Today's blog is all about food--Thai food, to be exact. In my novel, Rewriting Adam, I mention three specific dishes that my protagonist Ethan enjoys while in Chiang Mai. Three dishes that I've eaten since our arrival three weeks ago.
And here's the third, along with condiment options.
If you've read my novel, do you remember Ethan eating these three dishes? Do you remember the context for each of them? He ordered them all from a vendor along the street. If you've ever been to Thailand, you'll know that these street vendors make the BEST food!
But it's not just about the food. There's SO MUCH MORE to the experience of eating street food here. The tables fill the sidewalk but that's okay. Everyone just walks around. You sit down on a plastic stool at an often-wobbly table that's covered in a random, worn, plastic tablecloth where, from your vantage point, you can watch the cook make your dish. She/he stands there surrounded by her spices, her oils, her bowls of ingredients and cooks away with a smile on her face.
This is what Ethan experienced.
And as she cooks, the aroma of each dish wafts over to your table. Ahhhhh!
If it's a dish riddled with peppers, the spice will hit the back of your nostrils and throat. My response to that? Coughing--and then more coughing. Khrapao muu is such a dish because the peppers are fried first so that then the spicy oil envelopes each and every ingredient. Sometimes the cook will look up and smile at me as I cough, knowing it's the "pet" (hot spice) that's the cause. I'll smile back as I guzzle water and cough some more. It's a game of sorts with Thai cooks I think i.e. "How much spice will this farang (foreigner) be able to tolerate?" My hubby likes it spicy and relishes every bite. Ethan also enjoyed the spice. And if you remember Janus in the novel, he actually ADDS more spice, which surprises Ethan.
But with this dish, it's the fried egg on top that just adds that little extra something. As you break the soft yolk into the meat, it counteracts the spice and, along with the mellow rice, is a perfect balance of flavours in the mouth. Mmmmm.
Ethan loved this dish. Me? I usually pick a milder one because even if you say "mai pet" (not spicy), the spice will be too much for my tastebuds.
But there's more to the experience as is shown in the above right photo. Often you're not alone. The pets wander about without a sound, enjoying any scraps that drop. It's just a way of life here--a way of eating here. Ethan loved it. And so do I.
Of course, Ethan ate many other dishes but those are the three I mention in my novel. Those are the three I wanted to share with my readers.
And, if you're interested, I'm adding a link to a pretty good basil pork recipe that I found online. It requires holy basil--a lot of it. You could use other types of basil, but if you want the true authentic taste, only holy basil will do. (could be called Thai basil in the store)
You'll know it by its purplish stems and anise seed taste. An acquired taste but I like it.
Here's the recipe link:
If you try it, let me know. I'd like to know what you think.
This won't be my last blog about food here. But it's a good beginning--Ethan thinks so too!