Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Krabi Street Eats

Krabi, Thailand is better known as a base for island hopping and a range of outdoor activity than its food. In an area that is populated by tourist, it is hard to avoid a tourist trap. And really good food is hard to come by when the restaurants try to cater to the world with their bizarre combinations of Thai-Italian/Thai-Indian/Thai-Dutch/Thai-Swiss/Thai-"insert a nationality" cuisine. To look for Thai-Thai or Thai-as local as it gets food, we tried to hunt and to chow down at the clusters of street stalls.

The first hawker, a stand alone, that we met originates from Malaysia and had serves up the best banana "pancake" of the three that we tried. The pancake, however, really isn't the fluffy pancakes that we soak in maple syrup at brunch, rather it is as what our Malaysian hawker described to us, "in Singapore you call it roti prata, in Malaysia we call it roti chennai, but here and the international name is pancake." The secret to his crust that the other stalls didn't quite achieve, we concluded was probably his use of Planta that gave a good crust to his "pancake".

We also found a cluster of hawkers in close to the McDonalds where we had the southern Thai version of chicken Satay, which was thin strips of chicken breast marinated in a turmeric based sauce and served with a mild red curry like sauce that was unfortunately a little flat. And after snacking on that, we strolled a few stalls down and we sat down again for beef noodle soup and the best mango salad I had all trip and some grilled corn.

For dinner left the touristy Ao Nang and headed into Krabi town for a more fragrant and exciting local food scene in the night market. We milled around with the locals and finally hit the goldmine of local food. The food market was made out of little stalls that served an array of delights. Crisp deep fried chicken that smelled and tasted delicious that is sold with an optional extra serving of fried chicken skin, charcoal grilled squid and fish, lightly battered shrimp, braised piggy parts and pork ready to be mixed around with some rice and pickled vegetables, raw local oysters and Thai staples of Phad Thai and mango salad. Stall after stall, we ordered and ate and ordered some more, it was the closest we got to the Thai-Thai food that we were looking for.

Krabi didn't have bad food per se, but it was really hard to find the really good local stuff that had kicks of sweet, sour, spicy and everything that makes Thai food very addictive. The biggest take away I had after sampling phad Thai after phad Thai, I've learnt that phad Thai is a loose term for Thai-styled fried noodles and that every hawker or cook has their own style to it (or perhaps adjusted for the foreign palates) some like it sweeter, some were heavy on ketchup and others borrowed flavour from fish sauce and sweet soy sauce or maggie seasoning - I liked mine not overtly sweet and with the extra squeeze of lime.

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Teochew Goodies

I’m Teochew but as a kid I wasn’t the big fan of the food and I never cook Teochew either. Now, I eat more of it and have developed a greater appreciation for it but I still don’t cook it.

During my last trip to Hong Kong, I feel like I was re-introduced to Teochew food through this small gratifying tasting of Teochew dishes.

We started off rich with braised goose liver. I’ve had braised goose but I’ve never had Teochew styled braised goose liver. We tried to order two plates but the health conscious waiter stopped us in our tracks and advised that we order one to start with because as he advised, “it is very high in cholesterol”. Incredibly smooth and seriously delicious, two plates would have been better than one.

The duo of seafood balls - prawn balls and crab balls – was not too starchy so that the taste of the prawn and crab still came through and not greasy.

The stir-fried pigeon with chestnuts was a little on the salty side but manageable with the lettuce wraps. I like pigeon, and in this dish there was only a slight gamey taste that makes it approachable for most.

We finished off with baby oyster porridge, which is something that I like. The watery broth of the porridge absorbs the flavours of the oysters, dried sole and pork and this bowl was good.

Chiu Mei Ku (潮味居)
Shop D & E, 2-16A Bowrington Rd
Bowring Building, Wan Chai
Tel: 852- 2834-6669

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