Not really a dish you would expect in an Asian country. Since Luang Praban has been named UNESCO World Heritage in the ‘90s it has been bombarded with hordes of tourists, who enjoy the Buddhist temples and colonial architecture. Many locals are happy with the new found business, but many others are not. The unique ambiance a place can bring about can become irreversibly replaced by a new tourist mood that could be found in touristic places all over the world. The frustration locals have with the large-scale flow of tourists is apparent on signs that decorate the city, informing tourists that they are not to participate in Buddhist rituals if they are not really Buddhist and that they should not treat the monks like “monkeys in a zoo.” Nevertheless, the clash between Western tourists and locals also has an upside: the best dishes and ingredients of both worlds are combined. Italian/American Ceasar salad meets mango. Enjoy!
During our cooking course in Chiang Mai, we asked the course director if we could make Massaman Curry. The course director looked at me quizzically and asked: “do you have a sweet tooth?” “Yes,” I said. And then he said: “Do you really like potatoes?” “Yes,” I said, as I started to get nervous about the intensity of this dish. The name is also promising, in our mother tongue Dutch, Massaman means something along the lines of a really massive man. How intense was this dish going to be? Very, it turned out. If you have already eaten, it is hard to eat. But if you are hungry it can be the best thing you’ve tasted in years. Enjoy!
“This place is famous for its mango ice Crush,” our resident foodie tour guide in Kuala Lumpur told us. We had just been lost in the jungle of Sumatra without any food or water for three days, quickly recovered, and flew away from Sumatra as soon was we could. We went to Kuala Lumpur and were greeted by the best Couchsurfing host we could have ever had under the circumstances: Meng Zhen. A recently graduated psychologist who knew everything about the Kuala Lumpur dining scene. He brought us to a separate restaurant for pretty much every course we had. Appetizer in restaurant one, snack at restaurant number two, entrees in restaurant number three, main course in restaurant number four, and last but not least, a great dessert in restaurant number five. This place was very popular with the locals and, even though it was late at night, we had to wait for a table.
When in Indonesia, do as the Indonesians do and visit a traditional tofu factory. It was very interesting to see how they make tofu and it’s easy enough for you to do at home too. Now I know what you are thinking: “I’m not going to make my own tofu if you can buy it in the store!” But your own tofu will taste a whole lot better. If you are still not convinced, you might enjoy seeing how tofu is made instead of doing it yourself.
While in Jakarta we Couchsurfed at Rio and Diana’s, a very nice couple we had already met through Couchsurfing in Amsterdam. They lived in a lively neighborhood. Every morning and evening street venders would mobilize their merchandise and walk/bike/drive through the narrow streets of this neighborhood, selling their products to the residents. The range of products was diverse. Pastries, chicken porridge, newspapers, vegetables, plastic household articles, garden plants, fruits, sate, gado gado, nasi goreng, pretty much anything you could ever need to get through the day.
The bulk of the Thai diet is Tom Yam, Tom Yam and more Tom Yam. Every self-respecting restaurant has a number of different versions of Tom Yam soups on their menu. This is the basic Thai dish, and as all Thai dishes, it is delicious.