lily with a small pot of coconut cream to sprinkle over the entire thing. Heaven!
|Temple of the Emerald Buddha|
Then there were the more traditional areas of the city, where we experienced the traditional markets and Chao Phraya river taxis. We visited the
, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the reclining
|Fish and chips!|
By this point we had our favorite Thai
dishes and were ordering a lot of what we'd already tasted. Of course, we still had a few surprises in store for us. My son ordered fish and chips one day and found this toothy fish staring back at him!
The one thing I never worked up the nerve to eat was the fried insects. Yes, there were plenty of them available, particularly at the street markets. Oh well, maybe next time.
And there definitely will be a next time!