Destination: Thailand!

Hey foodlovers! I’m so sorry I kind of disappeared over the past month.. I was so rushed off my feet in the lead up to Christmas not only because of the usual festive craziness but also because I was getting myself ready to visit Thailand!!! I guess I’ll have to save my planned Christmas specials for next year… which means plenty of treats for you guys!

My trip to Thailand was phenomenal. I went with my two besties and we had an absolute blast! We managed to stumble across some pretty unusual and beautiful locations and not to mention, places to eat. We actually discovered a restaurant which is rated number 1 on TripAdvisor  completely by chance!

spices cafe
After our meal with the owner (lady back right with pink head scarf) and massive fans of the restaurant who had the pleasure of eating here for three days! 

I promise I was so prepared for this trip (maybe in my mind only)! I downloaded a phrase-book onto my Kindle fire and tried memorizing key food names on the way there.  The words and phrases I did memorize flew out of my head as soon as it came to our first meal, so it was time for the three of us to dust off our best acting skills in the hope that we can try and play out what we might be eating.

The first meal

Even though I am an absolute foodie and trying new foods and combinations is LITERALLY what I live for I must admit my first meal in Thailand really did scare me a little bit. We arrived much later than we had expected due to being stuck in traffic so finding something to eat was actually a little bit difficult. We certainly did not want to eat western food in the hotel so off we set to hunt for some local street food.

In a closing market across the road we saw a kind looking lady serving bowls of something that smelt absolutely mystical. Now there were three of us, BUT One of my friends doesn’t eat beef for religious reasons and the other has severe allergies to fish and nuts so guess who gets to be the guinea pig? Yes it was me! What this lady had simmering away was a broth style chicken noodle soup. It was dark in colour and so deep in flavour. I managed (no idea how) to ask to try the soup and when I did it was delicious. I ordered a bowl and sussed out the ingredients:

‘OK girls, no beef. I can’t taste any beef, just chicken. This squidgy thing could be liver or brown tofu – OK it’s definitely tofu. These jelly like things are chicken skin. There is no fish or nuts, we’re good to go girls, it’s tofu, chicken, noodles and spice in a broth. Oh she’s also offering me an egg, why not’

And there you have it. We all had this deliciously mysterious chicken noodle broth – and even though I was really scared, there was no sight of any digestive backlash for any of us. I wish I had a photo of my own (below is a photo I found online) and I wish i could recreate the deep and intense flavour – maybe one day.

chickenbroth
This is exactly what it looked like. There are vermicelli noodles in the bottom Photo taken from here 

This just goes to show that sometimes you just have to launch yourself in to things without really knowing what’s in store. It might not be what you’re expecting, no certainly not. But it might be something greater.

Food in Thailand – My three treasures

Now I know the first thing you think of when I mention Thailand is probably ‘Thai Green Curry’ or ‘PadThai’. Now, I ate both (more so the curry because I couldn’t quite come to terms with the sweetness of PadThai), but they weren’t the flavours that stuck out in my mind. Here are the three things that really impressed me about the Thai Cuisine (in the Gulf of Thailand at least):

  1. Masamman Curry
    This thing. This dish. IS A WONDERFUL CREATION. I now believe in love at first sight. Wow I really loved it. I usually ordered it with chicken. This curry is just so jam packed full of goodness. It came with potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, coriande, veg and peanuts all cooked in a lovely curried coconut sauce. It was sweet yet bursted with spice and a fresh aroma from the coriander and garlic. I fell in love with this one instantly.I first tried it at Kob Thai restaurant in Koh Samui located just off Lamai Beach and I was enjoying their fantastic food so much I forgot to take a photo (again – I must get better at this!). But here is what it looks like:

    massaman
    Here is a lovely representation of what the Massaman curry should look like. This photo was taken from here

     

  2. Sticky rice with Mango.Something I also ate at the above restaurant as it was part of the menu and no one else liked it so I luckily had it all to myself! (After this point I discovered the variety of pancakes I could have for dessert, sorry). The rice is cooked with coconut milk and is very sticky – it almost reminded me of sushi rice. It is left quite bland aside from the coconut flavour and mixed with mango was just heavenly!

    mangostickyrice
    This photo was taken from here. The recipe looks pretty bang on. You can expect my own interpretation soon! 
  3. Fresh coconutsThey were just so abundant. I fell in love over and over again! And they were available everywhere. On our first day exploring Bangkok, outside the Wat Intharawihan (the massive buddha – 32 metres high!) a kind was selling fresh coconuts. So the three of us had one cracked open and sat with her to drink the juice, then she opened them for us so we could get to the flesh.

    A great thing about the thai people is you can grab a coconut, drink the juice and then ask another person at a coconut stand to crack it open so you can get the flesh. It’s great.

    Here’s a picture of us with our first coconut

    IMG-20160110-WA0034
    I’m on the right, Neroli in the Middle and Tee on the left 🙂 

The undiscovered gem

Spices Cafe, Koh Samui, Mae Nam

Not only was it my birthday (thank you) whilst I was in Thailand but also Tee’s. We celebrated my Birthday on Nang Yuan Island and by having a lovely meal on the beach front in Tanote Bay on Koh Tao. Tee’s birthday was spent by staying over at the magical Ang Thong National Marine Park with all the little monkeys and lizards. We had to change our plans a little and spend the evening of her  actual birthday on Koh Samui due to a flight the next day, and we randomly picked to go to Mae Nam – which, by the way, is a beautiful and very peaceful beach.

We took a walk in search for somewhere we might want to eat and came across a cute little restaurant that was just buzzing with atmosphere. We asked if we could come in for dinner as they looked pretty packed. We were told to come back in half an hour so we had a look for something else as we were getting pretty hungry by this point! After walking around we wanted to go to Spices Cafe. We returned only 10 minutes later and asked them to squeeze an extra table in and without hesitation they did and I am so glad! The kitchen was bursting with freshness and the aromas were just fascinating. I couldn’t wait to tuck in.

I had spring rolls for starters and they were great – so fresh and the ingredients were utterly vibrant! They were served with a sweet chilli sauce that had a taste so unique it was obviously made there.

The birthday girl had a delicious salad (for starters) which bursted with citrus and flavour. However, it arrived covered in nuts which she can’t eat as she is allergic! (the salad is left on the photo below). Without hesitation the chef (owner) quickly rustled up a brand new one and all three of us took a bite as the aroma was just too enticing! It was quite spicy as there were fresh chillies sprinkled on top (Tee had requested an extra spicy dish) but despite the intense spice, the other flavours took over my mouth and I could really appreciate the deliciousness of the dish.

Neroli had a noodle dish which was again full of freshness and at first the portion seemed small but she was well and truly full up by the end of the dish she didn’t even have space for a dessert!

IMG-20160115-WA0014.jpg
My main dish in the middle (Sauteed beef), Neroli’s noodle dish on the right, Tee’s intense salad on the left. The singapore sling is the pink drink and the mango banana smoothie is the yellow/orange one

The food, staff and atmosphere were not the only things that were great about this place, but the cocktails and smoothies were also delicious. While my friends enjoyed their singapore slings, I went for my beverage of the trip – Banana and Mango smoothie. This was the best one I had! Just so delicious! I love the thickness and sweetness you get from the banana and to me, mango flavour is second to none (OK, maybe coconut).

Since coming back to the UK, I have also discovered that Spices Cafe also offer cookery classes! If I had known sooner I would have definitely taken a class – the owner is a culinary mastermind!

Thailand was a really great experience, food was everywhere and although you could often expect certain items on a menu or on a street carriage, there was always something new to see, smell or taste. Here are a few more photos for you:

 I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my time in Thailand! Watch this space for some more recipes and my trip somewhere else in europe!!!

Live, Love, Create, Enjoy

Droulla ♥♥

(Just figured out I have hearts on here!!! yay :))

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