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Asian Food Experience

The Christmas break held a special treat for us this year – a 5 week long trip to Thailand and Malaysia. It was the first holiday Mr Fresh and I have taken together that was not a family commitment, and it was wonderful! The trip highlighted some things about myself that I had not previously recognised……

 Koh Chang

This was my plan for the time (3 weeks) we were in Thailand:

1. Relax -Lay by the pool reading a (non food related) book
2. Indulge– Order and drink cocktails by the pool
3. Rejuvenate – Sleep in late, very, very late. Have a massage and a pedicure, and no schedule
4. Spoil – Go shopping by myself and buy a new Summer wardrobe, or at least a few t-shirt suitable for wearing in public!
5. Explore – Enjoy trying many new Thai dishes
6. Learn – Attend cooking school to learn the secrets of cooking authentic Thai dishes that I could replicate at home.
This is what actually happened:
1. Relax – I am terrible at relaxing. I get bored. However, I did read more books in a few weeks than I have read in the last 5 years (unrelated to cooking or gardening) and it was lovely!
2. Indulge – Cocktails generally contain ice and most of the hotel staff found my Aussie accent impossible to understand. Requests for “no ice” caused extreme confusion! (I was avoiding ice due to the water being un-drinkable)
3. Rejuvenate – I woke at 6.30 am for the first 3 weeks and then started making it to about 7.30am. Silly body clock and years of waking to children ruined that idea!! I got to have both a lovely massage and pedicure and each day we did what ever we felt like. There was no planning.
4. Spoil – Shopping – YES. I never ever imagined the experience of Bangkok shopping. All I can say is shopping paradise. Bargains, luxury, quirky, plain strange, innovative, repetitive, amazing, fake, beautiful, exotic, sparkly, very sparkly.  Unbelievable!
Massive shopping centre, after shopping centre, markets, street stalls, road stalls, walking vendors, one after another, after an another, after another, endless.  With two small boys who hate to shop I rarely go to the shops at home unless is is a necessity. I loved it!
5. Explore – Oh dear, things did not start well.
Regular readers will know that Thai is my favourite food of all time. I did not expect to have an upset stomach for most of the trip – almost every day! It was terrible, frustrating and draining. I also learned that I am more fussy than I realised.  Lets just say that food storage and preparation standards that I saw and my poor squirmy stomach prevented me from being the adventurous food sampler I hoped to be.
There is a story on Thai Street Food coming in the next two weeks….
Street Food Thailand
6. Learn – I attended a cooking school (a few times) and it was great! I loved it and will also share some of what I learned in the coming weeks. The food is easy and quick to prepare.
Cooking School Thailand
The courses also taught me a thing or two about myself.
Such as – I have some very specific cooking principles that I follow, and assumed were universal, not so….
I would never cut meat on the same board as vegetables, or even use the same knife.
Visualise me having a minor panic at cooking school !!
It  made me question the things we learn about food preparation and storage – are they overly cautious?
Overall, this trip made me acutely aware, and grateful, for the quality and availablity of fresh produce in Australia. It also highlighted the fabulous restaurants and availability of food from many cultures that are readily available.
In general, it made me feel extraordinarily thankful for the lifestyle that we are afforded in a fortunate country. I feel spoilt and ignorant, and thankful for the opportunity to observe and learn all of the things that we did.
In the end the things I planned did (mostly) come together and we had a fabulously relaxing, rejuvenating holiday. I have lots of things to share from our trip in the coming weeks so come along for the ride.
I would love to hear if you have visited Thailand and what your experience of the food was like. Did you eat street food?
A Fresh Legacy
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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Christie @ fig & cherry January 23, 2013, 9:02 am

    Glad you had a great time Kyrstie! I loved the cooking course I did in Thailand too (2008). The super hot chilli in everything too my hubby by surprise, but I loved it, within reason!

    • Kyrstie January 23, 2013, 9:32 pm

      Hi Christie, I adore chilli. I usually add it at the end of meals now as the kids don’t like it so it was great to be able to cook with it as a base ingredient.

  • Nic@diningwithastud January 23, 2013, 12:22 pm

    What a great time 🙂 Stud and I did a course in Thailand too and it was so fun! They made it “mild” for us and it still blew my head off lol

    • Kyrstie January 23, 2013, 9:31 pm

      Funny Nic, one of the teachers told me that the red ones are just for colour :> hmmm nooooo

  • Miss Piggy January 23, 2013, 2:47 pm

    I’ve been to Thailand twice now (and Bali too) and I love it…though I find the heat hard to deal with (I also find it hard to relax/do nothing). I’ve only gotten sick twice, but some Imodium quickly fixed that. The ice is generally fine…if it has a “hole” in the middle it’s commercially made so no worries. I’ve brushed my teeth with Thai/Bali water = all good.

    The “way” of cooking/handling food in Asia is different…you’re right. I eat ALL the food unless it looks totally dodgy I’ll give it a go. If a place/street food vendor is packed with locals I figure it has to be good.

    PS – I always cut meat/veggies on the same board, I wipe the knife and board between goes…

    • Kyrstie January 23, 2013, 9:30 pm

      Hi Miss Piggy. Mr Fresh does constantly tell me I am over-cautious…. He had no issues the whole time we were away but he has an iron stomach! It was very frustrating for me as I really wanted to try so many things :/

  • Jane @ Shady Baker January 23, 2013, 5:11 pm

    Sounds like an amazing trip Kyrstie! I look forward to reading more about it! The cooking schools would have been fun. I am a bit paranoid too about boards/knives/vegetables/meat, sometimes I guess we just have to turn a blind eye & hope for the best?

    • Kyrstie January 23, 2013, 9:28 pm

      I agree Jane, that is all you can really do…The cooking sessions were really fantastic, I totally enjoyed them and cant wait to share what I learned.

  • Ros January 25, 2013, 8:24 am

    Sounds fabulous! What a pest about your uncooperative tummy though. When I went to Bali I got a 24 hour bug but nothing serious luckily. The cooking classes look awesome, can’t wait to see your recipes! xx

    • Kyrstie January 25, 2013, 2:52 pm

      Thanks Ros, it is nice to be home 🙂

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