Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Winter [Food] Holiday

What would travel be without eating?  Today's post is featuring some of the food and drinks I encountered in China, Thailand, and Laos.

Before diving in, it occurs to me that maybe I should say a few words about the reason I take and blog about these long trips each winter.

First, I know this type of "Hey everyone, look at my vacation photos!" post doesn't have a very broad appeal, so if you're not interested, come back next week.  I have one or two more travel posts I'd like to do and then it will be back to China life.  If nothing else, this is a good way to show photos to my family.

I also hope I don't give the impression that I take lavish, unnecessary tropical vacations at the drop of a hat.  The winter holiday is a time when everyone in China goes home -- it's the largest migration of humans in the history of the world (several hundred million), and it happens each year.  Crazy!  This leaves the foreign teachers with no work for two months, but it's not practical to go to the U.S. because it's so expensive and because our organization hosts a required annual conference in Thailand.

For me and my friends, the clear solution is to see as much as we can, as cheaply as we can, on our way to and from Thailand.  It's also a time to connect with and encourage friends from our organization, as well as others we meet along the way.

All right -- let's eat.  Get ready for a lot of rice noodles, and some other tasty treats.

Rice noodle soup in Guilin, China

A different rice noodle soup ("Over the Bridge Noodles") -- my birthday meal in Kunming, China.  (You're supposed to eat noodles on your bday to give you long life.)

Mango smoothies -- one of my favorite things about Thailand

Banana pancakes: a Thailand tourist staple.  That's not frosting, it's sweetened condensed milk.

Sara and I took a Thai cooking class!

Pad Thai (a stir-fried rice noodle dish with eggs, peanuts, and awesomeness.)  I made this one, with a lot of hand-holding.

Grinding peppers and spices to make massaman curry paste

Sara and her curry

My massaman curry, cashew chicken, and rice.  Thai food is SO GOOD.

Our last dish: Fried spring rolls and some Thai iced tea (which I LOVE -- sweetened condensed milk makes another appearance)

Now we're in Luang Prabang, Laos, where this riverside restaurant served up a chopped chicken dish called lap (loaded with cilantro and lime juice), a very fishy/spicy papaya salad, and sticky rice.  Use your hands to use the rice to pick up your food.

A Lao rice noodle dish whose name I forget -- reminded me of Vietnamese pho

The cone-shaped baskets in the very front bottom are used for steaming sticky rice over the fire.  Then you put it in little containers like those at the very top (or smaller) to serve.  Sticky rice is everywhere in Laos.

Visiting a coffee farm.  (Interesting note: They are trying to build the coffee industry to replace one of Laos's former cash crops, opium.)


Tea.  I ate a leaf.  It was not delicious.


One memorable food experience was trying snacks at the village festival we happened to visit one night in Laos.  It was just like fair food -- lots of things on a stick, tons of fried treats, and beer everywhere.  My friend got a surprise when she bit into a boiled duck egg and realized it was the kind with the embryo still inside.  Yikes!

1 comment:

  1. ewww!

    Thai food IS SO DELICIOUS! Jealous you got it IN Thailand. mmmmm.