03 June 2010

More choices of weird food in Thailand !

I had a chance to travel to the northeastern of Thailand. I was lucky to be there at the right time, because there is a big variety of foods in summer. So, I did not hesitate to try all of the rather unusual kinds of foods.

Grilled Cicada Eggs

Cicada eggs can be found in summer at local markets, especially in the northeast of Thailand.
These eggs are being wrapped in banana leaves and then grilled for a few minutes on a charcoal fire. When they are done, they will change their color to a deep red. Then you can either eat it with sticky rice or mashed. Don't forget to put a little bit salt on it. The taste is somewhat oily, the texture is crunchy and they pop in your mouth  nicely. Good actually!

Tadpole Soup

This kind of food comes with the rainy season. Before cooking, tadpoles have to be cleaned with water and taken the guts out from their body. You might wonder how local people take the guts out. They just press the tadpole's body until the guts come out through their anus. Then they are being cleaned again. The tadpoles, not the local people.
Tadpole soup is eaten with steamed or sticky rice. It tastes a bit spicy. Actually, Local people eats it with sticky rice. Sticky rice is the main staple food in the northeast of Thailand.

Fried Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are both served as local snack and main dish. But this bug can only be found during the summer season. So, you have to come to the right time. Otherwise, you will probably miss it.
The way to cook these bugs is easy. First, you have to rinse them. Then fry them on a pan and put some salt on them. Keep frying until they turn brown or yellow, which means the Stink bugs are now ready to be served. I had it for a snack, sure it smells stinky, but the taste is great.

Grilled Buffalo Skin

I want to say Wow! even though I know grilled buffalo skin well and had it many times before. It's a long-straight dark thick piece. After it is grilled, it looks different from what you see in the above picture. As you might already guess, it is really hard to chew. People still like to eat it, though, no matter how hard to chew, and they eat it with sticky rice.


22 April 2010

Talking about weird food, have you ever tried eggs?

Bear with me, you guessed right, I'm not talking about chicken nor duck eggs.
Imagine you are invited to join lunch or dinner with your new acquaintance's home family in the far northeast corner of Isaan. People gather on the floor, one dish after the other appears in big and small bowls and you realize your Thai host family is already giggling, because they can see on your face that you have no idea what is being served.

You can identify the roasted chicken, this might be braised duck over there, but what the heck are those oval shaped baby worms doing among all the other food? You have heard about weird food in Thailand, but now your imagination goes berserk. Fortunately, it doesn't wiggle or make any noise. Actually, this looks like eggs rather than worms and it seems to be the favorite of your Thai hosts, who now inevitably start to encourage you to try.
"We can only harvest it this time of the year" Sman, the head of your host family, explains, noticing your hesitation. "Come on, get a bite".

Of course, you will demand an explanation first, and what you hear is not to make it easier for you. 
These are ant eggs.

They come in size and color of small white beans. Looking at them closely, you can even see a tiny little black eyes. Some have developed what seem to be legs.

While you still consider your options, Sman goes on and on what great source of protein they are, let alone their delicious taste.
They are harvested from tree branches, you learn. People make their own tools by cutting a bamboo pole, which then is being sharpened at the tip. A bucket is being attached to the pole with ropes. The sharp tip of the pole is now pushed into the ant's nest and moved as long as necessary to make the eggs fall into the bucket.

Finally, he convinces you to try a bite. No, you don't want to be impolite and yes, you can already imagine how you can brag about it, back at home.

Milky, crunchy, oily. One egg popped nicely in your mouth, reminding you of fish eggs. Mmm...not bad actually.

Sman seems to be pleased with the expression on your face.
"Do you want another bowl of this?" "Another time" you reply politely, reaching for the bowl with chicken soup. Chicken soup? "You are a brave young man", Sman says, "I hope you are going to like our frog soup."

Ant Eggs Soup 

Ant Eggs Omelet


01 January 2010

Is traveling in Thailand by using public transport actually fun?

Traveling is one of the most exciting activities, whatever type of traveling you choose. It fulfills your desire and needs. Nowadays there are many traveling businesses which offer various tours to you, such as boat tour, trekking tour, historical tour or even health care tour. Before you travel, you basically have to make a plan ahead, where you want to visit, where to stay, what to do and how to go there etc. Additionally, you have to make a decision about transportation. 

If you decide to use public transport, you may come up with a question like: “Is it fun or not fun to travel by public means?” 

In Thailand, there are many kinds of public transportation including bus, train, motorcycle etc. which carry you from place to place, fast and slow. It depends on where you go.

To use public transport, there are several advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include, for instance - you encounter your new environment and surroundings more intimately, you will directly enjoy the landscape, people, villages etc., get in contact with local people without barriers, and you will be more flexible than going by organized transport. On the other hand, some of the disadvantages of using public transport: It might take a longer time to reach your destination than by going with an organized transport, you might encounter scamming people, there is always a chance to get lost, especially in a country where you don't speak the language, and last but not least, you will most likely have to deal with numerous connections.

Whenever I want to travel I always prefer public transport.
Furthermore, travel by using public means can support local business and local people. It also makes my travel much more adventurous. It’s exciting, fun and usually safer than one might think. For me using the same transport as locals do, unlike tourists, makes me feel a genuine traveler.

One of my fun experiences was to travel to Amphawa, Grove and Floating Market trip by train which connected with taxi and ferry boat. The whole trip took about 2.30 hours.

At first I took a train from Bangkok at Wong Wien Yai Railway Station to Mahachai. When I arrived at Mahachai I walked to the pier passing by the fresh market which is full of fresh seafood.

Secondly, I took the ferry boat to another pier and had to walk some distance to reach Ban Laem Railway Station. From this station the train leaves for Mae Klong, where I visited the famous mobile market right at the train tracks. After that, I walked to Song Taew station (Song Taew is a pick up truck which adapts to two row seats for passengers).

Thirdly, I took this pick up truck and headed to my destination “Amphawa”, and finally I walked about 100 meters to the hotel. On the way to Amphawa, there are many things to see, such as mangrove, salt farm, coconut grove, river, Thai traditional houses etc.

Here are some of my pictures taken during my "Amphawa grove and floating market trip”
Morning at Amphawa floating market, Samut Songkram, Thailand.

Tha Kha floating market, it's about 10 km. from Amphawa.

Another interesting spot in Amphawa, Wat Bang Kung. Ubosot is enclosed by  a sacred ficus tree.

Thanks for reading my travel blog.

Tripbod in Thailand