It hath begun here in Thailand, where friendly spirits are mostly known for revealing winning lottery numbers and having extremely long arms.

UPDATE: Buddy candies are being quadrupled by decreasing walking distances 75%. Incense now attracts mostly Haunter and Gastly. Indeed, Pidgey and Rattata and other common mons seem to have been replaced by these types.

Round eggplant tip

After 10 years of experimentation, I have finally figured out that medium-sized round eggplant is the best. Too small, and they are bitter. Too big, like in the photo above, and they are soft, tasteless, and the seeds are too big and numerous.

The seeds are actually an important taste component. They can be big, they can be numerous, but they can’t be both because it makes the overall texture too soft. This is something nobody ever mentioned to me.

Something really interesting – I’ve seen people have allergic reactions to only the big ones. Specific symptoms were an itchy and swelling throat.
So stay away from big round eggplant!

Fake booze in SE Asia

All this ad needs is some Billy Dee Williams.
All this ad needs is some Billy Dee Williams.

So I was talking about fake Absolut from Laos with the crew today, and it occurred to me that the last bottle of Heineken I had tasted a lot like piss, which is a trademark of the lowest levels of Thai brew (I’m looking at you, Red Horse). I wondered if people bother to adulterate/fake/fuck with tax stamps and lot markings on beer as well, and fired up the old Web Wombat (it’s an Aussie thang):

That video prompted this official response from Heineken: Tampering with Heineken® labels

Which led me to this vid:

Story here: Heineken ‘absolutely on top’ of fake beer threat after Vietnam gang bust

The two stories aren’t about the same incident, andnowI’mgettingsleepysonowittyconclusionforthispost, sorry.

Bigo Live, the Snapchat of SE Asia


The Bigo Live app is just getting popular, it seems. After testing it for a day, I think this will shut down Snapchat in Thailand before it ever gets really started. Actually, I think if they can find a way to pay users, either through ad sharing or tipping, or a combination of both, this could possibly be a threat to Facebook. It just suits Thailand very well.

The downside? An even more unfair User Agreement than Facebook, which is saying a lot.

It is inspiring a lot of ideas!!

What’s for lunch: Green Curry with Wings and Portobellos


Although I have made green curry with all kinds of meat, chicken is the best because of its wonderful grease. And among the cuts of chicken, we all prefer middle wings with an occasional wing drum thrown in for variety.

Today I sliced in a couple small portobello mushrooms, and along with the filtered fish sauce and chicken grease, they made the curry into an aromatic, coconut-infused umami bomb. With local round eggplant and julienned kachai (lesser ginger).

As far as eating goes, I actually prefer pulling chicken off the bones and mounding it on top of the rice and curry, but the kids just devour it off the bone.


Mina’s Picnic


Out of the blue, Mina told us that she and her best friend, on the last day of school (yesterday), had promised to have a picnic together today.
It was quite amusing to watch her put together a bag of snacks and water, and she even washed a plastic bowl and dried it carefully with a paper towel. But when it came to asking what time they were supposed to meet, she gave me a blank stare…
“She’ll just know, daddy, we’re best friends!”
Knowing which way this was heading, I asked if we all could go together. Mina agreed and we were soon hitting the McD’s drive thru and heading off to the park near her school for the picnic. Mina was of course devastated that her friend was not there and kept expecting her to show up throughout lunch. Afterward, she asked me why her friend hadn’t come.
I thought for a while and told her that you have to set a time when you want to meet somebody. Then she asked me if that’s why I’m always angry about people being late.

Alien eyestalks

I found these crazy-looking plants in a local wet market at the base of Phu Rua National park in Loei province yesterday afternoon. An old lady was selling plants from the roadside and forest (Loei people are apparently known to be formidable foragers) across from a stall displaying animal traps, snares, and freshly skinned rats.



Nobody who has seen these photos (+/- a few hundred Thais in person and my wife’s Facebook) has ever tried these plants before. But the old lady told me how to prepare them, so we steamed them and ate with a green chili dip (the alternative was to make a soup).



As it turns out, the bigger of the two types of plant (the alien eye stalk one) was better than the smaller iceplant-looking one. If you ate the “eyes” one at a time, they were sweet, but the more you put in your mouth, the more bitter they got. Strange. The iceplant-looking one tasted like… well, like how I imagine iceplant to taste (Thank you, thank you).

Mina loved the mini kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) I also picked up in that market in Loei.
Mina loved the mini kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) I also picked up in that market in Loei (a stringer of 3 sold for 10 Baht)

Although I associate bitter vegetables with poison for some reason (college flashbacks maybe?), we suffered no ill effects from eating these unknown plants, maybe (Nam had a funny stomach feeling possibly due to the cold she was getting over). Overall experience: Exciting in good and bad ways, anticlimactic.

Bicycle lane at work


When the curb is lined with cars and long pickups (can you see the diagonal parking lines? ), you definitely do not want to hug that lane line too closely… I’ve backed in in this photo, but people usually park forward, and back out pretty much blind if there are cars on either side of them.
On a more positive note, that’s possibly the best bicycle drawn freehand with a paintbrush I’ve ever seen.

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Gang Wai


Made from the tip of some mysterious plant which I’m too lazy to Google at the moment, the wai in gang wai is both seasonal and local, so it would probably sell out at Whole Foods back home. This particular iteration also contains white ants. It is one of the best bowls I have ever eaten. Coincidence? I think not. Insects make everything better, people (you eat parts of them every day anyway).

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