What ONE thing will you never EAT again?
Quite possibly the worst thing I have ever eaten was when I lived in Thailand and went to visit my then girlfriends family in Isan province in the Northeast. One of the “delicacies” of the region is a type of marinated water-beetle, which looks like nothing more than a 6 inch long cockroach. When it was first put in front of me (there were 4 of them on a plate), the look on everyones face was “Lets give this to the idiot Farang and then fall about laughing when he refuses to eat it” so I picked one up and asked how I was supposed to do this.
The method apparently was to hold the head and bite off the tip of the tail, and then suck out the insides. It is very difficult to describe the taste and texture, but try to imagine vomit with the chunks taken out
Authentic Isan cuisine can only be found in the northeast. That is the subtitle to an article on Isan Delicacies in the Bangkok Post.
If you would like to read of “Isaan rice rats” as a delicacy, and even see a recipe for their preparation, go here.
And then there is this: HEALTH WARNING: Frog dishes can kill Health officials yesterday warned consumers against eating a poisonous frog that many people believe has nutritional value.
Provincial health chief Dr Wutthikrai Mungmai said the frog, known as ung aang, had poisonous skin which could damage the nervous system if not cooked for long enough.
If eaten in large quantities, the frog’s skin can cause unconsciousness and, in some cases, death.
An Isaan delicacy, the amphibian fetches about Bt60 a kilogram at local markets, Wutthikrai said.
“Isaan delicacies” are mentioned in this interesting profile of a 61-year old (in the 2008 article) Enlighman living in his wife’s village: Wedded to her village. The article is actually quoted as a post submitted on the Baht&Sold forum.
How I envy that guy as I submit to the detested working life I find myself shackled to simply because my own loving Thai wife wants to forge a life for her and her two sons here in Canada! I’d far rather be living the simple life in a Thai village as is this man.
The Teakdoor forum has a post that also mentions “Isaan delicacies” in this photo-description of an idyllic picnic at the Lam Pao Dam in Kalasin Province.
Here is another short piece enumerating some Isaan delicacies that I’ve borrowed:
Northeastern Thai food is generally of the simple, spicy, peasant variety enjoyed by the inhabitants of this relatively poor region. The most famous dishes include somtam–papaya salad with fish sauce, garlic, chilli peppers, peanuts and puu na field crab added to taste. This is often eaten with kai yang–grilled chicken, the best of which is said to come from Sisaket, close to the Lao frontier. Perhaps the most classic of Isaan dishes is larb–spiced minced meat generally served with salad and a side plate of raw vegetables. Other delicacies unlikely to appeal to any but the most adventurous visitor include: nam phrik mot som–red ant egg dip, noo naa yang–barbecued field rat, and kaeng tookay–gecko curry. Unlike Bangkok and the South, khao niaw, or “sticky rice”–a glutinous variant served in small woven bamboo baskets and eaten with the hand–is the main accompaniment to every meal.
This richly illustrated review of a California Thai restaurant called Ruen Thai should prove a useful read for anyone interested in this topic.
The review makes me wonder how long my wife is going to want to struggle to keep her own Pattaya Thai Restaurant in business?
I pray she can be a success, the dear woman….
Give this article on the Good Lucky Backpackers Lodge a scan — it, too mentions food, and has quite a few thumbnail illustrations of the Isaan region.
I’ll also include this piece on Isaan food that includes a recipe for Som Tam, and end my post. I’ll not enter into details, but Jack (my wife) was away overnight, and only got home shortly after 7:00 a.m. this morning. She slept very little as a result, and is now in bed. I want to spend some time there with her. You see, my brother and I are supposed to join a bunch of relatives later today in celebration of an aunt’s 80th birthday, and it will turn out to be a big “booze-up.” Since it’s a very long drive from here, we’ll have to spend the night, or Mark will be risking an impaired charge. As a result, this time with Jack is all I’m going to get to enjoy for the weekend…and then it’s back to another bloody work week of drawn-out misery.
By the way, I’m only leaving the following video because my wife is actually a fair hand at Italian cooking, giving it an interesting Thai touch. As I’ve said elsewhere, if I could only Retire, I’d love to showcase her culinary talent via a video blog!
San Francisco – Delicious pizza @ Caffe Roma
travelandtransitions — March 11, 2008 — Day 2 (February 22, 2008) of our San Francisco adventure began more promisingly: bright sunshine greeted us as we made our way by public bus to Washington Square, the heart of San Francisco’s Italian North Beach neighbourhood. We set off to meet Tom Medin, who runs Local Tastes of the City Tours, who was going to take us around this neighbourhood and introduce us to all sorts of interesting culinary treats.
Tom explained that San Francisco is a city for foodies – high quality fresh food plays an enormously important role in the locals’ lives. Shopping habits are very similar to the old European ways: people go shopping on foot in their local neighbourhoods and visit all sorts of specialty stores such as bakeries, pastry shops, vegetable stores, delicatessens, butcher shops and many more. Food is bought fresh almost every day, and a home-cooked leisurely dinner is an important part of the social agenda. Cafés and coffee houses also thrive here.
Our first stop was Caffe Roma where owner Toni Azzolini explained to us the coffee roasting process and had us taste some of his famous capuccino. Coffee is roasted freshly on site and their most popular blend includes four different coffee varieties from different countries, all purchased from small-scale farmers who don’t use pesticides or fertilizer. We then went to XOX Truffles where we saw the truffle-making process in action. The owner Jean-Marc Gorce graciously equipped us with a little paper bag full of some these French delicacies.
After a brief visit to the Saints Peter and Paul Church where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had their wedding pictures taken, Liguria Bakery was next where we had a chance to taste some real Italian foccaccia bread, the only type of bread that is made at this bakery.
Up the road we continued to the Italian French bakery where we saw a century old bakery oven in action and got to taste various home-baked goodies. At Palermo Delicatessen we got to sample two different types of olive oil and some real Italian salamis, copa meat and fresh mozzarella. The Victoria Pastry Company welcomed us with a free sampling of fresh canoli and at Caffe Trieste we got to admire the place where Francis Ford Coppola wrote the script for Godfather III. Lots of other local and international celebrities have visited this popular neighbourhood café.
This 3.5 hour culinary tour gave us great insight into the San Francisco mindset and strengthened us for a steep walk to our next destination: Coit Tower.