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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Food finds of Thailand

If you view my JulieBakes Facebook page, I've apologized profusely for having been MIA and not posting any recipes recently.  But when I got back from Thailand today, and signed in to write this post, I saw that my last post was December 31st!  I'm appalled!  But don't worry, that will change very soon.

I just got back from almost two weeks in Thailand.  I took a few notes of new food finds and I wanted to share them with you:

1.  Fruit smoothies.  I have a general rule: I don't drink my calories unless they are in the form of coffee (often) or alcohol (less so).  However in northern Thailand, fruit smoothies were EVERYWHERE.  Sometimes they had milk added, sometimes yogurt (a la an Indian lassi), and sometimes just blended juice and (filtered) ice.  The latter being my favorite.  I got watermelon ones, passion fruit, and pineapple-mango-coconut...however, when I got to the Islands, they were harder to find.  But that didn't stop me...I kept searching.  My favorite was the watermelon one.  I can't wait to make them.  Now all I need is a blender...

2.  Watermelon juice.  During my 9.5 hour layover in the Hong Kong airport, I found a Starbucks (!!), and they had Starbucks-brand bottled juices including orange, grapefruit, guava, and watermelon.  Unsure of which to get - guava or watermelon - I chose watermelon and was unsure if it would be good.  It was delicious!  I wonder if I could recreate it with a juicer at home.  Now I just need a juicer, too.

3.  Thai iced coffee.  My sister introduced me to this delicacy.  As above, I usually don't drink my calories unless they are in the form of coffee or alcohol, but my "usual" coffee calories in the US are skim milk and a Splenda added to espresso.  Thai iced coffee is the antithesis of what I drink in the US.  It's a rich coffee (probably better than US coffee, although I've seen it made with instant coffee, too) mixed with condensed milk.  It's rich and sweet and tastes like the best coffee ice cream...melted.  After my first one, I wanted at least one a day, but held back...

4. Mango sticky rice.  We took a cooking class just outside of Chiang Mai and for dessert I made sticky rice with mango.  I usually don't eat dessert in Thai restaurants, or restaurants in general, but for some reason I never order dessert in Thai restaurants.  But seeing as a dessert course was part of the cooking class, I went with it.  Sugar and coconut milk, mixed with rice, topped with fresh mango and a little more coconut milk, and sprinkled with dried mung beans for crunch.  Delish!

5.  Green papaya salad.  This is not technically a food find of Thailand, since I've been eating it for years, but it's so good that its worth mentioning here.  There are apparently a few kind of green papaya salad, the biggest difference I've been able to find is the inclusion or exclusion of dried baby shrimp.  I'm used to the Thai-American green papaya salad, which is the one sans dried shrimp, and after having been served both in Thailand, I can say hands down that I prefer it without the dried shrimp.  However, in a pinch, it's easy to pick them out.

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