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Eats | Ruth Tshin

Photos: Sasak market on Lombok Island

I visited Lombok Island in August and had a chance to swing by a Sasak market along the eastern coast.  Coming from Thailand and it’s pork-centricity (a new word?), health system this was a fantastic sneak-peek into an ethnic, Muslim culture and especially during Ramadan.  The market was a small space, but crammed with spices and dried goods, including beautiful fish the colour of molten silver.  It wasn’t as camera-friendly as other Southeast Asian markets (I asked permission for all the photos and was hastily refused by some), reminding me of the ask-first atmosphere on Zanzibar Island, off the coast of Tanzania.  Nonetheless, I bought some lovely white peppercorns to use back home in Chiang Mai.

Thanks to the co-owner of Tiara Homestay (located in Labuhan Pandan) for translating!

Sasak market in Labuhan Pandan
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Sasak market in Labuhan Pandan10-Aug-2012 07:37, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 320
Tapioca chips (raw) - when fried they expand quite large
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Tapioca chips (raw) - when fried they expand quite large10-Aug-2012 07:37, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 6.1mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 320
Sprouted mung beans
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Sprouted mung beans10-Aug-2012 07:38, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 320
Spices!  The small squares are dried betel juice that people will chew.
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Spices! The small squares are dried betel juice that people will chew.10-Aug-2012 07:44, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 160
Fire shields for cooking (the U shaped things)
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Fire shields for cooking (the U shaped things)10-Aug-2012 07:47, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 160
Sasak woman selling spices
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Sasak woman selling spices10-Aug-2012 07:47, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 160
Freshly caught fish
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Freshly caught fish10-Aug-2012 07:52, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 160
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10-Aug-2012 07:57, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 160

Photos: The pleasure of eating in Yangon

Though I was working almost the entire week I was in Yangon back in April, online I took a few trips to Chinatown and Little India to drink in the incredible atmosphere of the markets and food vendors cramming the streets.  Early in the morning to late at night, what is ed the city throbs with a multicultural pulse and the atmosphere has an energy faintly felt in Thailand with its shiny malls and trendy cafes (Bangkok’s Chinatown comes close but barely).

These are only a selection of meals and snacks I ate in my painfully short visit.  But the diversity!  Ah, I cannot wait to explore more in the future.

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Lunch at a demonstration farm in Mwabi district, outside of the city
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Lunch at a demonstration farm in Mwabi district, outside of the city30-Apr-2012 22:49, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 400
Scenes from the morning market in Chinatown
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Scenes from the morning market in Chinatown05-May-2012 20:19, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.5, 6.1mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 400
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05-May-2012 20:10, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.5, 6.1mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 400
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05-May-2012 20:18, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.5, 12.074mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 400
Dosa as a morning sweet
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Dosa as a morning sweet05-May-2012 19:53, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 5.0, 6.1mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 400
Fresh dosa and curries at the morning market in Chinatown
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Fresh dosa and curries at the morning market in Chinatown05-May-2012 19:41, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 5.0, 6.1mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 400
Doughnuts and prawn fritters
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Doughnuts and prawn fritters05-May-2012 19:56, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 5.6, 6.1mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 400
Spiced idli
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Spiced idli05-May-2012 19:58, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 5.6, 6.1mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 400
Dried fish...
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Dried fish...05-May-2012 20:06, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.5, 6.1mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 400
...fresh fish
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...fresh fish05-May-2012 20:14, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.5, 6.1mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 400
Fermented vegetables - used as flavour foundations to soups and curries
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Fermented vegetables - used as flavour foundations to soups and curries05-May-2012 19:55, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 6.1mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 400
Children selling fermented legumes
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Children selling fermented legumes05-May-2012 19:19, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 5.0, 7.407mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400
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05-May-2012 19:16, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 5.0, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400
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05-May-2012 20:00, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 5.6, 13.761mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 400
A riot of colour at a spice and pickle vendor's stand
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A riot of colour at a spice and pickle vendor's stand05-May-2012 20:16, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.5, 6.1mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 400
The streets lining Chinatown and Little India are full of small food stalls, serving food from early AM to late PM
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The streets lining Chinatown and Little India are full of small food stalls, serving food from early AM to late PM05-May-2012 19:10, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 5.0, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400
Afternoon betel leaf snack, anyone?
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Afternoon betel leaf snack, anyone?05-May-2012 01:26, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 6.3, 6.1mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 400
Yunnanese food stall in the evening
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Yunnanese food stall in the evening03-May-2012 07:12, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 3200

Photos: The pleasure of eating in Indonesia

Eating in Southeast Asia is incredibly sensual – being enveloped in a cacophany of sights, discount rx sounds and smells.  It’s three-dimensional eating: motos buzzing, order buses roaring, children screaming, dishes clattering, garlic sizzling, spices wafting, soups steaming, waiters gesturing…

I’ve travelled to Indonesia since I was 11 months old, thanks to 98% of my family still living in Jakarta and Bandung and am fortunate to have enjoyed the plethora of foods available from street stalls to catered family gatherings.  Here are some meals I remembered to photograph (oh so many plates were devoured without being snapped) during my August trip for a family reunion.

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Indonesian bakery goods, including lemper, risoles, and croquettes
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Indonesian bakery goods, including lemper, risoles, and croquettes01-Aug-2012 13:24, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 320
Iced tea, Indo-style
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Iced tea, Indo-style01-Aug-2012 13:27, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 400
Lemper - coconut rice with chicken
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Lemper - coconut rice with chicken01-Aug-2012 13:31, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 640
Central javanese food: fried chicken, beef skin and coconut egg
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Central javanese food: fried chicken, beef skin and coconut egg02-Aug-2012 13:43, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 800
Gado-gado or "mix-mix" salad, Central javanese style
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Gado-gado or "mix-mix" salad, Central javanese style02-Aug-2012 13:45, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 800
Pickled tofu (it's under all the sprouts)
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Pickled tofu (it's under all the sprouts)02-Aug-2012 13:46, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 800
Grilling sticky rice cakes in Lembang, a hilly resort area outside of Bandung...
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Grilling sticky rice cakes in Lembang, a hilly resort area outside of Bandung...04-Aug-2012 14:28, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 125
...serve with a fermented sauce called oncom (oops, forgot to take photo!).  Learn more about oncom from food expert Alan Davidson: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/encyclopedia/definition/oncom/1711/
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...serve with a fermented sauce called oncom (oops, forgot to take photo!). Learn more about oncom from food expert Alan Davidson: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/encyclopedia/definition/oncom/1711/04-Aug-2012 14:29, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 10.775mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 80
Oncom before it's prepared with chilies and spices.  The cakes are made from what is left after oil is pressed from peanuts or from tofu by-products.
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Oncom before it's prepared with chilies and spices. The cakes are made from what is left after oil is pressed from peanuts or from tofu by-products.04-Aug-2012 14:31, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 160
Mold can be beautiful
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Mold can be beautiful04-Aug-2012 14:31, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 160
Advertising various hot drinks for sale!  One of my favourite childhood memories in Indo is drinking fresh cow's milk, boiled with a bit of sugar.
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Advertising various hot drinks for sale! One of my favourite childhood memories in Indo is drinking fresh cow's milk, boiled with a bit of sugar.04-Aug-2012 14:29, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 6.1mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 125
Frying tempeh
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Frying tempeh04-Aug-2012 14:32, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.2, 8.898mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 160
Raw tempeh
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Raw tempeh04-Aug-2012 14:33, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.2, 8.898mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 160
Crunchy protein!
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Crunchy protein!04-Aug-2012 14:47, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 160
Selling all sorts of various fried tempeh
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Selling all sorts of various fried tempeh04-Aug-2012 14:35, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 160
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04-Aug-2012 14:42, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 160
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04-Aug-2012 14:43, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 160
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04-Aug-2012 14:44, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 160

Photos: The pleasure of eating in Cambodia

http://ruth.tshin.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/cropped-IMG_5140.jpg
I spent two weeks in Cambodia in February, sale
the first week working behind the scenes of an agriculture training workshop held outside of Phnom Penh and the second week travelling to Battambang and Siem Reap for a bit of work and much pleasure!

I went into full-on tourist mode, eczema
snapping pics of the food I ate.  Enjoy!

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Nom banchok (rice noodles with banana stem, morning glory and other herbs) with yellow fish curry on National Road 6, Siem Reap
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Nom banchok (rice noodles with banana stem, morning glory and other herbs) with yellow fish curry on National Road 6, Siem Reap01-Mar-2012 06:23, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.1 sec, ISO 160
Palm sugar "cakes", along the way to Bantreay Sray temple in Angkor Wat park complex
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Palm sugar "cakes", along the way to Bantreay Sray temple in Angkor Wat park complex01-Mar-2012 22:54, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 160
Nom banchok with red curry pork at Central market in Phnom Penh
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Nom banchok with red curry pork at Central market in Phnom Penh03-Mar-2012 19:44, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 160
Cambodian condiments at the market
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Cambodian condiments at the market03-Mar-2012 19:52, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 160
Inside the "food court" of Central Market, Phnom Penh
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Inside the "food court" of Central Market, Phnom Penh03-Mar-2012 19:56, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 160
Desserts for sale by 7:30am!
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Desserts for sale by 7:30am!03-Mar-2012 19:58, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.1 sec, ISO 160
Central Market, PP
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Central Market, PP03-Mar-2012 20:08, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 8.0, 8.898mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 160
Lotus stems - used in sour soups
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Lotus stems - used in sour soups21-Feb-2012 17:46, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 640
Duck eggs and nom bang pate in Kampong Speu marke
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Duck eggs and nom bang pate in Kampong Speu marke21-Feb-2012 18:16, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 800
Nom bang pate: grilled baguette, pate, sausage, green tomatoes, onions and chili sauce.  Served with green mango or papaya salad, very similar to somtum.
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Nom bang pate: grilled baguette, pate, sausage, green tomatoes, onions and chili sauce. Served with green mango or papaya salad, very similar to somtum.22-Feb-2012 17:55, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 160
Breakfast - Beef curry (very sweet, with holy basil and star anise) that's usually eaten with baguette.  Khmer coffee as well.
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Breakfast - Beef curry (very sweet, with holy basil and star anise) that's usually eaten with baguette. Khmer coffee as well.23-Feb-2012 07:29, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 320
The green dish is a sour soup made with lemongrass, tumeric, galangal and local vine (Thai = pak chiang dah)
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The green dish is a sour soup made with lemongrass, tumeric, galangal and local vine (Thai = pak chiang dah)23-Feb-2012 12:55, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 250
Various pickles and fermented fish (prahok) in Battambang market
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Various pickles and fermented fish (prahok) in Battambang market26-Feb-2012 23:09, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.2, 8.108mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 160
River clams seasoned with tamarind, chili and salt.  Sold on the street everywhere I went.
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River clams seasoned with tamarind, chili and salt. Sold on the street everywhere I went.26-Feb-2012 23:47, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 6.1mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 160
Holly looking on as food vendor cooks up a "soup snack" in Battambang
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Holly looking on as food vendor cooks up a "soup snack" in Battambang26-Feb-2012 23:57, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 6.1mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 250
This is similar to Karen kao buh: vegetables cooked in a thin rice porridge
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This is similar to Karen kao buh: vegetables cooked in a thin rice porridge26-Feb-2012 23:59, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 125
Tongue on display in Siem Reap
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Tongue on display in Siem Reap28-Feb-2012 05:08, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.5, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 200
Duck embryo at local market
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Duck embryo at local market22-Feb-2012 17:51, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100

You never know what you might find…

Lahu woman listening intently

Laughter in a Palaung village

Palaung ladies enjoying a Christmas show


…in the markets! My heart rate usually increases when I find interesting foods from local farmers that reflect their cultural eating traditions.

Brrrrrains at the morning market in Fang

Fish in Fang market

troche
Burma from Ruth Tshin on Vimeo.

This is most likely soy bean cakes being fermented, later to be eaten fried

Mmmmm! Close-up of the mold

Thinly sliced soured pork on rice, Shan-style

Shan-style rice served with fermented tomatoes

Seed bank meetings are delicious!

What we’ve eaten at the past three meetings…

Our monthly meetings are spiced up by food cooked by local village chefs (aka friends' grandmas who live 30 minutes away)

Wah dishing out the naam priik (chili paste). The little packages are pork steamed in banana leaf. Winged bean salad (bottom left) in the plate.

Young jack bean pods, ferns, bamboo shoots and leucaena pods - eaten with Lahu chili paste

Mae Sariang-style mohinga (a Burmese dish made from bean powder and banana stem)

Rick in his calm state before the feeding frenzy. This meal was chicken khao soy.

Oh James…Wah and Lue sit pretty while James stuffs his face

Carrot Cake night in Mae Ai

We made carrot cake at Ajan Tui and P’Da’s house in Mae Ai the other night.  Carrot cake with cheesecake icing never tasted SO GOOD while sitting surrounded by rice paddies and the sound of frogs brug-brug-brugging at night.  Leklek did all the hard work mixing and measuring – all I did was direct her!

photo courtesy of AWaytoLive.org

Khao soi noi in Tachilek

Every 3 months, ophthalmologist I run across the Thai border at Mae Sai and spend a few hours in Tachilek, Burma.  I discovered this Shan dish when I noticed the owner of a DVD shop eating what looked liked fat rice noodles mixed with brown sauce and cilantro.  It’s my rule to explore a new dish each time I cross into Burma, so I gamely followed the little girl tasked with taking me to the noodle maker around the corner.  The khao soi noi lady was making two kinds: minced chicken+garlic wrapped in khao soi noi (the rice noodle made fresh at her stand) and a DIY version, in which sauces and seasonings are mixed into the noodle batter before being steamed.  No matter that I was already full from Shan-style tofu and noodles at Wat Doi Wow, Kim and I scarfed a plate of the chicken khao soi noi.  And then bought out the rest of it to bring back to the farm to share with our Karen-Burmese friends!

Read more about khao soi noi here on Austin Bush’s food blog.

Khao soy noi in Tachilek, Burma from Ruth Tshin on Vimeo.

The other version of Khao soy noi, with seasonings mixed into the batter

Seasonings for khao soi noi include garlic, peanuts, dried chilies and lemon juice

Wrapping minced chicken in khao soi noi

They remind me of ravioli!

Mmmmohinga!

The Friday Yunnanese (or Ciin Haw) market is one of my favourite places to go, stuff eat and people-watch in Chiang Mai.  It’s a perfect representation of northern Thailand’s diversity in both culture and food: Chinese Muslim, ailment Shan and various tribes from the highlands.  Mohinga is Burma’s national dish (bean+fish+banana stem soup over rice noodles) and is dished up fresh every week at the market.  I’ve had three types now (can you see me licking my lips?): from the market; a pork version made by Ajan Tui’s mother who is from Mae Sariang; and, page another Karen-Burmese rendition by way of the Yangoon/delta region. All were scrumptious!

Read about mohinga  memories here and a post from the terrific foodblog EatingAsia!

Mohinga (Burmese bean+fish soup over noodles) at the Friday Yunnanese market in Chiang Mai from Ruth Tshin on Vimeo.

Mohinga by way of Mae Sariang – pork used instead of fish

Celebrating with food

There’s no excuse for the weight I’ve gained last year except that I’ve eaten my way through American Thanksgiving, cheapest several Christmas meals and a seafood New Year’s feast with my family.  I’ll have to say this though: food is amazing in Thailand, tight pants or not!

Ellen served up her famous Southern-style Thanksgiving dinner with the most a-a-a-mazing gravy ever.

Vinny super excited to dig in

First ever ECHO Asia Christmas dinner in Fang. Check out the pooch I'm starting to develop...

Celebrating Christmas with UHDP at a partner Palaung village

Christmas Palaung-style

Simple but ooooh soooo goooooood.

Aerial view of New Year's seafood lunch in Cha'am

new-years-with-arts-family

Chowing down with Dan, Art and Art's family for New Year's

family-with-rick-and-ellen

Meet and greet in Jan: My parents, Dan and Art meet the Burnettes for the first time at my favourite Yunnanese restaurant in Chiang Mai. Double chin fully established.