Thursday, July 29, 2010

Connvoyage: TOP TRAVEL BLOG!

Today I received some pretty exciting news. Well, at least to me.

Travel-avenue has just featured ten (ten!) of my past travel blogs of 2010 on their travel site! Eight (eight!) of which were named "Top Travel Blogs!"

Wow! I'm so happy and pleased with myself, not to mention excited!

Just thought I'd share the news with you!

© Connie Hum 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Don't Delete, I DO Eat Meat!

Oh, to think that just a mere two months ago, I was a vegetarian! Although I still like the idea of returning to vegetarianism at some point in my life (well, maybe in spurts), I have adapted well in Thailand to the full onslaught of meat appearing in my meals again.

One night, I noticed a rather busy looking, though completely non-descript, restaurant tucked away from the main road near Ban Niang as Matt and I sped by on our motorbike. Not knowing what kind of restaurant it was, but deciding the locals should know better than us, we decided to give it a try on a Sunday night.

The restaurant is a Thai version of do-it-yourself hot pot. Matt and I each pay 99 baht (barely over $3) and we literally eat meat until we make ourselves sick. It's fantastic! You get a clay pot and a kettle of soup for the table. From the buffet area, you choose all the meat and sides you want. As you can see from the picture, we (well, mostly Matt) load up with as much meat as humanly possible. And this is just the FIRST round!

Once you choose your meat and sides, you place a chunk of fat on the top to grease up the cooking area. Then you start piling on the meat to cook. It's a fun process though during our first attempt of cooking the meat, Matt and I piled too much meat on and ended up with a few burnt pieces because we couldn't turn the meat over fast enough. No fear, Matt soon mastered the art of flipping the meat. After dinner, our bellies are protruding quite rotundly but that doesn't stop us from helping ourselves to a couple scoops of ice cream. Our favorite flavor: taro. What a perfect way to end a meal!

This has become our Sunday night ritual ever since.

© Connie Hum 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't Wait, Food Stalls!

After having spent several weeks living in Khuk Khak, Thailand, I have discovered the BEST food stalls among the many in the area . The food found in these unassuming stalls literally blow you away with their deliciousness and their small price tag. They certainly have impressed me! I frequent these food stalls so much that the proprietors must think I have a tapeworm!

One of the more common food stalls that you find on the street is of the meat-on-a-stick variety. To be honest, I'm not much of a fan for anything on a stick, with the exception of popsicles and corndogs, but when you can get a big, tender honey-glazed bar-b-que chicken on a stick for 20 baht (the equivalent of 60 cents USD), how can you resist? And believe me, I don't even try! The best part? The stall is stationed in front of the 7-11 in Pakarang, right across the street from my apartment!

Thailand is hot, even in the rainy season. Most days you need a nice, cold beverage to help cool you down. Thai iced tea with milk (cha chuk) is practically a national drink and it's the perfect solution on hot days. You can find it almost everywhere. However, finding the right blend of ice, tea and condensed milk required some research that I was happy to conduct. Too much sweet, as it turns out, can be too much of a good thing for me and my pick ended up being a mildly sweet version from a road-side cafe. 20 baht later, I'm cool and ready to hit the beaches again!

When I'm in the mood for something fruity and refreshing to help cool me off, I opt for a banana smoothie. I chanced upon this little gem of a smoothie out of necessity one day. I was starving and decided to give the closest noodle soup stall to my physical body a try. The woman was making a banana smoothie as I ordered my lunch and as it was another hot day in Thailand, I ordered one as well. Oh, serendipitous day! The banana smoothie is one of the best I've EVER had and I ended up with brain freeze more than once as I couldn't get enough of it! As an added bonus, the noodle soup was pretty darn tasty too! This little market food stall, with a grand total of 45 baht (about $1.40) for a hearty bowl of noodle soup and a huge serving of banana smoothie, makes it one of my favorite go-to lunch places.

Speaking of noodle soup (and my mouth is already watering!), one of my absolute favorites in the area is a fantastic noodle soup stall on the side of the road in Khao Lak. Not only is the noodle soup there superb, but there's another dish there that's equally as delectable and mouth-wateringly enticing: a Thai rice dish called something like cow can moo. At least that's the way I remember how to say it. Cow can moo is stewed pork leg served over rice with a side of mustard greens. The sauce from the stew is then poured over the rice for added flavor. It's so good! When we want to splurge on a night of good food, Matt and I head over to Khao Lak, order up an iced roselle drink (a hibiscus concoction) and beef noodle soup each then split a plate of cow can moo between us. At the end of dinner, we're both stuffed to the brim with delicious Thai food and our combined wallets are only 110 baht lighter ($3.41).

Although I definitely have my favorite places to go for food, there are still so many stalls around and I'm certain that there are tasty delights just waiting to be discovered. I have one and a half more months left to find more hidden culinary treasures and as long as my tapeworm is up for it, I'm game to keep eating and discovering!

© Connie Hum 2010

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