What proper table etiquette looks like in East and Southeast Asia…

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Mashable (by Chelsea Frisbie):

Whether you’re planning an international trip or you’re headed to a local cultural experience, it’s important to learn about the eating habits of the folks you’ll be dining with. What might seem silly to you could be incredibly important to someone else, so don’t judge.

Langford’s silverware shop has compiled a collection of the dining “Do’s” and “Don’ts”…

Here is an excerpt of East Asian and Southeast Asian countries’ dining etiquette.

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Supermodel Jourdan Dunn heads to Thailand for her new cooking series “How It’s Dunn”

Hypebeast:

Supermodel Jourdan Dunn has teamed up with Amuse to create a cooking program titled How It’s Dunn.

The model talks about her experiences with cooking and her taste for spicy food and in the first installment of the new series, Dunn takes to the streets of Thailand to explore the country’s local cuisine and test the boundaries of her own tolerance to spice. From sauntering through fresh-food markets to braving cow’s blood noodle soup, this is only just the beginning of Dunn’s culinary pursuits.

Stay tuned for future episodes as they become available.

Taste the world this summer with Pretz versions of international food favorites

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RocketNews 24 (by Jamie Koide):

Kids in Japan only have about one more week left of school until summer vacation starts, while working adults are counting down the days until Obon vacation. It’s also the season where many Japanese snack makers start putting out limited summer edition flavors of your favorite snacks.

In fact, just today Glico launched a limited edition summer line of their popular Pretz series in Japan, so for those with no time or no money to travel abroad this summer vacation, you still have a chance to experience some exotic and not-so-exotic food flavors from across the ocean in the comfort of your very own home.

Pretz has been a long-selling favorite snack in Japan for many years. Not only did it later spawn the popular Pocky snack that Japan is best known for overseas, it’s been part of a number of tie-ups with famous partners, the most recent of which include current popular anime Youkai Watch and Snoopy/LINE.

Here in Japan we’re used to different Japanese-style Pretz flavors, but hitting store shelves today is Glico’s limited edition line-up of summer flavors, which include four special flavors that until now were only available as souvenirs brought back or received from each of these places abroad.

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While pineapple for Hawaii and maple for Canada seem pretty stereotypical, and mapo tofu is a popular Chinese dish that is readily available and well-liked in Japan, larb, which is actually regarded as the national dish of Laos, isn’t usually the first food that comes to mind when Japanese people think of Thai food. But apparently Glico thought this minced meat and vegetable salad dish, that’s pretty popular in the northern areas and other parts of Thailand, would sell well in stick form.

Be sure to grab all four to experience your own gourmet cruise around the world. We’re sure your tastebuds will thank us! Unfortunately you’ll have to act fast, as stock is limited and Glico only plans to sell them for until sometime around August.

Asian remedies that will cure your hangover

 

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

Audrey Magazine (by Jianne Lasaten):

Sure, Asian glow is one thing to worry about, but what about those nights when things go a bit too far and you end up taking one (or five) more shots than intended? Hopefully you got home safe and sound (that’s what’s most important, after all).

But when you wake up the next day, you have to face an immediate problem. When the world is still spinning and you feel too nauseous to move, you know you’ve been hit with the dreaded hangover. For my friends and I, a comforting bowl of pho usually does the trick. But what helps everyone else?

Buzzfeed shared their list of interesting traditional hangover remedies from around the world. Below, we bring you the hangover cures, Asian style! We have to warn you though, you may have to be a brave one to try a few of these…

Philippines: Balut and Rice

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Ah, yes. The signature “weird” delicacy of the Philippines is also a well-known hangover cure. According to the Travel Channel, balut, which is a developing duck embryo, contains cysteine– a substance that breaks down alcoholic toxins in the liver.

 

China: Congee

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This rice porridge contains ginger, garlic and scallions. All three ingredients combined should help ease those headaches.

 

Japan: Umeboshi

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Umeboshi is a pickled sour plum that is well-known for its health benefits. It contains natural bacteria, enzymes, organic acids and alkaline. These help eliminate excessive acidity in the body.

 

Mongolia: Picked Sheep Eye in Tomato Juice

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Commonly known as the “Mongolian Mary,” this beverage is not for the faint of heart. Tomato juice contains simple sugars to boost your glucose levels back up as well as re-hydrate you after a night of drinking. The significance of the sheep eye? Well, that’s still a mystery.

 

South Korea: Haejangguk

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South Korea definitely came prepared because Haejangguk literally translates into “soup to cure a hangover.” Although the recipe differs in every region, this spicy beef broth usually contains pork, spinach, cabbage, onions and congealed ox blood.

 

Indonesia: Kaya Toast

Courtesy of latimes.com

This traditional Indonesian breakfast will satisfy all of your sweet and salty hangover cravings (ladies, this would probably be just as helpful for that time of month). Warm toasted bread slices are served with salted butter and Kaya Jam, a sweet mixture of coconut milk, sugar, eggs, and pandan.

 

Bangladesh: Coconut Water

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We can’t argue with this one. Coconut water is known to have a significant amount of potassium and will keep you hydrated.

 

Thailand: Pad Kee Mao

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Nicknamed “drunken noodles,” this spicy dish is said to be a favorite among Thai men after a night of drinking. It usually consists of wide rice noodles, ground beef (or other meat), basil and other spices, onions and bell peppers.

Mrs. Pound, a Hong Kong fusion diner hidden behind a Chinese stamp shop front

Tourist cleans Thailand streets out of love

Your city need a good scrub? Here's the man to call.

CNN: 

There are many reasons to visit Thailand. Some want to swim at Ko Phi Phi, where Leonardo DiCaprio found beauty (though not quite bliss) in “The Beach.”

Some want to see if the pad thai in the Chang Mai night market tastes better than it does at their favorite Thai restaurant back home. (It does.)

According to Thai public broadcasting service MCOT (Thai only), however, a German tourist has been coming to the country annually for the last six years for an entirely different reason: To clean up the mess.

Peter Rudi Festerling, a 55-year-old professional janitor from Berlin, spends most of his vacation time in Udon Thani in northeastern Thailand doing what he does at home. Spiffing up the joint.

Festerling was recently caught in action washing phone booths in front of the Charoen Hotel, where he often stays. The pictures ended up on Udon Thani’s community Facebook page.

Most Thai Facebook commenters on the Udon Thani community page have applauded the fastidious Samaritan, saying he sets a good example for society.

Nice job: Peter Rudi Festerling.

Facebook user Sinalii Nizza Pirane commented that the governor of Udon Thani Province should present Festerling with a certificate recognizing his contributions to the province’s capital city.

So cute,” commented another. “I want to meet him and give him some water and a cold towel.”

Yearly clean-up vacation

According to an MCOT report, at some point during a visit to Udon Thani the German vacationer “felt uneasy with the untidy scene so he started to clean up.”

Asked why spends parts of his vacations picking up garbage and scrubbing dirty public areas, Festerling says it’s because “he loves Thailand.”

He reports that locals are often kind to him, offering him water and taking his photo. Festerling has been spotted rigged out in full gardener’s gear mowing weeds on sidewalks, in industrial coveralls sweeping garbage and even directing traffic, according to MCOT.

The traveling janitor is now back in Germany but says he’ll continue his yearly visits to Thailand — scrub brush in hand.

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Bangkok street food: Historic Bang Rak’s 10 best eats

The area formerly known as Bang Rak market should not be left off any food lover’s Bangkok travel itinerary.

The easily walkable stretch between Taksin BTS station and the junction of Charoen Krung and Silom Road is a cultural mash-up rife with history that’s worth exploring on foot.

It’s also home to several great food shops and stalls run by second- or third-generation cooks who are proud of their culinary heritage.

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A plate of Thip Hoi Thot Phu-khao Fai’s mussel/oyster pancakes, which have the perfect gooey to crispy ratio.This maker of crispy mussel/oyster pancakes is one of the best in the city.

According to co-owner Chakrawat Chira-apakul, the shop got its odd moniker (the name means “volcanic fried mussels”) when it was a just a humble outdoor stall. A diesel stove the owner used often caused flame flare-ups dramatic enough to attract the attention of foreign tourists. The restaurant has been dubbed “volcanic fried mussels” ever since.

Having moved indoors and using a tamer gas stove these days, Thip no longer pulls pyrotechnic stunts, but his place remains much loved by locals and visitors.

Served atop a bed of bean sprouts wilted to tender-crisp and accompanied by sweet and sour chili sauce, the flat cakes of battered, pan-fried fresh mussels, attain a hard-to-achieve ratio of gooey to crispy perfection.

Thip Hoi Thot Phu-khao Fai (Volcanic Fried Mussel and Oyster), 3 Soi Charoen Krung 50 (next to Robinson Bang Rak). +66 (0)89 775 1958. Open Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

 

Prachak Pet Yang

No seasoning necessary. Prachak Pet Yang’s duck is just that good.

Two Chinese-style roasted duck restaurants vie for supremacy in this neighborhood: Pet Yang Nai Sung and Prachak Pet Yang. Both are long renowned for their roasted ducks with dark, spiced sauce over rice (khao na pet). We, however, are a little partial to the century-old Prachak.

Here, you see the fusion of Thai and Chinese flavors at its best. Gutted Cherry Valley ducks are stuffed with fresh Thai herbs, such as kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and lemongrass, before being marinated in Cantonese flavors and slow-roasted in a mangrove wood coal oven until the skins take on deep mahogany color and the meat becomes succulent and tender.

Their sauce, served generously over a mound of duck-topped rice, is so flavorful that the seasoning caddy on the table pouts furiously from neglect.

Prachak also serves various other dishes including Chinese barbecue pork, roasted pork, assorted noodle dishes and fried rice.

Prachak Pet Yang, Charoen Krung Road (across from Robinson Bang Rak). +66 (0)2 234 3755. Open daily from 7 a.m.-9 p.m.

Jok Prince

Nothing to joke about here. Jok Prince’s congee is among Bangkok’s best.

Don’t be scared by its location in a dark, narrow alley leading to Prince, a now-defunct small theater that used to show dodgy movies. Jok Prince has served up the best rice congee with all the trimmings in this area for over 50 years. Viscous, semi-smooth jok comes with tender, generously sized balls of minced pork.

Offal lovers can ask for assorted stewed and poached pig parts in their jok too, as this place is the best.

A side of Chinese crullers, pa thong ko, are also available at an additional cost.

Jok Prince, Charoen Krung Road, entrance to Prince Theater. +66 (0)89 795 2629. Open from 6 a.m.-noon and 4 p.m. to the early morning hours. (Closing times depend on availability and change from day to day.)

 

Boonsap Thai Desserts

The quintessential Thai dessert: mango and sticky rice.

Here’s another shop with a long history. Boonsap, the only noteworthy traditional Thai dessert shop in this area, has been making sweets according to its founder’s original recipes since before World War II.

Under the management of the young third-generation owners, the shop has recently undergone  renovations, making it resemble an intimate café where patrons can enjoy plated desserts and beverages in an air-conditioned room.

Modernization has not, however, changed things. Tatcha Boonpaisarn, who left her flight attendant career to make desserts, insists everything is still made in-house with carefully-sourced ingredients, and in small batches — just as it was back in the days of her Grandma Boonsap.

Boonsap Thai Desserts excels in many traditional Thai goodies, but their sweet sticky rice topped with impossibly smooth and creamy steamed egg custard (sangkhaya) is simply extraordinary.

Boonsap Thai Desserts (boonsap.com), 1478 Charoen Krung Road. +66 (0)2 234 4086. Open Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

 

Khao Kha Mu Trok Sung

Kamou Tokzung has been serving up stewed pork legs and knuckles for over 40 years.

You need to deviate for a few meters from Charoen Krung into Charoen Wiang in order to find this nondescript home of what the locals consider one the best stewed pork legs and knuckles on rice (khao kha mu) in the area for the last four decades.

They also have storefronts at MBK and Central World food courts; just look for the “Kamou Tokzung” sign.

Kamou Tokzung, 106/5 Charoen Wiang Road. +66 (0)2 235 4930. Open Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

 

Jao Long Luk Chin Pla

Jao Long Luk Chin Pla’s fish balls are made with fresh halibut.

Next to a bright red pawn shop a few doors down from the Charoen Krung entrance to the Shangri-La hotel is this shop renowned for superior fishball noodles.

There is another fishball noodle shop right across the street, but we favor Jao Long’s homemade fishballs, heavy on fresh halibut meat, which come in various shapes and avatars: round, rugby-shaped, poached, deep-fried.

Joa Long, 1456 Charoen Krung Road, near entrance of Shangri-La hotel. +66 (0)2 630 6060. Open daily from 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

 

Nam Khom Wa Tow

Chinese-style herbal drinks are healthy. But don’t let that turn you off. They’re refreshing, too.

For the uninitiated, the appeal of various Chinese-style herbal drinks, may not be immediately apparent.

Fans who believe in the medicinal properties of the surprisingly delicious and refreshing drinks, on the other hand, flock to this 70-year-old shop for their Gotu Kola (bai bua bok) juice among other things.

Incidentally, this shop is also the birthplace of the famous Yan Wo Yun brand of seasoning sauces, internationally known as the Healthy Boy brand.

Wa Tow – Yan Wo Yun, 1443 Charoen Krung Road. +66 (0)2 233 9266. Open daily, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

 

Fried Banana Cart

When you see a line of people at a Bangkok vendor, join the queue. Delicious eats are guaranteed.

You can’t miss this food cart located right at the corner of Charoen Krung and Si Wiang. People line up the moment the first batch of batter-fried bananas hits the oil until everything runs out.

You can see how fresh bananas, sweet potatoes, and taro roots are feverishly peeled, sliced, and fried to keep up with the demands.

Fried banana cart, corner of Charoen Krung and Si Wiang. Open daily mid-morning to late afternoon.

 

Je Niao Boi Kia

Tired of pie? Try one of Je Niao Boi Kia’s Hainanese-style desserts.

In a spacious shophouse also at the corner of Charoen Krung and Si Wiang, steps away from the fried banana cart, is Je Niao’s Hainanese-style multi-element dessert.

This dish features oblong chewy rice flour dumplings and anything from cooked grains and beans to candied tubers and fresh fruits in dark syrup and topped with crushed ice.

Je Niao Boi Kia, SE corner of Charoen Krung Road and Si Wiang Road. +66 (0)89 774 9144. Open daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

 

Muslim Restaurant

Fill your goat cravings at Muslim Restaurant, a 70-year-old Bangkok institution.

Founded by Hajee Maidin Pakayawong, a well-known Bang Rak market goat butcher, as the culinary outlet for his fresh goat meat, this 70-year-old eatery still serves up exactly the same menu it did back in World War II era.

Considering its genesis, it’s no surprise one of Muslim Restaurant’s best-loved dishes is goat biryani. Their oxtail soup, goat liver masala and murtabak (mataba) are also perfectly executed.

Muslim Restaurant, 1354-6, corner of Charoen Krung and Silom. +66 (0)2 234 1876. Open daily from 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

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Bangkok street food: Historic Bang Rak’s 10 best eats

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Gratuitous Food Porn: Thai Food Edition

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Thai Beef Salad

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Pad Thai Soup

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Chicken Pad Thai

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Thai Shrimp Rolls

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Cashew Chicken with Thai Chili Plum Sauce

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Thai Red Prawn Curry

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Thai Red Curry Mussels

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Thai Green Curry with Sugar Snaps, Asparagus & Broccolini

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Thai Red Curry with Vegetables and Coconut Milk

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Thai Coconut Beef in Crispy Wonton Cups

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Thai Curry Chicken Noodle Soup

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Grilled Prawns with Kaffir Lime Dressing

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Tom Yum Goong

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Pork-Stuffed Squash Blossoms

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Thai Style Duck and Green Papaya Salad

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Beef Curry with Pumpkin

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Thai Green Curry and Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl

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Sweet and Sour Sticky Thai Boneless Oven-Baked Chicken Wings

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Thai Shrimp and Pineapple Curry

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Larb Gai Thai Chicken Salad

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Shrimp Larb

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Tom Kha Gai

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Thai Tea Arnold Palmer

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Lamb Massaman Curry

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Thai Crab Fried Rice

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Thai Creamy Chicken Soup

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Tom Yum Gai

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Tom Yum Goong

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Pad See Ew

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Mango Sticky Rice Parfaits

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Gratuitous Food Porn: Thai Food Edition

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10 Crazy Things You Can Eat In Thailand

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A great list compiled by JJ Goode, assistant to Chef Andy Ricker who won a national restaurant award for bringing authentic Thai food to America. JJ Goode writes about food and travel for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and various food magazines. He’s co-authored several cookbooks including A Girl and Her Pig with April Bloomfield, and Truly Mexican and Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales with Roberto Santibanez, and Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking with Masaharu Morimoto.

1. Beetle chile relish

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Naam phrik num is a fiery green-chile relish popular in Northern Thailand that serves as a dip for things like sticky rice, pork cracklings, and steamed vegetables. Many versions are seasoned with maengda, an uncomfortably large cockroach-looking beetle that lends a surprisingly welcome floral, almost blue cheese-like character.

2. Slow-grilled pig boob

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Not even the Fergus Henderson & Co.’s snout-to-tail movement has embraced slow-grilled pig boob. Chewy and fatty, even faintly milky, the teat picks up a ton of smoky charcoal flavor as it cooks.

3. Deep-fried frog skin

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Speaking of snout to tail (or bug-eyes to webbed feet?), frog ends up in many dishes in Northern Thailand and cooks make use of virtually every bit. Instead of serving just the legs, like those picky French, Thai cooks often hack up the whole skinned amphibian for soups and stews. (I like to call this, “everything but the ribbit.”) Sometimes the leftover skin gets dried out then deep-fried for a crunchy snack, as in this photo. Taken after way too much whiskey at a roadside drinking establishment outside of Chiang Mai, it’s as blurry as my vision was at the time.

4. Bile

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Wherever we went, Andy did the ordering. This was good because most of the time I didn’t know what anything was and even if I did I couldn’t speak enough Thai to order it. What arrived at the table was often a surprise. The bowl in the back of this photo from our trip, for instance, contained a murky, meaty broth seasoned with fresh herbs and chunks of aromatics like galangal. I eagerly dug in only to discover that it was really bitter—a flavor much loved in this part of the country. Why? I asked Andy. Beef bile, he said. It’s produced by the liver of most vertebrates, aids in digestion, and comprises 85% water, 10% bile salts, 3% mucus and pigments, 1% fats, and 0.7% inorganic salts. That 3% will get ya.

5. Weeds that taste like fish

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In Northern Thailand, many meals come with a plate piled with leaves plucked from the side of road that you’re meant to nibble between bites of whatever else you’re eating. How lovely, I thought, as I tried one that tasted kind of like cilantro. Then I kept sampling: The next leaf was as bitter as anything I’ve ever eaten, another tasted inexplicably and unmistakably like grilled fish, and another’s flavor reminded me of nothing so much as Sweet’N Low.

6. “Pork” chops

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OK, I never ate these. I found them at a market stall devoted to vegetarian approximations of meat in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Pork, the other pink meat?

7. Artisanal rotten fish

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Cooks in the North and Northeast of Thailand do use the sanitized bottled fish sauce we’re used to in the States. But they reserve their most ardent affection for this other stuff, on offer at a market in Chiang Mai: Fish mixed with salt and rice and left to ferment into a fragrant sludge called plaa raa. It’s especially funky, but eat it in enough dishes, from papaya salads to chile relishes to curries, and you begin to crave its pungency. I only ate it cooked, which I’ve heard is a great way to avoid liver parasites.

8. Skin and organ tartare

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The Northern Thai version of laap (often spelled “larb” in our neck of the woods) is extremely delicious and very different from the tart, spicy Northeastern version popular in the U.S. Essentially, it’s finely minced meat (pork, chicken, fish, water buffalo, barking deer—whatever!) mixed with cooked organs and skin, fresh herbs, fried garlic and shallots, and a dried spice–heavy seasoning paste. Andy prefers the raw version that old-timers eat, a sort of tartar of uncooked flesh and blood. This one he made with his friend Sunny. We ate it with sticky rice and herbs at a Thai military base.

9. Denatured pig brain

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Since the lighting at this outdoor spot in the village of Ban San Sai wasn’t exactly studio quality, I might not win an award for this snap of denatured pig brain. Brain is one of those foods that sounds horrible but is actually amazing. For this dish, it had been mushed up with curry paste, wrapped in a banana leaf, and grilled to create a sort of rich, complexly delicious custard that I swear could sell for $28 at the right restaurant in Manhattan. The woman who served us told us in Thai that eating it would make us smart. I choose to think she wasn’t joking.

10. Raw blood soup

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Pork blood enriches many Thai dishes, and some do contain a little blood that never gets cooked. Luu, on the other hand, is essentially an entire bowl of disturbingly red raw blood topped with kaffir lime leaves and fried pork skin. It tasted a lot better than I expected—rich and irony—though I would’ve welcomed a much smaller bowl.

Check out this link:

10 Crazy Things You Can Eat In Thailand

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How to make a Thai Tea Arnold Palmer…

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Check out this concoction, originally conceptualized by Los Angeles Thai restaurant Chan Dara

The Cha-Manau — a combination of strongly brewed Thai tea (without milk) and Thai lemonade, or in more western terms, a Thai Tea Arnold Palmer.   Domique Zamora of Foodbeast decided to play it a little different in our recreation, keeping the milk and trading out the traditional sweet  lemonade with a lychee and thai chili version.

Thai Tea:

  • 1 cup Pantai Thai Tea Mix
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Coconut milk

Lychee-Thai Chili Lemonade:

  • 1 pound lychees (I used canned)
  • Juice from 10 to 12 lemons
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 small red Thai chili
  • 3 cups cold water
  • Ice

How to Make It:

  1. Bring water to a boil and add Thai tea mix. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Allow to boil for three minutes, then remove from heat. Let mixture steep for additional thirty minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine lychees, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and Thai chili in blender. Blend until smooth, then strain liquid mixture into pitcher or bowl. Discard solids. Add water to lychee lemonade and stir to combine.
  3. Strain the tea leaves from the Thai tea mix, then let cool. Take a glass with ice and fill about 1/3 with tea, another 1/3 with lychee lemonade, and stir. Add coconut milk to taste.
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