Instincts are very powerful tools - they teach you to dodge, duck, dive, and wake up when someone pours water on you. They also teach you to avoid foods that have killed some of your less lucky ancestors - bad smell, rotten flavor, and general visual disgusting-ness are all good signs that you should move on.
Enter Southeast Asian food - in many regards, these dishes all tick those boxes, but are sheep in wolves clothing. They're ugly, smelly, scary....and deliciously safe. It's like the opposite of British food - they take a bunch of weird, nasty ingredients and make something delicious:
What follows is just a "taste" of what's on offer in crazy, crazy Indochina:
This looks like it would rank below Monday Mystery Meat at the school cafeteria, but the Garlic Saffron Curry Chicken made here was just about heaven.
|And even though the kitchen looked like this, we survived!|
|This was too tasty to photograph - by the time I got a shot off, all Katie left behind was flourescent green sludge. I think it was an omelet of some sort.|
|This is Vietnamese Jell-O - it tastes like Black Cherry and Coke Jell-O. Too bad it's gelatinzed seaweed and sugar (and apparently good for you!)|
|Also not what it seems - this bowl of nastyness in a hut on the riverbank is Saffron and Coconut Rice Crispy Treats. I kid you not.|
|No rice pudding should ever be able to do this with a knife - unless, of course, it's 80% sugar, 15% coconut milk, and 5% rice. DELICIOUS.|
|Of course, sometimes you have to eat on the go. Enter the McFillet fish sandwich, banana leaf style|
|It's nothing without monkey brains, locally sourced from MENSA-approved monkey farms|
|Now that's just showing off.|
Now let's talk drinks. Lao Lao, as you already know, is a NO NO. Problem is, you don't know you've had it until your crazy, so just be warned. Worth noting are two newcomers:
|Fire Watermelon, which contains chilies picked by inmates from an insane asylum...|
|...and the Mekong's favorite virility drink, a cobra snake and scorpion soaked in whiskey.|
I would like to apologize for any Brits that were offended in the reading of this post. The fact is, nobody is better at taking delicious ingredients like steak, butter, garlic, and potatoes and creating grey tasteless mushy peas out of thin air. Our hats go off to you!
An if you really believed the monkey brains thing, I'm very sorry. The truth is, the monkey brains weren't from humane MENSA farms, they were just regular monkeys (sorry again).
'Looks like you've identified at least some of the reasons that obesity is less of a problem in SE Asia.
Leave it to Matt to find the rice pudding amid all the other distracting concoctions.
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