Thailand Journals

Coffee-Break Tales

Best of IgoUgo

A travel journal to Thailand by SeenThat

Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao, Lampang Photo, Thailand, Asia More Photos
Quote: Tales from Thailand...
in the market Photo, Thailand, Asia
Quote:
"Why Thai coffee doesn’t taste like coffee?" asked me one of the readers of my book Back in Bethlehem. Those who have not read the book won’t understand my surprise at the question. Part of the book takes place in Thailand, coffee is clearly mentioned, yet… it’s like visiting Bangkok’s Grand Palace and asking the guide about Angkor Wat. "After all there is a model of the Cambodian site in the Thai Palace," would the traveler justify the unexpected question.Yet, don’t forget...Read More

On South American and Thai Cuisines

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Story/Tip

Red Curry with Prawns Photo, Thailand, Asia
Quote:
At first sight, there aren’t two cuisines more afar than the Thai and South American ones. I have extensively described both and the conclusions are clear. Thais favor complex dishes, heavily spiced balancing several flavors at once. South American cuisines prefer unsophisticated dishes—just burn the meat—with few or no spices. Thais adore blending hot, sour and sweet; most South Americans spice up exclusively with salt, and would claim that saffron is too spicy, and chilies are barbaric. Don’t catch me on the word here; I’m just trying to summarize a lot of data. Bolivians use chilies, but in a limited way, ...Read More

On Lakam and Loquat

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Story/Tip

Dragon Fruit (center) Photo, Thailand, Asia
Quote:
Thailand—as the rest of Southeast Asia—is awesomely rich in fruits. Their variety is wide and their quality exceptional. Yet, even the fruit-loving traveler would find himself at lost while staring at some of them for the first time. If seeing a durian for the first time while in a Thai supermarket, few will figure out that this spiky fruit must be open with a machete-like knife, while wearing thick gloves. The stench following this action will be even harder to predict. Time and again I triumphed over these difficulties with the help of guesthouse workers in remote areas. Unlike their guild-broth...Read More

Big Blue Mountain

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Story/Tip

Arrival Point Photo, Thailand, Asia
Quote:
I was exploring one of the lush, green islands dotting Thailand’s seas, when I saw something unusual. Among the greenery, a very simple hut had a large sign stating "Coffee." No other houses could be seen in the vicinity, but that meant little; an entire village could be easily hidden in the steep terrain surrounding the coffee shop. I had no choices; this was a "must stop" spot. Once inside, I was surprised for a second time. I was expecting a simple setup, serving the simplest version of coffee available in Thailand. Since the sign was in English, maybe he would serve also cheap coffee of the soluble type. That was fine; no coffee is too shabby for SeenThat.Yet, I was welcomed by the shiniest...Read More

Between a "G" and a "K"

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Story/Tip

Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao, Lampang Photo, Thailand, Asia
Quote:
If growing up within the realm of a single language, few realize consonants can display as many variations as vowels. Those of us who move back and forth among different families of languages understand that, but this is of little help when it is time to get a cup of "gafeh ron.""G" and "K," "B" and "P," and "D" and "T," are three pairs of closely related consonants. Sometimes, the letters within one of these pairs are interchanged, as happens in the Thai rendering of the word "coffee." In some languages, one letter of the pair is missing, like in Arabic, which lacks the "P." In other languages, in between sounds are added to these pairs. This characterizes Thai, where in-between-c...Read More