Bull

Somebody brought their bull to graze on Nam’s mom’s property. This is a fairly normal occurrence in rural Thailand.

And this is as close as I dared get to it.

I was wearing a shirt and tie because I’d just come back on the way home from teaching a training course at the Maha Sarakham Provincial Office of the Comptroller General, by far the longest name of anywhere I’ve ever worked (and even a long name by Thai standards). The first thing I had the trainees do was memorize their place of work in English.

Anyway, this bull was just normal. Not angry, not scared, but not indifferent to our presence, either. So that was cool.

Mosquito eating banana toast

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.

Mosquito eating banana toast, y’all.

Thai Funeral with Royal Sponsorship

This is a video from last week. The whole funeral lasted seven days.

I have read online about soil or water being provided from the royal institution for these affairs; in this case it was a candle with a bundle of flowers (made from corn husks and fragrant tree bark) that was eventually lit by a representative from Bangkok. I need to find out more about this, though.

This was my second time at a funeral with these honors, and I learned a lot more this time. It was a fitting and touching sendoff for Nam’s grandmother.

Hoetel

Were in Sangkha, Surin province for Nam’s grandmother’s funeral. We’ve been coming up here to visit her once or twice a year for 15 years. It’s a small town near the border with Laos known for black magic, apparently.. I never saw evidence of that, though. The funeral is going to be a totally recognized 7-day affair, and it’s going to be hot, so we are grateful they made a hotel with a pool here recently. Because of covid, we hadn’t been swimming for a couple of years… Instantly worked out a shoulder pain I’d had for a few months.

And now we are in a Hoetel.

Crown Desert Wreck

You can tell this ain’t Murica cuz there’s no booolet holes… and cuz, well, it’s a 1974 (zenki) Crown.

I found this very cool photo on FB.

The post said it was a “Kalgoorlie bush wreck.”

Google time…

Found it! This must be the coolest group on Facebook. Applied.

Note: Kalgoorlie was originally called “Hannan’s Find,” and what Hannan found was gold! So I guess Kalgoorlie is the Sutter’s Mill of Australia (both caused a gold rush in the 1800s).

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

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).

COPYRIGHT© YOSHIDA HOUSE 2021

In the Shadow of the Star Egg

Thai basil stir fry with crispy pork topped with a fried egg (AKA “star egg”)

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.

Dubai Lamps for Sale in Thailand?

Imagine my surprise at finding a supposed source for the new super-efficient LED bulbs made exclusively by Philips for UAE royalty (“exclusive,” as in, you can’t buy them anywhere else), invented to comply with government regulations. The redundant circuitry sounds exactly like what I need for my house here in the northeast, plagued with frequent overvoltage problems, which in turn necessitates frequent bulb replacement.

I kind of doubt the seller is legit, but I’m curious enough to try and buy a few.

Lethocerus Indicus (Giant Water Bug)

“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.

The Best Thai Breakfast – Vietnamese Pan Eggs (aka Egg Pan)

pan eggs? egg pan? super yummy either way!

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.

“gook bread” is usually a hard oblong roll; this one was actually a hot dog bun which is unforgivably inauthentic and just lame, dude

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.

Oh egg pan, and pan egg – how I miss thee.

Why I still love Thailand

The ad blurb translated by Googs:

Last day. Golden minute. When it’s gone,

Boiled chicken. Golden minute. Big size. Only 89 Baht each!!!!

One day only. Discount for 60 baht immediately when shopping for fresh food department. 600 baht or more / receipt.

This Chinese food festival!! with valuable quality at Tesco Lotus.

Tesco. Boiled chicken with entrails. Size M. Size 1.4-1.6 kg. Normal item is 189 Baht each.

⏰ Golden minute. Reduced to 89 baht each!!!!

⏰ Golden minute. The last day. 1 July. Year 63