Last Saturday (31/03/2018) we attended the colorful opening of Samai Thai Take Away in Kontich. Owner’s Mai and Damiaan treated friends and family to a preview of the authentic Thai food they will be serving up in the outskirts of Antwerp. Authentic food demands authentic Thai dance, which is why my wife and her friends performed a few times as well. What did I do? Well, I mainly sampled the menu and gave it my blessing. For pictures of the Grand Opening, the blessing of the restaurant and details of the new eatery, just continue reading.
One of our favorite date night types in Thailand is visiting a hot pot restaurant. MK and Hot Pot Buffet are fine but if we have the choice, we always opt for an authentic Isaan-style hot pot eatery. Tonight we recreated such a meal at home, with fresh produce and a cheap electronic appliance. This is how we did it.
‘Three servings of Somtam with fermented crab, extra spicy’. When I heard the couple next to me order spicy papaya salad with their ice coffees, I knew I had to stick around. ‘Maybe you could try one portion first?’. The friendly waiter really wanted to ease them into Isan cuisine, but there was no stopping these weekend warriors out for an authentic adventure. Last Saturday, I paid a visit to Siam Senses in Antwerp.
‘The best pizza of Vilvoorde and surrounding area’. Felix Pizza in Vilvoorde has chosen quite the audacious tag line. I do like the implied confidence, but it does sound like a challenge. With a growing number of pizza parlors in my hometown, there are a lot of contenders for the title. Off the top of my head, there’s Testa Rossi, Barino, Pizza Vera, Pizza Talia, Domino’s and Pizza Hut. Main rival in the region is Il Casale in Grimbergen, in my opinion. Does Felix Pizza measure up? Let’s have a look.
With my supply of whey products replenished, time has almost come to straighten up and fly right. My period of extensive traveling comes to a pauze halfway through February and I plan to hit the gym hard. If you are anything like me, having your favorite products around helps keep motivation up. I like to start my day either with a breakfast shake based on Protech’s Whey Breakfast, or with same oatmeal-and-skimmed-milk with a scoop of Protech‘s vanilla 3whey. Absolutely delicious and I hope the upcoming improved taste of Whey Breakfast won’t have too much of an impact. Throughout the day, I prefer Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey in the double rich chocolate taste. All of them are top tips if you want both good products without a trade-off on flavor.
A few weeks ago Bangkok expats burst into spontaneous cries of joy on social media: Sriracha spicy sauce would be available in Thailand, finally. The story got picked up be several online media, explaining that Sriracha isn’t originally Thai and interviewing locals who where just as surprised as myself. While I have come to know several extremely pleasant Bangkok residents with foreign roots, some of them have picked up a few peculiarities while living in the BKK Bubble. Nothing major, just little quirks like their yearning for British Indian food, or the American Chinese kitchen. Early on, I’ve learned not to question them and just keep them unaddressed. But wasn’t the Sriracha sauce invented in the city of Si Racha in Thailand’s Chonburi province and isn’t it still in production in that very same province? My mind kept wondering and I decided to check. Both the labels of my spicy red sauce bottles (pictures below) and Wikipedia confirm my suspicion. The truth of the matter: internationally, the biggest producer of Sriracha (Huy Fong, with the famous red rooster logo) is based in California, just started exporting to Thailand and seems to have an excellent PR department.
In spite of reports that the Ang Sila seafood market had been closed down in August (due to structural work to the pier) we decided to head over on December 5th and found it to still be thriving at the same location. The Ang Sila market sells extremely fresh and prepared fish and seafood, right on the local pier. Worth a visit for seafood lovers or anyone into authentic local markets. Pictures are available in this gallery.
In busy periods of time, I like to keep an assortment of frozen salapao and dim sum in the freezer. At lunch time, just pop a pot with water on the stove, make the water boil and put a steamer with these Asian treats on top. In about 10 minutes you’ve got a lovely meal if you add some lettuce and some sauce (I like Heinz’s Chili Sauce). The practical thing is that it is almost impossible to over-steam them … so it doesn’t matter if you are a bit late, taking them off. I prefer the salty varieties, but the sweet one’s make for a delicious desert. Available at any supermarket in Thailand or at Asian supermarkets, in the West.
Seafood aficionados staying in the Pattaya (Chon Buri) area should definitely skip the usual tourist traps and head straight over to Pu Pen right on Jomtien beach, where quality and quantity rival each other. We make a point of it to have at least one meal there, whenever we’re in the neighborhood. I’ll tell you why.