Asia Update 3

Bangkok was once described as an intriguing combination of heaven and hell and I couldn’t agree more, though it’s one of my favorite places to visit.  This time we were a large group though not everyone was there at the same time which only added to the giddy confusion that makes Bangkok so much fun.

A highlight of the week was a trek through the rain and puddles at Khlong Toey, the main wholesale food market of the city.  There was an amazing profusion of vegetables, herbs, and chilies, as well as fish, shellfish, and a lot of very anatomically correct looking meat.  The link above is a page about Bangkok markets where you’ll also find a map of the area around Khlong Toey.

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Chilies and more chilies...

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Fresh banana blossoms for salad

One evening my friend Jennifer and I met our Thai friends Chaiyuth and Sam for an exceptional dinner at Krua Apsorn, run by the family of a woman who was once the chef for the Thai King’s mobile kitchen.  Of course we had all the specialties including crabmeat sautéed with curry powder; mussels with chilies and Thai basil; and larp het, a spicy northern Thai salad of mushrooms and ground meat with chilies, mint, cilantro, and a puckery lime dressing.  After dinner Sam offered to show Jennifer and me how to prepare the crab, so the next day we met him at his small restaurant in the northern part of Bangkok and had a lesson from Chef Sam. 

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Chef Sam and his crabmeat with curry powder

The high point of the entire week was a visit to nahm, David Thompson’s brand new Bangkok restaurant.  Though Thompson earned a Michelin star for his nahm in London, Thai traditionalists were up in arms over a foreign chef cooking Thai food in Bangkok.   Photographer and Thai food blogger extraordinaire Austin Bush joined Jennifer and me for a meal of the most exquisite Thai food I’ve ever tasted.  Here’s Austin’s post about the dinner which does it a lot more justice than I can.  Among the desserts, we enjoyed some fascinating little crisp pastries that had been smoked with a jasmine-scented candle.

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Minced prawn and cucumber salad, photo courtesy of nahm Bangkok

A little more shopping and restaurant hopping and my Thai adventure soon came to an end.

Next stop, Zurich…