Category Archives: Food

Indo Food

 

Fried Seafood Platter

Fried Seafood Platter

 

I can’t say this is very Balinese, or Indonesian food, if anything it is probably more English and picked up by the Aussies.  Since Bali is a big Aussie holiday destination, many restaurants cater to their tastes.  I still can’t understand flying around the world, or even going to another culturally rich place and eating your nationality’s local food.  Generally this is just asking for disappointment.  With all that said.  This was a pretty great meal, which is why I added it to the blog.

 

Fried Fish and Goreng (rice)

Fried Fish and Goreng (rice)

 

This was course one of like a 38 course meal that I had in Java with the Pow crew and the managers from the factory they do their production in.  The food just kept coming out.  By the end they basically had to roll me out.  This was only lunch.

 

After The Feast

After The Feast

 

 

Dinner in the middle of Java with the Goss family and POW crew.

Dinner in the middle of Java with the Goss family and POW crew.

 

After a great tour of Dustin’s brothers plywood mill, we went out for a great dinner.

 

Snake Fruit

Snake Fruit

 

This is at Dustin’s Brothers house.  We had a pancake breakfast with Indonesian coffee which is amazing, and fresh fruit.  As I sat after eating, and sipping coffee, I noticed this fruit in the bowl on the table.  I grabbed it and asked what it was.  The response was snake fruit on account of the skin looking like snake scales.  I peeled it and took a bite.  It kinda tastes like a combination between a chestnut and an apple.  The taste is very subtle and fragrant.  Really nice!

 

Bintang!

Bintang!

 

If your a surfer, even if you have never been to Indo, you have seen and heard of Bintang.  It is funny how so many regions are known for their beers, even when the locals don’t really drink beer.  Hooray for westerners……

 

Young Coconut

Young Coconut

 

 

Coconut Water

Coconut Water

 

Coconuts are the life fruit of the tropics.

 

Massive Seafood Dinner

Massive Seafood Dinner

 

This is another massive factory sponsored dinner in Jakarta.  I have never been part of something this crazy.  Even over 5 tables we still didn’t have enough room for all the plates.  This restaurant was like Disney World took over a seafood restaurant……..in Jakarta

 

No room for anymore plates.

No room for anymore plates.

 

 

Fried Fish

Fried Fish

 

 

Take Your Pick

Take Your Pick

 

 

Prawns, Calamari, and everything else!

Prawns, Calamari, and everything else!

 

 

Bamboo Clams

Bamboo Clams

 

Bamboo clams are named this because they live in a shell that looks like bamboo and they poke out the end to feed.  Very weird and very weird to eat.

 

Rock Lobster, Lancosta or Crawfish.  Whatever you call them, they are delicious!

Rock Lobster, langostas or crawfish. Whatever you call them, they are delicious!

 

 

No more room for plates.

No more room for plates.

 

 

Grilled Fish

Grilled Fish

 

 

Quail Soup

Quail Soup

 

This was eaten at a Chinese restaurant in Jakarta, so not really Indonesian.  I liked it because not only was it tasty (like chicken soup) it was served in a bamboo segment.

 

Indonesian Frog Legs

Indonesian Frog Legs

 

 

Black Eggs

Black Eggs

 

Don’t know what these are….I think they are hard boiled eggs soaked in soy sauce.  Pretty good.

 

Satay!

Satay!

 

Classic Indo food.  Grilled meat, usually chicken or beef and smothered in a peanut sauce.  Excellent!

 

Sop Buntut (Indonesian Oxtail Soup)

Sop Buntut (Indonesian Oxtail Soup)

 

This became one of my favorites.  Its oxtail soup.  You get to add the rice and goodies into the broth.  The oxtail ends up being super tender.

Most Perfect Food In The World

I think it could be said that Thailand just got dumb lucky when it came to food development.  They just happened to situated in a prefect geographical location to combine the regions spices, tropical gifts, and seafood that make Thai food the most perfectly balanced food in the world.  Now I am not saying that it is the “best” food in the world, that would be a subjective opinion that is impossible to make as a statement.  Plus how could you argue that Italy doesn’t have a “best” dish on its day, or France, or Japan.  What I am saying is that when you grade the food on balance of taste there just isn’t much that can stand up to an amazing Thai curry.  There are not many other dishes in the world where every bite stimulates taste buds without numbing them.  Every taste of a Thai curry is like the first, how is that possible?  Maybe someday a gastro-scientist can explain this to me, but in the end I don’t really care why it happens, I am just happy that it does.

I figured an entire post should be devoted to the food Scotty and I ate in South East Asia between northern Thailand and Laos.  Travel is truly enjoyable when you look forward to eating everyday and never get tired of eating the same type of food over the duration of the trip.

So here we go!

Pad Thai Street Stand

Pad Thai Street Stand

When I first arrived, Scotty took me to get spring rolls and Pad Thai from one of the many street food carts on Khao San Road in Bangkok.  This type of dish isn’t really eaten by the locals and is really for the throngs of international travelers. A great snack though, and at around $1-2 USD a good little bargain.

Sweaty pad thai and spring roll snack.

Sweaty pad thai and spring roll snack.

Spring Roll Cart

Spring Roll Cart

One of my first Thai meals of the trip.

One of my first Thai meals of the trip.

This is one of the first meals I had in Thailand.  Upper left is spring rolls with ham.  Upper right is a red curry, which I think is probably the best dish in Thailand, although I’m sure I would get an argument out of many for this distinction.  To the lower left is basil noodles, these where amazing because the basil is fried and crunchy then mixed with noodles and steamed veggies.

Food at the great restaurant that we could not read the name of.

Food at the great restaurant that we could not read the name of.

This was at the restaurant that Scotty’s friend Duncan took us to.  It has been around forever and is a family run joint in the heart of the business and high end district of Bangkok.  Their specialty was cockles, or little fresh water clams.  These where drowned in an oyster sauce and where delicious.  The other dish is a prawn salad which came up a distant second compared to the cockles.

If you can read the name of this place, please let me know what it is!

If you can read the name of this place, please let me know what it is!

So, After I first posted this entry, a friend from the USA wrote a comment that a colleague of his knew of this restaurant and gave him the name.  Its is called Yong Lee Restaurant.  So there you go, ask and you shale receive!

Ohh Man!

Ohh Man!

Yellow Curry and some kind of soup I ordered that I can’t remember the name of now.  The soup was for like 2-3 people.  Of course I ate almost all of it myself.  Look how fat I am in the picture below.  Good thing I got a nasty stomach parasite half way through Laos and that helped me take off a few pounds….it also almost killed me.  You know when people sometimes wish they had a parasite to help them loose weight, guess what, you really, really don’t want one.

All fat and sweaty.  This meal was spicy, combined with the tropical heat, and my lack of warm weather blood, and you get this mess.

All fat and sweaty. This meal was spicy, combined with the tropical heat, and my lack of warm weather blood, and you get this mess.

Yum!

Yum!

Spicy Seafood Salad

Spicy Seafood Salad

This is easily the spiciest thing I have ever eaten.  We where in Northern Thailand, near Chang Mai.  It was probably about 102 degrees (39 C) and we where sitting around a shallow lake at this cool little bungalow style restaurant.   When I ate this, I almost choked.  I started to get dizzy and my ears actually puckered.  I couldn’t talk, think, move or do anything at all.  The dish tasted great though!

Great Appetizer!

Great Appetizer!

This was a nice little appetizer that we where shown at the Thai cooking course we took.  It is beetle nut leaves, with diced ginger, roasted peanuts, roasted garlic, lime, shallot, and green (bomb) chillies. You fold it all up in the beetle nut leaves, drizzle a little sesame oil sauce over it and enjoy.

All rolled up and ready to munch.

All rolled up and ready to munch.

Tom Yum and red curry we made at class.

Tom Yum and red curry we made at class.

What makes the curries so good in Thailand?  Well for me it is the perfect balance of the spice of the curry powder/paste with the sweetness of the base.  Sometimes its just added sugar, but most times it is the coconut milk/paste that is added to make the Thai curries more soupy than that of there Indian counterparts.  I think this is where the perfection occurs. The fact that Thailand had the tropical coast lines to support coconut, with the proximity to India for the spices was the geographical dumb luck that everyone in the world is now fortunate enough to enjoy.

More tom yum, and a masaman curry I made in class.

More tom yum, and a masaman curry I made in class.

The masaman curry is less soupy than some of the other curries.  It is also sweeter and therefor less spicy.  This might be my favorite dish.

Laap and Brown Rice

Laap and Brown Rice

This is Laap that I had in the northern city of Pai in Thailand.  It is actually the national dish of Laos I found out later.  It is made by dicing up meat like beef, chicken, pork or even fish.  It is then cooked with mild spices and tossed with fresh mint.  I have to say that the mint is magical, it gives the dish this great fresh flavor that will keep you coming back.  The rice shown in this picture is brown rice, but in Laos we would often eat our meals with sticky rice, which is exactly what it sounds like.  The rice sticks together and you roll it between your fingers and eat the balled up rice with you main dish.

The best curry we had? Very possible!

The best curry we had? Very possible!

This red chicken curry I had in Pai was probably the best curry I had on the trip. In the upper corner you can see a mug of thai iced tea.  This may be my favorite beverage on the planet (well non-alcoholic drink).  It is thick thai tea mixed with soy milk.  It is sweet with a heavy back tea taste. Try it sometime, I’m sure you will love it!

We where at this cool little restaurant with about 6 tables down a small alley way near the river.  It was called the Curry Shack.  If your ever in Pai I would highly suggest hitting this cool little place for a dinner one night.  The owner was super friendly as well and we had a nice chat with him as he closed up for the night.

Green Curry in Luang Prabang

Green Curry in Luang Prabang

Scotty got this green tofu curry in Luang Prabang.

Papaya Salad

Papaya Salad

Papaya salad seems to be a staple at every place we went.  I’m not sure if it is everywhere because westerners like it, or its just a regional favorite.  I always had a problem with papaya salad however.  If it was made with very, very light fish sauce I liked it.  It is a nice crunchy veggie salad with shaved papaya, carrots, and various other veggies.  Often the cook might go heavy on the fish sauce, and as our cooking teacher said, “Fish sauce, smells terrible, tastes great.”  This is normally true when its cooked in with something, but when tossed in with a salad I found it to smell like wet dog that has been left in a small room and has pooped someplace and it hasn’t been cleaned in like months…you know the smell, everyone had a friend that had a room in or around their house that had this problem.  The taste isn’t bad, although when really heavy the small and taste start to combine. I pretty much found papaya salad to be like eating stinky cheese.

Night Market Feast in Luang Prabang

Night Market Feast in Luang Prabang

On our last night in Luang Prabang we found a food street in the night market in town. It was amazing.  There where probably 25 stalls lining a narrow alley and tables and chairs where set up cafeteria style all the way down.  Each place had several items on a counter, and we paid for a plate size (Small, Medium, Large) and scooped up food buffet style.

Pha on the loop in central Laos

Pha on the loop in central Laos

Pha, aka noodle soup is actually more of a Vietnamese staple soup.  However we ate a lot of it in Laos on the Loop due to nothing other than lack of language skills.  It can be ordered with beef or chicken usually, and as Scotty is a vegetarian, with no meat as well.  The best part is the fresh water crest and greens that come on the side.  To add some flavor there was usually a condiment platter on the table with various sauces like fish and sweet chilly along with salts and other tasty additions.

Various goodies under wraps at a food stall along the loop.

Various goodies under wraps at a food stall along the loop.

We where never adventurous enough to try any of these, but this was how many places where in Laos.  A buffet table out front and the eatery behind it.  Usually we just got Pha.  I wish I had a local with us…would have been epic to try some of this stuff.

Boohya! Food!

Thai Cooking Course

As Scotty and I planned out the trip in the first few days, Scott was pouring over notes and info that other travelers had given him.  I was delighted when he suggested that we take a cooking course while we were in the northern city of Chiang Mai.  It had been recommended by some of his Kiwi friends that had he had been traveling with earlier in the month.

As I set out on my expedition, I had always considered food as one of the main facets in which to focus on as I traveled.  I not only wanted to experience it from a consumption standpoint, but also analyze it from an ingredient, historic and culturally significant component of a place.  To do this effectively I really wanted to learn to cook various kinds of regional foods.  I always expected Asia to be the most exciting place to do this.

It has become a touristy activity to take a cooking course in Thailand, with cooking schools given in english, and booked from various hotels and backpackers all over the country. As I have learned with somethings, being touristy doesn’t matter or taint the experience much, and taking a cooking course was definitely one of these activities.

We booked the course from Julie House, our hostel in Chiang Mai for the afternoon.  The course was about 4 hours and included a tour and explanation of ingredients from the organic garden at the school, and a tip to a local market.

Here the teacher takes us through the garden of Thai ingredients.

Thai Ginger

Thai Ginger

Eggplant/Aubergine

Lime

Kaffir Lime

Kaffir Lime

Tum Leung

Tum Leung

Eggplant/Aubergine

Eggplant/Aubergine

Thai Chili.  They call these little bastards "bombs" for good reason.

Thai Chili. They call these little bastards "bombs" for good reason.

Ginger

Ginger

Lemon Basil. Yes it comes in the flavor!

Lemon Basil. Yes it comes in the flavor!

Sweet Basil

Sweet Basil

Crazy Long String Bean

Crazy Long String Bean

After the garden tour we headed down the road to the local market.

Veggies at Thailand Market

Veggies at Thailand Market

Veggies at Thailand Market

Veggies at Thailand Market

Lime and Chili

Lime and Chili

Bags of everything, and Scotty posing awkwardly.

Bags of everything, and Scotty posing awkwardly.

How many types of rice can you count?

How many types of rice can you count?

Fish

Fish

After the market we headed back to the kitchen.  We all sat around a long table, and decided what we wanted to make.  We had the opportunity to choose between 5 categories, and pick out 3 dishes to prepare.  As a group we had to pick 3 categories so that the school could shop and get us the ingredients.  From those 3 categories we where able to individually choose 3 dishes to assemble.

A great little appetizer.  Beetle nut leaves, lime, onion, ginger, roasted peanuts, and roasted almond. Tied together with a sesame sauce.

A great little appetizer. Beetle nut leaves, lime, onion, ginger, roasted peanuts, and roasted almond. Tied together with a sesame sauce.

Fold it all up in the beetle nut leave, drizzle a little sauce and....

Fold it all up in the beetle nut leave, drizzle a little sauce and....

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Getting ingredients for our individual dishes, and chopping.

Getting ingredients for our individual dishes, and chopping.

My Setup

My Setup

Getting ready to cook.

Getting ready to cook.

Scotty makes his first successful spring roll.

Scotty makes his first successful spring roll.

Making Our Second Course, Curries!

Making Our Second Course, Curries!

1,2,3 is the rule. 1 spoon of sugar, 2 dashes of fish sauce, 3 dashes of oyster sauce.

1,2,3 is the rule. 1 spoon of sugar, 2 dashes of fish sauce, 3 dashes of oyster sauce.

ME

ME

Scotty!

Scotty!

Tom yum and Marsamam Curry

Tom yum and Thai Red Curry

Tom Yum soup and Marsaman Curry

Tom Yum soup and Massaman Curry

Full on Kiwi Seafood Meals!

For the past few weeks I have been eating freshly caught Seafood.  I’ve been linking up with friends and been out boating and fishing for the past 3 weekends in a row.  I think I am comfortable enough here in New Zealand finally that I am gaining weight, which isn’t a good thing.  I have also been surfing a lot, so that may have something to do with it as well.  I guess if I’m going to get fat, it might as well be on some delicious home cooked meals, check them out:

Right off the boat, or a day after, we have eaten most of the fish we caught as fish and chips.  Usually the cook just flours or breads the fish and pan sears it, then they either roast potatoes, fry them in a shallow pan or bake them.

The beginnings of fish and chips

The beginnings of fish and chips

Scotty caught a massive snapper and brought over the belly section.  Apparently on big fish this is a tasty treat as the flesh tends to be very oily and tender.  Here in New Zealand the common way to prepare this is to smoke the section.  To do this a little portable smoker is used.  The smoke is made from burning Manuka (tea tree) wood chips.

Smoking Fish

Smoker on grill with oil dish burners under to burn the wood chips.

Matty closing up the smoker

This cray was at the boys flat.  Frasier had caught it on the weekend along with a king fish but had to go on a multi-day job interview.  He offered the cray and fish to us.  We ended up flash boiling the cray and then pan frying it the rest of the way through and ate with mayo, butter, salt and pepper.  Scotty ended up simply pan searing the king fish and added light seasoning.

Scotty and Crayfish

On the boat, the boys went snorkeling and came back with Paua or as we call it in the US, abalone.  This is a delicacy in many parts of the world and is extremely expensive, although not when you fish it from the sea!  It ends up being a little tough, but has a very mild taste.  I can almost equate the look and texture to undercooked portobello mushrooms.  The flavor is light, much like a clam.

The fish is a Red Snapper.  This one was small, so we just took the scales off and grilled it whole!

Grilling up Red Snapper and Paua (Abalone)

Here is another crayfish.  This one was caught by Rowan (Speedy) on the boat.  Pete split it and then grilled it, He added cheese afterward for a little twist.

Crayfish (rock lobster) split and ready to cook

After 2 weeks of fish and chips we decided to mix it up a little.  Scotty made up a veggie curry, and rice.  He then pan fried the snapper we caught that day, placed it over a bed of rice and poured the curry over top.  This was so good I almost threw up from over eating.

Scotty Staples's Curry Snapper

Scotty Cooking

Scotty Cooking

Scotty caught another massive snapper.  This one he decided to have commercially smoked. Basically the same process we did for the belly, but done in a refrigerator sized smoke house.

Smoked Snapper

Smoked Snapper

Holy Apples! Pies!

First you slice-a-da-apples!

First you slice-a-da-apples!

One of the other woofers (cleaners for accommodation) came to me a few days ago, and said she had found two apple trees on city property that where loaded with natures candy.  We decided to go relieve the tree from the weight of the fruit and get ourselves a couple bags or free apples.

It had been raining all morning, and was briskly cold….just like a harvest day back in Wayne County.  We grabbed a step ladder from Gilbert, (owner of Hogwartz) and drove out to the trees.  As I approached, the road narrowed to a ridiculous width (thanks Englishmen) and I crept the van through the corridor along a stone retaining wall on the left and a cliff retaining wall falling away to the right.  The tree was on a strip of grass about 2 feet wide overhanging the right side cliff retaining wall which fell about 15 feet to another stupidly narrow street and a few house back yards.

The step later was way to short for the job, and stood there, looking at the trees in the rain stumped on what to do.  Then in a stroke of genius, my companion suggested that we use the van as a latter, and we could use the roof as a picking platform.

In the pouring, cold rain, two morons decided to climb onto the roof of a van to pick apples and try not to slip off to there deaths.  I ended up climbing the tree, getting sludgy and muddy for a bushel of apples.  Somethings from my youth have come in handy. Thanks upstate NY apple growing country!

Rolling Pastry.  Not a bad kitchen for the job when I have it to myself.

Rolling Pastry. Not a bad kitchen for the job when I have it to myself.

We have been making pie and apple sauce for a week, and still have 6 bowls of apples.  I think I’m finally getting sick of them.

I used my Aunt Sandy’s recipe for the apple pie, it has cheddar cheese in it.  Everyone was skeptical, then they tasted it and that shut them all up!

Ready for a bake.

Ready for a bake.

Gowin and Yuko kind of helping me out

Gowin and Yuko kind of helping me out

Apple Sauce is stupid easy to make!

Apple Sauce is stupid easy to make!