Off Topic: Thai Buffalo Feta Cheese

2012 05 16 thai buffalo feta

Anasuya (my foodie wife) and Austin (my foodie pal) and I have wondered many times:

Since Thailand is home to so many buffalo, when will cheese-loving foreign and Thai consumers be able to purchase buffalo mozzarella?

Turns out, as a 2008 DPA story says, various Thai companies have been producing local cheeses for several years. But I’d never seen Thai buffalo mozzarella in stores.

To my great astonishment, Anasuya recently brought home the packages pictured above.

That’s right — it’s not buffalo mozzarella, but buffalo feta. I’ll take it.

Anasuya purchased the items at a central Bangkok outpost of the famed Aw Taw Kaw (Or Tor Kor) market.

I did a little poking around online, and I’d forgotten about this WSJ Scene Asia story last year about Thai buffalo feta.

The piece says that the Thai king’s Royal Project group has been tinkering with various buffalo products for around five years. And, the story notes:

Today, there are 24 female Mehsana water buffalo, an Indian breed named after the western district from which they come, and they produce six to eight kilograms of milk a day each. That is used to make the aforementioned feta, and yogurt and mozzarella — all branded under the name Bubalos.

Last year, sales of the water-buffalo milk products topped 500,000 Thai baht (US$16,229). At local markets, a 200-gram block of Bubalos feta costs 145 baht (US$5)

Indeed, we are now in possession of the Bubalos feta product. We haven’t tried it yet, but I have high hopes.

It’s nice to see an epicurean dream come to fruition.


Coming soon to a (Chinese) market near you: Malaysian durians

2011 05 25 durian

The AP reports that Malaysia is set to begin exporting durians to mainland China, “challenging Thailand’s virtual monopoly on shipments of the spiky, stinky delicacy that many Southeast Asians hail as ‘the king of fruits'”:

The breakthrough Tuesday for Malaysia’s durian growers comes after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Kuala Lumpur last month and formally agreed to allow the entry of Malaysian durians, which some fans insist are deliciously creamier and more aromatic than Thai-grown ones.

Read the whole thing. Fascinating stuff.

(Via 2Bangkok. Image via Wikipedia.)


DinTaiFung opens in Bangkok

2011 05 10 dintaifung

Xiaolongbao fans, take note: A branch of the Taiwanese restaurant DinTaiFung has opened here in Bangkok. The blog SixSix2 has a few photos and reports:

You can find it on the 7th floor at Central World right next to AKA restaurant. It’s hard to miss


NYT on fermented fish dishes and cancer in Isaan

A New York Times story from yesterday:

In Thailand, Love of Food Carries Deadly Risks

LAWA, THAILAND — The villagers in this poverty-stricken farming community are passionate about their food, especially the traditional varieties of fermented fish that one aficionado describes as tasting like heaven but smelling like hell.

It can be a fatal attraction, medical researchers say. The raw fish that is so avidly consumed in the stilt houses that sit among rice paddies and wetlands of the country’s northern provinces contain parasites that can accumulate in the liver and lead to a deadly cancer. Known as bile duct cancer, it is relatively uncommon in most parts of the world but represents the majority of the 70 liver cancer deaths a day in Thailand, according to Dr. Banchob Sripa, the head of the tropical disease research laboratory at nearby Khon Kaen University.


Thai students pay to get fast food jobs in the US

Some snips from an interesting Global Post story: “McDreaming in Thailand

The girls bunked three-deep in a run-down Best Value Inn room, each of them far from home and earning minimum wage at the McDonald’s franchise inside Pittsburgh International Airport.

Jiratchaya Intarakhumwong and her friends — law, English and business students at some of Thailand’s most elite universities — had adopted an immigrant’s life.

Jiratchaya would wake before the first light, don her McDonald’s uniform in cramped quarters and catch a shuttle bus to the airport. The morning shift began at 6 a.m.

The days were long, the work was repetitive and customers sometimes grew impatient with her sparse English. But after her tour was over, she arrived back in Bangkok with a highly sought after bullet point on her resume: foreign work experience.

This summer, thousands of young Thais will replicate Jiratchaya’s experience in America, piling into cheap hotels and apartments to work jobs often left to poor Americans and immigrants with few options.

The Thai students, however, will actually pay for the privilege of frying burgers and bagging fries.

This phenomenon is known as “work trah-VUHL” in Thai. It’s fueled by Bangkok’s upper-middle class families, who pay work travel agencies upwards of $3,000 — a small fortune in Thai currency — to arrange fast food jobs in America. And it’s a testament to Thai employers’ high regard for American work experience, even if that experience consists of ringing up Big Macs.


In the highly competitive post-college job circuit, a stint abroad shows initiative. Even former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra once worked at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in the U.S.