lauratest

Tales the Crows Taught Me

Seventeen Supernatural Tales to Make Your Skin Crawl

Fans of Ray Bradbury and the Twilight Zone have reason to rejoice!

Here are 17 tales with a twist—many of them award-winning: a traveling sideshow, a shadowy something waiting in a deep Oregon forest, an ancient fishing village where there’s a price to pay for magic, a strange parcel dragged for miles over ice and snow, a Florida boarding house full of residents who would VERY much like to meet you…

The Uncanny waits to make your acquaintance.

Included:

Protection: Probably best not to earn a Gypsy’s curse…but maybe you can bargain your way out?

Tap: Maybe Grandmother hears better than we think she does.

Stir: Young hot-shot lawyer takes his stage 4 cancer down to Florida, to live out his days fishing in peace. But someone else sees the opportunity of a lifetime…

Small Onya: Two children in a sideshow weigh their options.

Churn: A mushroom-picking young girl holds a secret that will change a man’s destiny.

Remission: Young Aggie finds a mostly-dead body washed up on her island’s shore…but there is something unsettling about the visitor.

Island Tale: This witch hunt might not be over…

Festival: Villagers burn a man while a woman hides a parcel beneath ice and snow far, far away.

Moving On: A couple is pursued by a shadowy movement in the forests of Oregon.

Barking Town: An almost-ghost town’s elderly resident knows something. If only she could remember it long enough to tell someone…

Shoelace: Beware the little old ladies.

A Fisherman’s Tale: In an ancient Scandinavian fishing village, a couple seeks magic to save their family from starving. But there is and always shall be a price to pay for your magic…

Drink deep from the darkness, my children.

Thai Food in a Global Market

Stir-fried shrimp and vegetables, a Thai food staple.
Stir friend pak boong and shrimp, with some mushrooms. Aroy Maak! (Very delicious Thai food!)

[Page updated 1 November 2017]

Thai Food Globally!

Though most people believe in the uniqueness of traditional Thai cooking, and in the idea of an authentic Thai cuisine, in reality, Thai food is the product of the interaction between nations for centuries. What is widely regarded as Thai food is a combination of foods and influences of German, Chinese, Laos, Cambodian, and Burmese culinary traditions.

In the 15th century, Khmer (Cambodian) cooks gave curries and boiled red and white sweets which originated in India to the King’s court in Ayuddhya, then the capital of Thailand.

My field research reveals that Thai restaurants in a North American city highlight the authenticity of the Thai taste while at the same time adapting to local food customs.

Fish sauce, an ingredient in nearly every Thai food dish originated in China. Believe it or not, Chilies which also play a major role in Thai cuisine were introduced not by the Indians or Chinese, but by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The combination of chilis, fish sauce, galangal (an aromatic root), and lime gives Thai dishes their distinctive flavor today. These are the major ingredients for adding flavor to Thai foods.

The Rising Popularity of Thai Food Globally

Before the 1960s Thai food was not widely made outside Thailand’s borders. The change occurred when a large number of foreigners came to Thailand during the Vietnam war and were first exposed to Thai food and culture.

Baked fish in a serving plate with lemon, basil, chilis, and lemongrass
Baked fish in lemongrass and lemon, basil herbs. Awesome Thai food!

Small Thai restaurants began opening up in London, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles to accommodate the local Thai immigrants that needed their daily dose of heavenly Thai food.

In the decade of the 1970s, there were just four Thai restaurants open in London, England. By 2005 London hosts over 300 Thai restaurants!

Likewise, in the USA the Thai food restaurant industry exploded over a very short period of time. By the early 1990s, there were more than 200 Thai restaurants just in just Los Angeles, California alone!

Taking into account that Thai food has only recently expanded across the globe it has enjoyed a very high popularity trans-nationally. The Kellogg School of Management and Sasin Institute developed a survey to test the popularity of international foods across nations. Thai food ranked #6.

International Food Popularity

Question: What is your favorite cuisine?

  • Italian
  • French
  • Japanese
  • Chinese
  • Indian
  • Thai

In the year 2003, there were 6,875 Thai restaurants outside of Thailand. About half were in the USA and Canada. Thai food attracts a western audience in part because it is perceived as a healthy, low-fat alternative to the indigenous foods of that nation.

Though most Thai food restaurants internationally may have started to accommodate Thais missing their home country’s meals, it appears now that most customers are non-Thai. the westerners of Europe and North American have embraced Thai food and consume it on a regular basis

Thai Cuisine Changes to Accommodate Foreign Tastes, Preferences

Thai food changes as it goes into transnational space. Most cities in the USA have a 0-1% Thai populace. Many Thais in America eat at home in the interest of saving money and just because they know how to make Thai food themselves. Spending large amounts of money to eat at the usually more expensive Thai restaurants is something that isn’t done often in most Thai households in the USA unless of course, they own a Thai restaurant.

Although Thai restaurants in the USA emphasize authentic Thai tastes, for the most part, they adapt to the dining customs. For instance, in higher-end Thai restaurants, you might see the staff following western style in that they serve the meal in courses.

Dinner starts with an appetizer like a soup or salad. Dinner is followed by the main dishes which might be brought out at different times. In Thailand, the usual way is that all food is brought out at once. The entire table is covered with food and you eat as you wish, in any order. Soup and salad might be eaten with rice and considered as a main dish. A typical Thai meal might consist of two or three dishes of soup or curry and some stir-fried dishes with rice.

Thai restaurants in the USA need to be careful in serving spicy food. The American diet does not usually have anything spicy in the meal. A piece of red bell pepper or a strong red onion might be all the spice Americans are accustomed to! Thai restaurants usually serve their food according to a spicy scale, and they knock that down a couple levels to make sure they are not serving it too spicy. If you order your Thai food pedt-pedt, very spicy, in Thailand in Bangkok you might be able to eat it. However, if you order it pedt-pedt in Isaan (Northeast Thailand) you will likely stop before finishing your meal because the number of chilies they use in the meal is staggering! I have eaten som tam with a big handful of large chilies in Isaan and thought I would pass out from the heat!

Thai restaurants serve the most popular Thai foods as a rule. It just makes sense to serve those Thai foods that customers are going to order and enjoy the most.

Top 10 most popular Thai foods among foreigners are:

1. Pad Thai

2. Roast Duck Curry

3. Tom Kha Gai

4. Moo Satay – Barbeque pork with curry.

5. Tom Yum Goong (Tom Yam Kung) – Spicy and sour shrimp & vegetable soup.

6. Cashew Nut Chicken

7. Chicken & Green Curry (Gang Kiow Wan Gai)

8. Kang Panang – Panang (Penang) curry

9. Pad Krapow (Grapow, Gapow) – Stir fried basil & Egg

10. Tod Mun – Fried fish cakes

11. Yum Nua – Beef salad

12. Gai Haw Bai Teuy

13. Gai Yang – Barbecued chicken

14. Som Tam – Spicy & sour unripened papaya salad.

These Thai food dishes are on almost every overseas menu, so if you are wondering what to order – just become familiar with these dishes and you will have fourteen of the best Thai foods that most people like to eat.

Some Thai restaurants have invented new variations on the original Thai foods seen above. Sometimes you’ll see Tom Yum Pak (vegetable tom yum). This is unheard of in Thailand as all tom yum soup there has the main staple like squid, shrimp, chicken or pork. There is no such thing as spicy soup with just vegetables. Americans like it though, as many are vegetarian customers.

Similarly, some restaurants serve vegetarian spring rolls. In Thailand spring rolls always contain ground pork. Some restaurants even go so far as to suggest that all meat dishes can be substituted with Tofu or vegetables. Substitutions are common and sometimes necessary due to the availability of authentic Thai ingredients like Kra Pao  which is Thai Basil, the North American basil is substituted, but not authentic.

Something people should realize that is eating food at Thai restaurants outside of Thailand is that many things may have been substituted during the creation of their Thai food dish. Thai owned restaurants come closest to authentic Thai cuisine, but they too have to Americanize the food a bit to get Americans to eat it. Same in Europe and Australia. The authentic Thai dish of labp, originating in Isaan has pork skin pieces all through it. Rarely will you find that in restaurants overseas because it is not something Americans would find to be a pleasant texture? There may be a substitution of ingredients for the pork skin or it may be left out completely.

One of the biggest challenges to the national image Thailand has overseas in Thai food restaurants is non-Thai owned restaurants that proclaim to be authentic Thai food. When visitors to these restaurants eat at a true Thai food restaurant they don’t understand why the food is so different. They are disappointed because the dishes they enjoyed at the restaurants taste quite different.

Standardization of Thai food spellings and ingredients is something aspired to, but something that, of course, can never come about as a whole. The Thai government encourages Thai restaurant owners overseas to use standard spellings to make it easier for foreigners to understand what they are eating and enable them to order the same thing at different Thai restaurants, but I have yet to see two menus that looked anything alike. Here in Thailand, there are attempts at English menus which are all unique and sometimes impossible to decipher. If one doesn’t speak Thai here, getting the right meal can be difficult, to say the least!

Spider Web Sandwich!

Thai spider web sandwich - finely shredded pork.

No! it is not made of spider webs or my husband’s white hair!!!!
(Dear Vern, my beloved husband, I am just kidding here) hehe. 🙂

It is my midnight meal tonight and the sandwich filling is dried shredded pork. I really love writing about Thai food. There’s so many cultural related thing, like this sandwich. I don’t know who and where is the first place to create this recipe but it is a real popular food among young people (like me).

I used to work at the coffee shop for my part time job at university. This menu was being sold every day and every table has to have it. As Thai people don’t like to eat plain food, someone create this combination and it works! Even with the bakery in Thailand they add this into the bread section of their shop.

Here’s we don’t serve it with any vegetable, I don’t know why.
The Thai chili paste taste a little sweet. Some saltiness and spiciness are also there.
Dried shredded pork, you can eat it with steamed jasmine rice or boiled rice. I even add the dried shredded pork in my omelet.

Ingredients for shredded pork (spider web) sandwich

Bread with Thai chili paste for shredded pork sandwich.

Thai shredded pork sandwich ready to eat at Joy's Thai food kitchen.

 

Thai Fruit – Dragonfruit!

In my family we eat a lot of Thai fruit. One of our favorite is the dragon fruit, also called pitaya. The exact name is, Hylocereus polyrhizus.

My husband Vern eats the most of any of us. If we go to the store and find some good ones that are ripe, he will buy two bags of them – about 12 dragon fruits!

Last night this happen with us. Today he ate three for breakfast and lunch. It is a good Thai food to diet on because the calories are not many. Maybe about 180 calories in three dragonfruit. Not bad, right?!

But he wasn’t a good boy because he ate chips. I found them in the trash. 🙁 Bad hubby!

I made him do this video to contribute to my success! haha!

Vern says the taste of dragonfruit reminds him of when he was living back in Pennsylvania as a small boy. He had mulberries on a tree in the back yard. He said the taste is very similar to that. I never have mulberries, but maybe someday. I don’t think we have them in Thailand.

Did you ever taste mulberries or dragonfruit? Both? Do they taste the same? 😛

Joy's signature line for Joy's Thai Food Blog

 

Thai Food – Cho Muang

Cho Muang

Prepare:

1/2 cup minced chicken

6 tbsp. minced onion

2 tbsp. minced coriander root

5 tbsp. minced garlic

2 tbsp. pepper

2 tbsp. palm sugar

2 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup fried garlic

 

Flour:

10 g. glutinous rice flour

110g. rice flour

10 g. tapioca flour

10 g. arrowroot flour

1 and 1/2 cup water (360cc)

2 tbsp. food coloring (purple)

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

 

Cooking Instructions:

1. Heat the pan and add olive oil. Wait until then is hot then add coriander root, garlic and pepper.

2. Stir-fry until it has aromatic smell.

3. After that, add chicken. Crush and spread it with a flipper. Use max heat.

4. Cook chicken for 5 minutes. When we cook minced meat, it takes short time to be done. Notice the meat color. If you want it to be real cooked, take 8-10 minutes.

5. Now, lower the heat. Add minced onion, sugar ad fish sauce. Taste it the way you like. Keep stirring.

6. When the chicken is dry, turn off the fire.

7. Leave it cool off and prepare the flour.

8. Mix 3 kinds of flour all together. Add food coloring into the water. Pour half of water into the flour. Knead very well.

9. When the dough is soft and mixed well. Add the other half of water.

10. Add vegetable oil.

11. Cook it in the pan (brass pan for cooking or Teflon®). The dough will be very thick. Don’t stop stirring while you are cooking it. Use very low heat. When the dough is 70% cooked, turn off the fire.

12. Leave it cool off in a closed container with plastic wrap, so that we can mold easily. Then, mold the stuffing into a small ball. (make it cute) 🙂

13. When the dough is cool off, mold it into a ball, little bigger than a stuffing ball.

14. Powder your hands with tapioca flour, if the dough sticks to your hands.

15. Make it like a hat shape. Put stuffing in the hold. Then wrap it. Make sure you can’t see stuffing from inside.

16. Turn the ugly part to the bottom. Use a small tongs to squeeze the dough into petals.

17. Alternate it like flower petals. Finish all the balls.

18. Places banana leaves on steam pot. (You can use pandanus leaves for aromatic smell) Dress oil on the leave.

19. Next, dress the oil from fried garlic all over the flowers.

20. Boil water in the steam pot. When it is boiling, lower the heat and cook it for 5 minutes. Notice when the flowers have clear petals, it is cooked.

21. Decorate it with lettuce, coriander, red chili pepper and fried garlic.

 

For natural color from butterfly pea, boil it in boiling water (360cc). You will get a blue color. Then add 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, it will turn to purple. Use different food colors for more fun!

Joy's signature line for Joy's Thai Food Blog