The final place I explored in South East Asia was Myanmar. I spent three weeks there travelling around and saw some very beautiful places. One thing that struck me right from the beginning was how warm, welcoming and genuine the people were. From my first …
Month: December 2017
One of my favourite dishes throughout South East Asia was fried morning glory, or Thai water spinach. It grows in abundance and so is a very cheap dish to buy if you are on a budget and eating out. So I was a little bit over excited about finding it in my local Thai supermarket. There are apparently two versions the Chinese version has long and skinny leaves and the Thai one has more heart shaped leaves at the top and that is the one I am familiar with.
First of all wash and chop up your greens into long pieces and keep the stalks and leaves separate as they need slightly different lengths of time to cook.
Next prepare the sauce, you will need:
3 garlic cloves finely chopped, I chopped red chilli (this can be optional if you don’t like things too spicy), 1 Tablespoon of yellow bean sauce (soy bean paste), 2 tablespoons of Oyster sauce, a splash of fish sauce to taste (this works as the seasoning) and a sprinkle of palm sugar (soft brown sugar would work just fine to).
Firstly mix all the wet ingredients together in a small bowl and add in the sugar mix well.
Gently fry the garlic in a little oil on a medium heat for a minute or two. Then turn up the heat add the chilli and the stalks from the morning glory stir fry for a couple of minutes then add the leaves and the sauce mix. Continue stir frying for another minute or two to heat the sauce thoroughly through. It is really important not to over cook it there should be a bit of a crunch left when you bite into it.
If you are a fan of mushrooms the same recipe works very well with them too, to be honest it would work well with most vegetables. The only difference is that I added a slash of gluten free soya sauce as well to the mix as it just gives the mushrooms an extra boost. If you really like mushrooms it makes for a great main dish especially if you splash out on a range of interesting mushrooms such as oysters, enoki, wood ear, shiitake or chestnut. It is also lovely as a side dish with the morning glory and satay chicken served with steamed jasmin rice.
With this trip I had another one of those experiences where on the one hand you feel like seven days has flown by whilst on the other it feels like the trip has lasted for weeks because you have seen so many places and done …
Back to my boat trip around the southern Thai Islands and onto Ko Phi Phi Le which is more famously known as the beach that features in the film ‘The Beach’ from 2000 staring Leonardo DiCaprio. It was a must visit kind of place if you are in the area as I have seen the film a number of times. We were advised that it gets extremely busy so we moored up for the night in the bay so that we could get onto the beach at the crack of dawn before a million other people arrived. At about 7am we went ashore but others had had the same idea so it wasn’t as quiet as I had hoped even at that hour of the morning!
The water is beautifully clear and is a delicate pale green colour partly because the sand is a beautiful ivory colour underneath. As time went on it became much more churned up as more and more boats and tourists arrived loosing its crystal clear qualities but was still a beautiful colour. The small Island has been entirely overrun by the tourism bug and now has big colourful signs, places to eat, toilets and much more. Apparently for the set of the film palm trees were imported to make the perfect beach even more perfect and it feels like that kind of theme has continued. I think its fair to say that for most tourists these days a ‘perfect’ beach is not just about the sand and sea but the ability to order a cocktail and some nibbles and easily use a loo. So if you don’t mind sharing your ‘perfect’ beach with a million other people then this is for you, however that is not at all my idea of perfect I would much rather just have the beautiful beach minus all the rest.
The Island is not very wide so it only takes a few minutes to walk through to the other side by way of a man made path where there is a slightly rickety wooden structure comprising of stairs and a viewing platform to see the view out the other side but again so full of people, even at 7am in the morning, I can’t imagine what it gets like later in the day.
It turned out to be one of those places I am glad to have seen but won’t be going back anytime soon. As you might have noticed throughout this blog I generally prefer photos without people and this place really stretched my ingenuity on that count! I purposefully didn’t take pictures of all the tackiness as I would rather visually retain some of the original beauty of the island for those who haven’t visited as once upon a time (pre 2000) it would have been completely stunning.
There were little pockets of peace at the extremities of the beach so I did manage to have a few minutes of thoughtfulness and enjoyment of the surroundings before we left and hurried away to somewhere much less people populated!
So I have started working on some recipes from my Asia trip and firstly realised I need to make my own spice mix. Having been to my local Thai supermarket (which is excellent) it seems that the general Thai curry paste they have has wheat …
Railay beach can be found on a peninsular on the south of Thailand which can only be accessed by boat because of the big limestone cliffs that surround it. It has very beautiful beaches and quite a secluded feel. It is also known as a centre for rock climbing and people travel from all over the world to climb. There are shops to hire climbing gear if it takes your fancy.
We arrived just in time for sunset which was a treat. There are three different beaches to access the first one is really just where you arrive on the jetty and is not suitable for sitting on. But a short walk to the left brings you out onto a beautiful secluded perfect looking beach. It was not at all crowded possibly because of the time maybe? The beach is framed by two large cliff formations which keeps it protected and somewhat secluded from the elements. It was so beautiful I got a bit carried away with taking photos. This is a very small selection.
The other good thing about being on a boat with a small group of people and an incredibly knowledgeable guide, in this case the wonderfully enthusiastic Willie, is that you get shown little secret places that you would never find on your own, or are …