I have been living and working in Thailand for over a year now and while staying here, I learned to love Thai food. For one, it is tasty and flavourful cos they used many herbs and spices in their food. Of course the most common ingredient in Thai food is the Chili. This ubiquitous red or green vegetable has been a recognized staple in Thai cooking (27 herbs and spices in total) together with basil, mint, pepper, garlic, onions, spring onions, lemon grass, coriander, lime and many others. Another reason why I love Thai food is because it is very cheap. Cheap means a meal consisting of rice and a viand costs around 30-60 Baht if you are eating on local food court or road side restaurant. Actually, eating in a “real” restaurant is also not too expensive. A dish would normally cost around 90-150 Baht. A seafood dish is cheaper as well (if I compare to Philippines). A dish made of Crab or prawns would cost around 200-400 Baht while in Manila, it may cost double. Of course the prices may vary depending on the category of the restaurant or if it is located in a Tourist area but I still find it cheaper. Moreover, Thai food is basically healthy cos there are a lot of vegetables and herbs in it and they tend not to overcook the vegetables so it remains crispy and the nutrients not lost. Thais can even eat String Beans, eggplant and some vegetables raw which is a first time for me to do as normally either we cook the vegetable or boil it in water. One thing that I noticed though is that many foods are oily. Also, I realized sugar is added into most dishes so have to caution my cholesterol and sugar level. Good thing though, I regularly exercise nowadays which I tend to neglect back home and on my last check-up my cholesterol level and blood pressure is normal, thank God!
Near my place there are many food kiosks and local shops selling noodles, duck, chicken or barbecue however living here for a year, I get bored of the usual food I can buy along the street. Fortunately, I found a good restaurant just within my apartment complex. The food is good and cheap (price ranging from 30-90 Baht) as well. What’s more important is that one of the waiter can speak English well so I don’t have any difficulty ordering or them serving the wrong food. My favorite in that shop is their Pad Thai (Thai noodle very similar to our own Pancit Palabok) as well as Chicken with Basil Leaves though sometimes it tends to be too spicy for me the waiter had to place the Electric Fan in front of my face to avoid sweating too much and give me an extra glass of water.
I have been reading and researching on how to cook Thai Food which actually is almost the same as cooking Filipino food. I even planned to enroll in a short Thai Cooking course for the basic fact that I still dream becoming a chef someday (still possible I think).
Yesterday, I researched for a simple Thai recipe (Spicy Salad and a simple pork dish first). I went to the supermarket and bought the ingredients afterwards.
This morning when I woke up, I tried preparing the 2 dishes for my brunch. First, I prepared Phat Phet Thua Fak Yao Mu Sab or Ground Pork with String Beans. It is very easy to cook, just stir fry the ground pork in garlic, onion, chili then add the seasoning (soya sauce or fish sauce, oyster sauce and some sugar). Once the pork is tender, just add the String Beans until it’s a little bit soft. After I finished cooking the dish, I placed in a bowl and whoa, it looked like the actual recipe I saw in the website. 🙂
The next recipe is a Spicy Salad made of Chinese Sausage and Cucumber. Actually, Thai food has some influences of Chinese cooking like the method of stir frying or deep frying. So if you noticed, even their salad have Chinese Sausage. To prepare this dish, you have to fry the Chinese Sausage then cut into small diagonal strips. Then slice the cucumber in small portions as well as Onions. On a separate bowl, prepare the dressing made of Soya Sauce, Fresh Chili, sugar. I added some vinegar to balance the taste since vinegar is also very good dressing for cucumber and onions. Then pour the dressing to the Chinese Sausage and cucumber.
The recipe is so easy isn’t it? But why am I sharing these to all of you considering it’s actually not a major feat? For me it’s a personal achievement actually…
It was really a shame that when I went back home last May, I didn’t even had a chance to prepare some Thai Food for my family so they can taste some “authentic” Thai recipe which is totally different than the food being sold in Thai Restaurants in Manila which tends to be too commercialized. My cousin Rona when she had a training in Japan can cook some Japanese food when she returned home. Pity me!
Another thing is that I have been cooking Filipino foods since I learned to cook (growing up in a family wherein all family members and most of our relatives can cook) and being able to cook a foreign dish adds up to my so-called “qualification”.
So much for that long story..I would like to share with you through pictures the 2 dishes I prepared this morning which I have been eating for Brunch and now Dinner (while I am writing this blog post and Facebook-ing). If you noticed, the chili is not as much as those being served in Thai Restaurants. Of course I had to suit it to my spice level so at the moment I just put about 3 pcs of chili for each dish. Maybe soon, I can put 1 chili garden in my dish. Ha ha ha! Next time, I will attempt to prepare another personal favorite, Tom Yum Goong (similar to Sinigang) and Som Tam (Papaya Pok pok salad as what they call locally). Sounds funny and naughty isn’t it? I am not too sure why they call it Pok Pok as well but the salad is actually prepared by pounding all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle so the same in Tagalog which pounding means “pukpok”. I dunno but I think maybe some Filipinos travelling to Thailand during the early days actually gave a tag for the Som Tam to be called Pok Pok salad. How naughty can the food be sounding right?