The one and only Austin Bush — he of RealThai and The Old Main Drag fame — snapped this pic of me sampling noodles on Khaosan Road recently. I like the colors and the lighting. Click on the image for a bigger version.
Good wine, designer shoes, elephants, and Thailand’s Four Seasons Tented Camp all converge in my new globorati post.
Taylor Gifts sells some astounding products. Case in point: the Pet Peek, above, which is designed to “satisfy your pup’s curiosity and help reduce barking, scratching and digging every time he senses something on the other side of the fence.”
I would kill for a taste of the Pepsi Ice Cucumber. Not to mention the Coolpis Kimchi Drink.
I recently spotted some exotic potato chip flavors at my local 7-11. And, being a snackfood aficionado and naturally inquisitive to boot, I had to pick ’em up.
My report follows.
Lays Barbeque Spareribs flavor:
Taste: A hearty blend of seasonings lends this chip a full, spicy flavor. Strong finish with hints of cayenne. Musty aroma. Fleeting aftertaste.
Packaging: The Statue of Liberty suggests this exceedingly bold chip’s rightful association with the American frontier mentality.
Suggested pairing: Chang Beer.
Lays Seafood Mayonnaise flavor:
Taste: Highly-acidic hints of Gulf of Thailand squid, Lao mackerel, and Mekong catfish coupled with an earthy mayonnaise bouquet. Heavy shrimp paste seasoning. Intense and lingering aftertaste.
Packaging: Despite the chips’ arguably over-aggressive seasoning, the Eiffel Tower is a fitting tribute to the product’s roots in a storied Gallic culinary tradition.
Suggested pairing: Sang Som.
Tasto Tuna Salad flavor potato chips:
Taste: Surprisingly nuanced and delicate. Tuna — perhaps more of the canned than the sashimi variety — intertwined with mild suggestions of tomato and lettuce flavorings. Rustic aroma. Slightly buttery aftertaste.
Packaging: Rather uninspired.
Suggested pairing: Chocolate Milo.
Don’t miss Tom Fuller’s IHT/NYT story about the quest for an odorless durian. My favorite passages:
“To anyone who doesn’t like durian it smells like a bunch of dead cats,” said Bob Halliday, a food writer in based Bangkok. “But as you get to appreciate durian, the smell is not offensive at all. It’s attractive. It makes you drool like a mastiff.”
The litany of legends and myths surrounding what Malaysians call the “king of fruits” is long and colorful. The durian is said to be an aphrodisiac: when the durians fall down, the sarongs fly up, goes a Malay saying.
Not to mention:
Rarely does durian season pass without newspapers somewhere in Southeast Asia reporting a durian death. The fruit, which is rich in carbohydrates, protein, fat and sulfurous compounds (thus the smell), is said here to be “heaty,” and can therefore be deadly for those with high blood pressure, according to Wilailak Srisura, a nutritionist at the Thai Department of Health. Tradition also dictates that mixing alcohol with durian should be avoided at all costs.
Many durian lovers fear the nearly odorless variety is just another step toward the erosion of durian culture. Durians are a social fruit, traditionally sold and eaten on the roadside by groups of friends.
Note: I snapped the photo above in a hotel lobby in Kuala Lumpur last year. On that same Malaysia trip, with my buddy Matt G., I made the mistake of eating a large quantity of durian — my durian culture initiation rites, if you will — and then I consumed several glasses of beer. You cannot imagine the indigestion. You simply cannot imagine.