Thai Food: pictures tell all !

20130127-111010.jpgSo 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.
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Fruits have been the highlight – fresh and wonderful to eat anytime:
20130127-111547.jpgFruit shaped and colored sweets at night market:20130127-111958.jpg
Try it all and don’t look back is our current motto. Bon Apetit!!

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Stuffed Thai Pineapple

20130125-114517.jpg 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.
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Phangnga Province: Reclining Buddha vs. James Bond

20130124-182948.jpgAfter 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!
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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.
20130124-182640.jpgIn 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…
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Food & Culture Hunt at Khao Lak

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We took a short trip to Khao Lak center to check out the food and shopping scene. It is a long strip lined on both sides of the street with restaurants, and shops. This area was devastated by the Tsunami and one can still see the damage and people trying to recover. Very humbling to be here and be at Thai people’s hospitality.

Shops are not that interesting as they are filled with chackies, nick nacks, and knock off designer bags and clothing. But the scene is colorful. Tip: go in the late afternoon, it is cooler and there will be more restaurants that are open.

Hand carved soaps:
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Things that crack you up:
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And of course McDonalds: as disappointing to see, but also it is funny…
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Lunch at a sidewalk restaurant: morning glory veggies and spicy seafood dish (remember to ask for the rice). Fresh black and green peppercorns were the hit of the dish! 4 people, 4 dishes, 1 large beer, 1 fresh coconut juice = 700 baht ($23.54).
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Per G’s friend Iris from Taiwan, we stopped at a 7eleven to look for ‘birds nest drink and seaweed snacks’. We found both and more to try:
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Birds Nest and Collagen Drink: we drank both right away… both are made from some fruits, no added sugar. We suspect we would have to drink a whole bunch to see any effect. Was so fun and surprising to try them.
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First Thai Massage

20130121-125453.jpgWe waited for our trip to Thailand to have an authentic Thai massage. The wait was well worth it… now we have a great baseline to judge any other Thai massage we get anywhere else in the world.

Day after our arrival we booked our Thai outdoor massages. Unlike other types of massages, Thai massage can be done with loose clothes on and they don’t use any oil or cremes. It is done with the fingers and palms of hand.

The outdoor shaded and tranquil massage platforms put you in immediate relaxation mode. Here is our individual takes on the first time experience:

By B:
The medium pressure I requested was what I get normally when I ask for full pressure. Loved it and my limbs needed all the stretching. I am also sensitive to the energy of the practitioner, she was not transferring any of her energy to me! Amazing… this in turn led to my energy to be the one to get balanced, distributed. This is a remarkable thing to happen and you will know it only when it happens to you. I was thankful! and a few inches taller when I got off the bed (always a good thing).

By G:
It is a must have, I highly recommend it. Certain massage points had a positive effect on my internal organs and felt more regulated. The medium pressure was too hard for me, but got used to it. When done, I was transported; got in full vacation mode!

Surprise! We are in Thailand!

20130119-113140.jpgWe made it to our final destination… Phuket, Thailand. Sawatdee!! Hello

Woke up to a 90 degree weather, nice light breeze and a huge beach…

Taking a cab from the airport was an experience in itself; the chaos of tourists ripe for picking by the smart locals is a scene. So stay on course to go and just get in line for Taxi Meter. Don’t talk to hawkers who will try to bargain with you unless you mean it an you can drive a hard bargain.
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Let the exchange rate sink in… last night our first dinner here was a large plate of fresh grilled seafood and veggies for two – it was amazing. We paid 500 Baht which is about $17 USD. Hard to believe…

Activities for today will include a Thai massage and fully exploring the Andaman sea.
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Kapkun ka… thank you.
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