It seems I forgot to upload this but it was taken a bit more than a year ago, during the first lockdown, when fears were high, but there was only a single case of coronavirus in Maha Sarakham province, imported from Buri Ram. We are now on our third self-imposed lockdown and this third wave was the largest for our town (over a hundred infected), and Thailand as a whole. The kids were spreading it in between lockdowns at bars and outdoor pubs.
Things were all back to normal for maybe a month or so, then one superspreading student brought it back from Bangkok partying. I’ll be teaching classes online again next term, even if it’s not mandated, because less than 1% of the population of Thailand is vaccinated at this point. My fam is waiting for the Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J jab, because the free Chinese vaccine is only ~50% effective against the new strain in Brazil, it seems.
My first creation for our cloud kitchen project was spicy beef noodles in soup. We used premade noodles from a reputable brand and they turned out well. My pet peeve is imperfect egg noodles, to me, their texture is more important than even Italian pasta – it makes or breaks the dish. Feast your eyes on this, and please remember to give points for the authentic light blue melamine noodle bowl and 7.5 baht Chinese spoon (yes, thicker than the 5 baht ones and thinner than the 10 baht ones).
A star egg makes everything better, especially when cooked to crispy bottom/gooey yolk perfection. Also, crispy pork is the way to go as far as Thai basil stir fry goes. I mean, to each their own, but some ingredients are clearly better than others for any given dish. More on this pad krapow hierarchy at a later date.
“The Vietnamese call this insect cà cuống. It is a highly prized food and often boiled and fried whole.” LINK
Here in Thailand, it is called maeng da or malaeng da, and is mostly used ground up in chili paste called nam phrik or jaew bong. The pheromone that so famously attracts the females has a unique and powerful scent, unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. Not unpleasant in and of itself, but very strong. I can eat it, but have never tried it raw… I found the one above freshly dead, in my driveway. It did not smell. It’s the only one I’ve seen in the wild, although they sell them live at the fresh markets and deep-fried at edible insect stalls.
Incidentally, maengda is also slang for “pimp” in Thai.
This is one of my favorite things to have for breakfast in Thailand, because the majority of Thai breakfasts is one dish: Grilled pork skewers and sticky rice – which is awesome, but gets old day after day.
There used to be an old lady who made the best version of this in town, but she closed her shop a decade ago. The one pictured above was made at a nearby restaurant owned by the mother of one of Mina’s classmates that opened pre-COVID and subsequently shut down. It was OK, but very typically made with margarine instead of butter.
An egg pan, or pan eggs, typically go for about a dollar per pan and are served with a stuffed roll called khanom pan yuan, or literally, “gook bread.” “Yuan” is kind of an ethnic slur for Vietnamese in Thai.
After the old lady mentioned above closed her shop, I thought about opening a breakfast place that served this only just so I could eat it whenever I wanted – because this dish is too dirt cheap to make much money on, or even to make properly with real butter. Alas, I only eat this now when I go to Khon Kaen (where they have enough customers at established shops to keep open), or just make similar breakfast at home.
I’m currently in a state of being extremely busy juggling things like preparing for a new school term, managing a botched house extension, getting our main car repainted, moving a metric ton of dirt the workers we fired (from previously mentioned house extension job) left on the street in front of our house with the only Radio Flyer I’ve ever seen in Thailand, getting diphtheria/tetanus boosters because I gouged my leg on my rusty barbecue grill, replacing a temporary crown on my tooth with a permanent one, running around to every home improvement shop in town to find the correct angle grinder attachment/vinyl flooring sheets/ceiling hangers, etc.
Here is a shot of the best khao tom I’ve had all year, up in the mountains, on break from performing Okinawan music to Northeastern Thais.
Also, we miss Max and have decided not to bring him back on a repatriation flight to face 2 week quarantine by himself, and instead wait until we can go get him (intl flights are still not allowed into Thailand) safely.
It takes me so long to put things up on this blog these days. There’s posts I’ve been wanting to publish for more than a decade lol. Anyways, since another trip to Khon Kaen is coming up either tomorrow or this weekend, I wanted to put up some more photos of another back in August.
I threw together a bunch of leftovers and it turned out real fine… Pon Yang Kham beef is the best in Thailand, from a Thai/French cattle hybrid. It will never be world class, but it’s the best of what’s available in Thailand.