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Month: April 2009 (Page 1 of 2)

Souse-Vide take on Korean french fry encrusted hot dog

John and My Brother with French Fry-Encrusted Corndogs
The image that launched a culinary meme

Austin explains:

Here in Bangkok were so taken by the inherent genius of the dish, not to mention Lees’s breathtaking reverse engineering feat, that we decided to attempt our own ‘modern’ interpretation of the French fry-coated hot dog on a stick.

Our contribution to the genre? The dish pictured above: sous-vide potato confit with panko crust and hot dog foam. Unlike Lees, Hock has a modern kitchen at his disposal, and he took full advantage of this to apply cooking techniques that would best highlight each of the dish’s individual ingredients while not losing sight of the dish’s street origins. I think you’ll agree that we succeeded in this.

Don’t miss the excellent images that accompany Austin’s post.

So there you have it: Culinary innovation and cultural diffusion in action.

(Thanks to for the links and summary.)

Swine flu, Thailand, and nomenclature

There has so far been no outbreak of swine flu here in Thailand. Local media yesterday reported one “suspected” infection in a Thai national who had traveled to Mexico earlier this month. But it now appears that the woman has ordinary flu.

This Nation story about the case contains an interesting snippet:

The swine influenza, under a department directive, is now called the “Mexican human flu” in Thailand in order to make people more aware about its origin and the risk of a human-to-human transfer. The word swine has been removed so people are not scared of consuming pork.

“Mexican human flu”?

The New York Times has more on the issue of swine flu and nomenclature:

Government officials in Thailand, one of the world’s largest meat exporters, have started referring to the disease as “Mexican flu.” An Israeli deputy health minister — an ultra-Orthodox Jew — said his country would do the same, to keep Jews from having to say the word “swine.” However, his call seemed to have been largely ignored.


The Mexican ambassador to Beijing, Jorge Guajardo, has been outspoken this week in suggesting that the disease did not originate in Mexico. He said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that the disease was brought to his country by an infected person from somewhere in “Eurasia,” the land mass of Europe and Asia.

Ambassador Guajardo said in a telephone interview that his government had been told by American and Canadian experts that the genetic sequence of the virus pointed to Eurasian origin.

“This did not happen in Mexico,” he said, adding, “It was a human who brought this to Mexico.”

But flu specialists in Asia said that the new virus probably did not make the jump from animals to people in Asia.

(Thanks to BL for the NYT link.)

Thailand Twitter guide

As I’ve mentioned before, I often post short snippets about Thailand — and other topics — on Twitter. (You can find my dispatches here, and you can see my recent Twitter activity on the right side of this page, under “Twitter Updates.”)

I’ll continue to share longer thoughts, such as my April 15th post about Thai politics, here on

I’m not, of course, the only Thailand-based Twitterer. Here’s a list of some other folks who you might consider following if you’re looking for local perspectives. I’ve also included a few other Twitter-related resources at the bottom.

Note: This list isn’t exhaustive, but these are some folks who’ve caught my eye:

Individual Twitter users:

  • @bangkokpundit — author of the Bangkok Pundit blog.
  • @thai101 — Rikker Dockum, “Fulbright grantee researching the ancient Thai language.”
  • @wise_kwai — “News and views on Thai film and culture.”
  • @smartbrain — “Yellowshirt psyops leader, loves Cake”
  • @luke_bkk — “Luke Hubbard: Creative hacker living in bangkok working for a new media agency.”
  • @Anasuya — “TV news correspondent.”
  • @bangkok — “If I’d wear a shirt right now, it would be rainbow-colored.”
  • @thaicam — a “BKK-based news junkie.”
  • @suthichai — “editor-in-chief of nation group.”
  • @jonrussell — Jon Russell, “Freelance writer basking in the sun in Thailand.”
  • @mscofino — Kim Cofino, “21st Century Literacy Specialist at the International School Bangkok, Thailand.”
  • @travelhappy — Chris Mitchell, “British scuba journalist based in Thailand.”

English-language media

  • In terms of local English-languate media, both The Nation newspaper (@nation) and the Bangkok Post (@bangkokpost) have Twitter feeds, though the Post’s tweets, unfortunately, don’t include URLs to their stories. Correction: the Bangkok Post is Twittering — with URLs — here: @bangkok_post

WeFollow and hashtags

  • You can also search Twitter for “Bangkok,” “Thailand,” or any other term. During the recent unrest, Twitter users employed the #redshirt hashtag to label material relating to the anti-government protests.

My World Hum Q&A on Thailand protests and traveling here

If you’re wondering about traveling in Thailand following the recent political unrest here, you might be interested in this Q&A I did with World’s Hum’s Julia Ross yesterday. Julia asked me about the current atmosphere in Bangkok, what impact the turmoil is likely to have on Thailand’s tourism industry, and what advice I have for those considering a trip to Thailand.

Thailand protests end: five observations

Anti-government red shirt protesters here in Bangkok dispersed yesterday, bringing an end to the unrest that has engulfed the Thai capital over the past few days.

Army troops secured major intersections throughout the city, and demonstrators who had gathered at the Prime Minister’s office have now left.

Throughout Bangkok, people are celebrating Songkran — the Thai new year — in earnest, splashing water and dancing to music in the streets.

Here are five observations I have after speaking with people and reporting on the situation here. I’ve been sharing some ongoing thoughts and links on Twitter, but here’s a longer dispatch:

1. While normalcy has returned to the Thai capital, the images of chaos may prove lasting. Last week, protesters invaded a hotel in Pattaya where a meeting of Asian leaders was being held, and then demonstrators clashed with police here in Bangkok. Red shirts set city buses on fire and blocked roads with taxis. It was only when army troops fired automatic weapons into the air and moved to disperse them that the demonstrators retreated. This is dramatic stuff, clearly, and while things have returned to normal now, these images are powerful, especially so for those watching from outside the country.

2. PM Abhisit was successful in putting down the uprising, but what comes next? When he came to power a few months ago, many hoped that he would mend the divide between the two factions battling here. And…

3. No progress has been made in settling the differences between pro and anti-Thaksin forces. On the one hand is the red shirts, who are commonly characterized as coming from the rural north and northeast of the country. Many of them support exiled prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006. On the other side are the yellow-shirts (the PAD), who say Thaksin and his associates are corrupt, and that their influence must be removed from politics.

4. The red shirts claim that they’ll be back. Yesterday a red shirt organizer said that they’ll now go home and rest over Songkran. And then they’ll return to Bangkok in even larger numbers. Red shirt demonstrators I spoke with indicated that they were merely suspending their demonstrations, but that the fight isn’t over. What comes next?

5. There are serious worries here about tourism and the economy. Tourism accounts for 6.7 percent of the Thai economy. And the goal was to attract some 14 million tourists this year. Some estimates say that number may now fall to less than 10 million. The industry was already suffering following the PAD’s week-long closure of Bangkok’s international airport in late November, 2008. And the global financial crisis has also taken its toll. The government has announced that it may seek to increase its recent economic stimulus pacakge. Analysts say, though, that a key component in shoring up the economy is achieving political stability. That now appears to be a long way off.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back and blogging next week.

State of emergency in Bangkok

Quick note: You’ve probably seen the news about the ongoing anti-government protests here in Thailand. I won’t be posting much here on, but I’ve been sending some brief updates to Twitter. You can follow me here.

Back after Songkran

I won’t be posting anything here until Monday, April 20. Songkran — the Thai new year — fast approaches.

As ever, for updates on events here in Thailand, you can consult Google News, the Nation newspaper, or the Bangkok Post.

See you soon.

Thailand protests: Video and images from yesterday’s demonstration

Here’s a short video and some images I snapped at Bangkok’s Government House yesterday, where tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered to demand the resignation of Thailand’s prime minister. (More details on my observations from yesterday are here.)

I took this 32-second video clip (embedded below) near the main stage:

And below are the pics. You can find five more images on Flickr here. Click the images for bigger versions.

Thailand protests: Red shirt demonstrators at Government House
Protesters with a banner near the main stage

Thailand protests: Red shirt demonstrators at Government House
Listening to a speech

Thailand protests: Red shirt demonstrators at Government House

Thailand protests: Red shirt demonstrators at Government House
One of many banners

Thailand protests: red-shirts shut down Victory Monument

The latest from Bangkok: red-shirt protesters have shut down the Victory Monument area, one of the city’s busiest intersections, with parked taxis.

Here’s more from The Straits Times, The Nation, and the Bangkok Post.

Thailand protests: three observations

Tens of thousands of red-shirt (anti-government) protesters descended on Government House here in Bangkok today to demand that Prime Minister Abhisit step down. I spent a few hours there speaking with demonstrators and taking in the scene.

Some observations, a few of which I mentioned in various tweets earlier today:

  1. The crowd was so large that it was difficult to negotiate the area. Some estimates put the number of protesters at 60,000 or even 100,000. It was so crowded near the main stage, for example, that it took me twenty minutes to move a distance of just a few hundred meters. It was difficult to walk around in many areas due to the volume of people.
  2. Emotions were running high. Speakers gave impassioned speeches. The crowded chanted. And sang songs. And rattled plastic clappers.
  3. While the overall mood was pro-Thaksin, some people told me they were there to demand democracy, not necessarily to support the exiled PM. Signs read “We want democracy,” “Return the power to the people” and “Where’s the justice?” Many people wore shirts that read “Truth today: it’s time for change in Thailand.”

    One man, a 34-year-old taxi driver from Bangkok, told me that he didn’t like Thaksin, in fact, but that he wanted a change in government. “I want democracy but I didn’t come for Thaksin,” he said. “I want democracy…I don’t like Abhisit. He came to power not through democracy.”

For ongoing updates the protests, you can search Google News or consult the Bangkok Post or Nation newspapers.

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