Ok, finally I decided to write about my obsession with anything coconut. Have always really liked coconut, but about few years ago got more serious as I learned more about the healthy benefits of coconut.
Coconut is another miracle of nature that is yummy and smells amazing. So many uses for this amazing nut – hard not to love it.
Coconut Juice and Flesh Best way to experience this is to have fresh coconuts. I will never forget the coconuts in Thailand. Last year, during our trip to Thailand coconut juice became our official drink. We were delighted to also discover we could scrape and eat the flesh. Coconut juice is more hydrating than water.
Coconut Flakes Coconut flakes come in various shapes and sizes. Most common use is in baking. I love the large hefty flakes that I can crunch and taste the coconut flavor. I use them in the mornings: little yogurt, blueberries, and coconut flakes!
Coconut Butter Warning – if you read beyond this section we will not be responsible for your coconut addiction.
Coconut butter is great for cooking, baking, or just as a spread on a piece of good bread. BUT mixing couple spoonfuls mixed with dark cocoa powder makes the best impromptu desert!!
Coconut Oil Yes, you can cook with it. BUT even more importantly you can use it for your skin and hair. I am close to ditching my body lotion altogether and completely switch over to coconut oil. It is important to emphasize you should use organic cold pressed virgin coconut oil. If your hair is too fine you may not want to use it besides as a mask to nourish the hair. But if you are sporting a bushy lush head of hair – your hair will love you for using coconut oil. Btw – if you live in a cold climate the coconut oil will naturally solidify, that does not mean it is bad. This is normal, it will easily turn liquid with a bit of warmth.
We love matcha tea and want to share our excitement with you. While in Thailand, one day we popped into a cute cafe to have coffee, instead we had Matcha Latte!! We had the tea before but not as a latte … was love at first sip!!
So we bought some matcha tea before we left Thailand so we could recreate that delightful drink at home; to sip and remember our surprise discovery at the cute cafe.
Unlike other teas that come in dried leaves, pearls, or tea bags… matcha is ground to a powder and its bright green. If you never had it before, here is what Matcha is looks like:
Make sure you are buying it from a tea shop or market that turns through product, to ensure you are buying a fresh batch.
Matcha has great health benefits; it is the super antioxidant! Matcha green tea possesses antioxidant levels 6.2 times that of goji berries, 7 times that of dark chocolate, 17 times that of wild blueberries and 60.5 times that of spinach!
How to make matcha latte at home:
1 1/2 cup milk or soy milk
2 heaping teaspoons of matcha, less or more as you prefer
1 small cube of sugar
Bring milk to near boil – add the cube year and stir. Melt matcha in little bit of the hot milk or hot water, whisk till smooth paste. I prefer to melt it in the milk, but some claim you get better result with hot water. Then add the paste to the milk and whisk to create a light foam. Pour into your favorite cup and enjoy it.
As you can see I really like my latte with a lot of matcha. You can adjust how much you use based on your preference. Hope you try this great drink. Here is to your health!!
Sadly this is our last post from Thailand. Good times go by fast…
We had the best send off: a trip to Similian Islands. We took a boat out to the Similian islands, about hour and a half away from our resort. Our journey started with a surprise – one engine blew and had to wait for it to be fixed.
The crew was really fun and experienced. We had a great time before we arrived at the first island #9, as they called it. We had an hour and fifteen minutes to relax, swim and explore. Only disappointment was the amount if garbage on the beach. we could not tell if the tourists made it or it just washed off from the ocean. Sad to see… we hope there will be some clean up effort or we will have to start one up! Then we headed to #8 for snorkeling. We stopped counting the number of fish variety we saw. We also went to #5 and #4 – for more snorkeling and beach time.
We were blown away by the beach and clarity of waters at our last stop. Took us 20 minute to get over the amazement – powder white clean beach, crystal clear waters and fish that swim and dance around us even by the shore. One can only be humbled and feel blessed by this miracle of nature.
Thankfully, Thai government has shut down some of the islands and they are not accessible. They are being preserved for nature and sea turtles to lay eggs and continue the circle of life. We will miss Thailand and Thai people – thank you for the memories, and grace.
Among top 5 things we will miss from Thailand is the massages we had almost daily. We tried various types and places. Given how cheap it is compared to USA/Europe, it would be a shame to come here and not indulge fully. We have not encountered male massage therapist in this area, they are all female. Here is our take on what we have tried…
500 baht for 1hour massage for two people. This is the cheapest option, done by locals on roofed platforms. Outdoors by the beach; nice to hear the soothing ocean, but passerby traffic could be distracting. Also products they use are not the best, but still great technique and you leave refreshed and feeling better.
600 baht per person for 1hour body and half an hour head massage. Indoors, slightly upper scale than a complete dive. I had a near medical experience during my coconut head and body massage; think she almost cured my back problems. G’s shoulder and neck felt better than ever. J was regretful that she did not try Silk Spa. We just need to go again!
4,800 baht for an hour and fifty minute package of body wrap, aromatherapy massage, and a facial. We think it is a great deal. Tried Aloe, Spirulina, and Coconut variety; all great. They had a buy 1 get 1 free — needless to say we have been great customers. J had an after sun package today; it was so good, she is still in trans — we like her even more like that. A Spa though pricier than the other options will guarantee higher quality and cleanliness, quiet contemplative atmosphere.
We feel lucky to have tried them all and can now testify to the medical and psychological benefits of Thai massage techniques. Our thighs also agree… Only problem is that our vacation is nearing the end and we are not sure how we will cope with not doing this almost every day.
You can’t visit Thailand and not check out the local markets. We have specifically found out the area local markets to get a better flavor of how people live, eat, and shop here.
Half an hour from our resort, Takuapa market beckoned… The main street is converted to a local market, lined by stands on both sides. The market is visited by as many locals as tourists. The entrance is dominated by fruit and food stands….
Locals helped us decipher some of the food — they are really gracious and kind. However some of the foods still remained a mystery such as the ‘angry birds’ skewers.
We don’t know the name of this amazing desert but we decided to call it ‘fluffy coconut pillows’ after eating 3 plates of it. Watching how they were made was as good as eating them, a must have!
Another coconut desert:
Grape like fruits, perfect for the hot weather:
There was some serious deep frying action of pork, duck, and chicken — the chicken was delicious.
These large terra-cotta jars held some type of a drink. And people drank them with the cups shown in front or in nylon bags. Our regret is that we did not try it. Don’t do what we did – go for it.
Latter part of the market is stalls, stands and little shops for all sorts of clothing. Majority of which I geared towards locals, but you might surprise yourself and find something as well. G and I found fisherman’s cotton pants at a stall for 100 baht; delighted to find something cultural that we can wear too.
Bargaining Tips: paying the first price will ensure you overpaying. So even if you are not the bargaining type, offer a lesser price. Do not insult the merchant by offering a ridiculous price e.g. for 400 baht do not offer 100, starting at 250 is a better route. And keep remembering that what you are paying is a fraction of your currency, you are still saving a lot.
Local markets are a delight and a great way to see and learn about the culture. Get out there and explore!
We are in awe of the Andaman sea. It is like a giant hug: warm, wide, and welcoming.
The beach is broad, light yellow sand and clean, making it perfect for long walks. The surface is pockmarked with crab holes, and other sealife… making for an endless fascination.
The water temperature is perfect; warm enough and cold enough for a good swim or lull in water. It is shallow for a few meters making it a relaxing swim.
For 3 days every evening rain clouds gathered and it poured… watching the sea and sky change, listening to the rain from the safety of the sheltered swings on our beach is priceless.
The Andaman sea rises advances every morning. As the afternoon rolls it starts slowly retracting. Love watching it and getting dizzy… we realized we have even forgotten what day it is!! This is the gift of Andaman sea.
So far we have sampled a wide variety of Thai foods. From fancy restaurants to street vendors… pictures tell our food journey. And no we did not get sick by eating street foods so far.
Last night we ate a churro like dessert from the sidewalk vendor at the Phuket night market. After deep frying it in age old oil, they sprinkle it with strawberry or chocolate powder, or just sugar. Simply delicious!
Lunch spread at the Phangnga area Muslim village:
This was a Muslim community completely living on water. They cooked, dried, grounded, preserved all sorts of foods. Fruits have been the highlight – fresh and wonderful to eat anytime: Fruit shaped and colored sweets at night market:
Try it all and don’t look back is our current motto. Bon Apetit!!
Last night I tried the stuffed Pineapple. Stuffing is made from rice, raisins and currants, small Pineapple and carrot cubes, scrambled eggs, and it was delicately spiced with saffron. As I enjoyed it, it definitely reminded me of various rice dishes from the Middle East.
Regarding service… don’t expect much then you will be delighted. Some places don’t have a sense of service, speak almost no english, and you could be sitting a while without anyone paying attention. However, there are also some places where service is impeccable. Remember… you are on vacation so we recommend that you roll with it!!
J’s favorite drink: Freshly Mint, sans alcohol, a cocktail made with fresh lime and mint with crushed ice. The only thing that cools me off in this 90 degree heat is this cooling drink.
After an hour and half ride to Phangnga province, we took a long tail boat to the mangroves and the James Bond island.The landscape of the mangroves and surrounding islands were so captivating. The waters are murky and unfortunately not clean; swimming plastic bottles are common scene.
We took a canoe ride in and out of the limestone caves, inlets… our canoe driver was a trip – he made the trip memorable and showed us the small walking fish. We barely know few words of Thai, he was surprised that we even spoke any!
James Bond island, originally named Tapoo, is the one where they filmed ‘The Man with Golden Gun’ in 1974. It was too crowded as expected but worth seeing while in the area. They have put shops on the island detracting from its natural beauty. In contrast, we drove to the Reclining Buddha Wat (more than 300 years old)… The monkeys that live above the cave and up the mountain greet you. They are docile and mainly want to eat food and be curious. The door is adorned; the huge cave is a refuge from the heat and outside worries. Hard to meditate amongst the noisy tourists, but hard not to stare at the 15 meter reclining Buddha and feel serenity wash over you. Trivialities of our lives past before us…