January 15, 2009
Top Ten Things I Ate In Asia
In no particular order:
- Barbecue squid with crazy, tangy, awesome orange sauce on Langkawi: I don't know what was in this sauce, perhaps the tears of angels.
- Samosa in Georgetown, Penang's Little India: This samosa was unlike any I've ever had—an intensely thick shell stuffed with shockingly verdant whole peas and strings of fresh herbs. That samosa to your average samosa was like brick oven pizza from a place with a line out the door to Pizza Hut.
- Pad Thai from the hole-in-the-wall on Sulli's block: I ate a fair amount of Pad Thai in Thailand, but this version was the paragon—high ratio of bean sprouts to noodles, plenty of peanuts, big strands of green onion and plump, perfectly cooked shrimp. The $1 price tag didn't hurt.
- Stir-fried red curry with mixed seafood at our bungalow on Koh Lanta: Our home on Koh Lanta had excellent food. Once, we tried to expand our horizons and ate in town—big mistake. We ordered this dish at least three times. The curry was hot, the squid was tender and the balance of flavors was perfection.
- Shrimp with marinated cabbage in Krabi Town: This dish was kind of unexpected. I ordered it on a whim and was blow away. The cabbage was thick and tangy, with a pleasant crunch. It didn't hurt that our dinner also featured the best green curry I had in Thailand.
- Fried chicken on the waterfront in Krabi Town: Crunchy, slightly spicy, and freshly fried—it was the best fried chicken I've ever had.
- Som Tom, everywhere: There is nothing I will miss more than the searing pain of freshly made som tom. Women on the street make it with a mortal and pestle, stuff it into plastic bags and pass you the tangy, crunchy, spicy magic. Oh, and it comes with sticky rice.
- Satay in Georgetown, Penang: I thought I knew satay, but I knew nothing of the tender little chunks of marinated meat served with a peanut sauce that put anything made stateside to shame.
- Barbecue eel in Narita, Japan: This meal was vastly improved by the experience of eating in a bustling little restaurant as men cleaned eel in the window and waitresses squeezed between tables toting pots of hot green tea.
- Fruit shakes, everywhere: Most fruit shakes in Thailand are done simply with fruit, a dash of sugar water and ice—pure heaven.