Saturday, July 10, 2010

Aa Haan (food)

Thai food is great, Thais are real foodies so there's a lot of emphasis put on good food and eating and  many other ethnic foods are available in the area including western (European, American) cuisine. My housekeeper is an excellent cook and she cooks at least 5 dinners during the week and often an extra dish for the weekend. This evening I had dinner with two friends at a nearby restaurant on the river. The place was casual, open air, almost rustic. I was worried I'd be hot but it was very pleasant with fans blowing and a breeze off the river keeping the temperature down. The food was excellent. We had a traditional tom yom soup with sea bass and mushrooms, a typical Thai salad with some type of green bean and a little meat and shrimp that was beautifully seasoned - tangy and almost but not quite sweet. We had what I would describe as shrimp croquettes (but cut into triangles) with a dried seaweed garnish that wasn't fishy at all (as seaweed can sometimes be). it came with a clear sweetish sauce for dipping that complemented the shrimp very well. We had fried sea bass - the whole fish, fried, and it came with a very spicy fish sauce. I was warned to go "ni noi" - just a little and a little did go a long way but it also enhanced the fish. We also ordered (and we're getting into overkill here) what I can only describe as a fried tofu stew. I know, I was skeptical too when I saw the description on the menu. But when it came the sauce was rich and dark and meaty and there were vegetables as well as the excellent and perfectly textured tofu, which looked like sliced italian sausages, and had a nice balance of being slightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The spices and flavor were definitely of Chinese influence. None of us touched (or needed to) the small dish of beautiful but dangerous chopped chillies that came with the meal. Well, we certainly over-ordered for three people but managed to consume most of it. We waddled back to the car, stuffed and promising not to eat for a week. 

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