Food Center

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This page shows delicious Asian food as seen in the streets of Bangkok and some popular Thai recipes.

On the Street - You will find eating places just about everywhere. Outside shopping malls, inside market areas, along the pavement, anywhere a cart and a few fold-up tables and chairs can be placed. Don't miss out on these places as they offer the kind of cheap and tasty food you won't find in normal tourist restaurants.

If you're concerned about hygiene, take a look for yourself. The basic rule of thumb - if the food looks fresh, the oil in the pan isn't dark sludgy brown and the food is cooked in front of you, it's generally safe to eat. Go at lunchtime, when food is freshest (it hasn't been hanging around in the heat of the day) and when you can generally get a better choice. Stir-frying, grilling and soup made from boiling water offer safe cooking methods. Avoid eating anything raw as this may have been washed in contaminated water and avoid crushed ice which might have come from a dubious source. Follow these basic rules and go for it!

Good choices include barbecued chicken and sticky (glutinous) rice, (Gai Yang and Khao Neeow) often found at roadside stalls, spicy green papaya salad (Som Tum) Noodle soup, chicken with yellow rice and fried garlic (Khao Mok Gai) or Pad Thai - a delicious fried noodle dish with a host of ingredients including peanuts, shallots, dried shrimp and tofu - just a few of the lunchtime favourites.

Thai sweets, often eaten at any time of the day as a snack are quite delicious, but some may require a cultural adjustment. Vegetables and beans get the sweet treatment in ice cream and some other Thai desserts. Kidney beans and sweetcorn are served with sugar syrup, shaved ice and topped with cordial and condensed milk. Sounds like a strange combination but the texture and sweetness combine to make a unique taste. Pandanus leaves make a perfect wrapping for other types of Thai sweets made from a variety of local ingredients like coconut cream and rice, delicately flavoured with jasmine essence. At one or two Thai Baht each they're definitely worth a taste.

Tom Yang Gung

This is definitely a recipe that you can only balance by taste -- tom yum goong should never be bland, but hot and sour.

4 cups water, 1 cup shrimp, 5 mushrooms, 1-2 limes , 1 lemon grass, 3 kaffir lime leaves, 2 tablespoon fish sauce, 5 sprigs cilantro, 3 chili peppers, 1 tablespoon nam prig pow (optional)

Unfortunately, for the true taste, it is difficult to substitute anything for the kaffir lime leaves. The richness of the sour taste comes from the complement of the different citrus flavored ingredients. If you don't like it hot, cut down on the chili peppers or do not cut them up, but leave them whole for decoration. Start boiling the water in a 2 quart pot. Peel and devein the shrimp and set them aside. Cut lemon grass into pieces, 5-6 inches long. Use the back of your knife to pound the lemon grass, just to bruise it to release the flavor. If you want, you can tie the lemon grass into a knot to make it easier to manage. Drop the lemon grass in water and let boil for 5 minutes. Put the fish sauce and 1 lime's juice into the bottom of the bowls you will serve the soup in. Crush chili pepper and add to the bowl. Remove the stems from the kaffir lime leaves and add the leafy part to the pot. Clean and halve the mushrooms and add them to the pot. Add the shrimp and turn off the heat. Shrimp gets too tough very quickly, and will cook even when it is just sitting in the warm broth. Scoop the shrimp and liquid into the serving bowls immediately. As soon as you add the liquid to the serving bowl, you will see that the broth becomes cloudy because of the lime juice. Add the nam prig pow. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Be very careful, the peppers can be hot. Take a small sip at a time. Add more fish sauce and/or lime juice if it tastes bland. It's right if it's good for your sinus.

Pad see ew

is a standard lunch fare among Thais. It is not difficult to make and tastes great. Normally people make it spicier at the table (not in the wok) by adding red pepper sauce.

1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 cup pork, thinly sliced, 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 2 cloves garlic, chopped, 1 lb fresh flat rice noodles, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, 1 lb Chinese broccoli,

For a vegetarian version, skip the pork. Add firm tofu if you like. Dark soy sauce gives the noodles the color while light soy sauce seasons the dish. If Chinese broccoli is tough to find where you live, try kale or regular broccoli. If your fresh flat rice noodles are not pre-cut, cut them into strips of 3/4 inch wide. Cut Chinese broccoli into 2 inch long pieces. Halve the stems lengthwise because thick stems take longer to cook. You are going to want to cook them at the same time. Heat a wok to high heat and then add 2 tablespoons of oil. Drop in the chopped garlic and stir. Add the sliced pork. Stir to cook the pork. When the pork is somewhat cooked or turned from pink to light brown, add rice noodles. Stir to break up the noodles. Add light and dark soy sauce and sugar. Stir to mix the seasonings into the noodles and pork. Open a spot in the middle of the pan, and drop the egg in. Scramble the egg until it is almost all cooked (not watery any more). Fold in the noodles and mix them all. Add the Chinese broccoli, stems first. I usually add half of the Chinese broccoli and stir until it wilts and then add the rest. But if you have room in your wok, you can cook all the Chinese broccoli at once. As soon as the Chinese broccoli is cooked, turn off the heat. Put on a serving plate and sprinkle white pepper on top. Serve with the usual noodles condiments; sugar, fish sauce, vinegar and dried ground pepper. I usually like mine with ground chili peppers and vinegar.

Laab

also known as Larb and Laap, is a northeastern food. It usually eaten as a part of a set (laab, papaya salad and sticky rice.) The set is accompanied by string beans, sliver of cabbage, water spinach and Thai basil. It can be served as an appetizer. It can also be served as a main course along with other non-northeastern food. There are variations of laab, duck laab, chicken laab. 1 tablespoon toasted rice, 1/4 shallot, thinly sliced, 1-2 limes, 1/2 lbs ground pork, 1/4 tablespoon ground dried chili pepper, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 5 sprigs cilantro, sliced, 3 sprigs spearmint (optional), 1 green onion, sliced (optional)

Substitute any ground meat for ground pork. Substitute red onion or just onion for shallot if you like. The spearmint adds zing to the laab. Squeeze juice from 1/3 of the lime on to the ground pork. Mix well and let it marinade for just a couple of minutes until you are ready to cook it. For this dish, people normally use a small pot; I use my cast iron pans because they can be heated up really hot, they retain heat well and heat evenly. Heat up a pan on high until it is very hot. Add two tablespoons of water and then immediately add your marinated pork and stir. The pork will stick to the pan at first, but then the juice will come out and the meat will loosen from the bottom. Keep stirring until the pork is well done. Traditionally, the pork is undercooked, but I do not recommend undercooking pork for health reasons. Put the pork in a bowl a large mixing bowl that will hold all the ingredients. Add fish sauce, green onion, shallot, cilantro, the rest of the lime juice, ground chili pepper and almost all of toasted rice into the bowl. Save some toasted rice to sprinkle on top for garnish. Mix well and taste. It should be a little bit hot. You should be able to taste tartness from the lime juice and the fish sauce. If you need to add more fish sauce or lime juice, don't be afraid. Getting the flavor balance right is a trial and error process. Put the mixed ingredients in a serving bowl, garnish with spearmint and sprinkle the rest of toasted rice on top. Serve with vegetables like cabbage, green beans, lettuce and Thai basil.

Chicken curry

is so common that you will find it at any to-go curry vendors in Thailand. Chicken curry is eaten with rice or 'kanom jeen' noodles. You can see chicken curry's popularity when you go to a temple in Thailand; Thai people frequently bring the classic dishes like chicken curry to feed the monks and other temple patrons.

3 cups water, 3-5 sprigs Thai basil , 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1/2 lb eggplant, 1 tablespoon red curry paste, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 chicken breast,
(2-4 servings)

You may use Thai eggplants, the golf ball size ones. But, they can be difficult to find. Regular eggplants that you find in supermarkets are a good substitute. If you have the Thai eggplants, cut them up into quarters. If you have the regular eggplants, cut them into bite size pieces. Wash and pick the basil leaves. Cut up the chicken into bite size pieces. If you have this dish in Thailand, you will see that the chicken comes with bones. All parts such as legs and thighs can be used. The bones make the curry more flavorful. Pour half of the coconut milk into a large pot, over low to medium low heat. Add the red curry paste. Break up the paste and mix it with coconut milk. Stir constantly. Lower the heat if it splatters too much. Add chicken when you see red oil bubbling on top. Stir and coat chicken with curry sauce. Add the eggplant when chicken starts to turn white. Add the rest of the coconut milk and water and the fish sauce. Let it boil until all the eggplant pieces turn dark and tender. The longer you boil the curry, the thicker the curry becomes because the eggplant disintegrates and thickens the sauce. Add the basil leaves just before you serve and make sure the leaves are submerged quickly in the curry to preserve the color. Serve hot with rice or rice noodles.

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