A trip to paradise

I am honored to introduce George Hardiman, my reader contributor, who has been to Thailand several times. Nevertheless his recent trip was different from the others and he would like to tell the story. Here is George! ~ Charinya

My recent trip to Thailand has made me more aware and appreciative of Thai food than previous trips, mainly because I stayed in a private house with friends rather than the usual hotels.

I was based in a small village called Pha Khao, Loei province (ผาขาว, เลย)and my hostess Noina (pronounced Noy Na ) is an excellent cook. She cooked meals for me every day that I was there, using fresh local ingredients and awsome cooking skills. Basic meals were Pad Thai, noodles and chicken curry and occasionally papaya salad (yummy) or masaman curry.

I also enjoyed chicken, pork and fish from roadside vendors and ate at many restaurants too. The most memorable and enjoyable meal that I had, apart from my birthday feast (another story) was at a restaurant in a small town named Nong Hin, Loei province (หนองหิน, เลย). The restaurant was called Siam Restaurant.

I am not sure of the name of the dish but it consisted of chunky fish cubes, a variety of chopped vegetables and a mountain of fresh herbs, some of which I had never seen before. The waitress brought a small gas cooker and a large bowl of liquid to our table. The liquid was hot and had the consistency of water, which it might have been, or maybe a light oil. My friends added the fish then vegetables and herbs at short intervals and after a short time, like about 10 minutes, it was ready to eat.

Perhaps I was very hungry that day after a day of cutting sugar cane, but the meal was so nice and I wondered if I would ever have it again. I have decided that I will. And even though we cooked it ourselves we still had to pay (joking).

All the food that we had was delicious, but the one dish that I really loved and tried to have with every meal was mango and sticky rice. I love it. I have tried to make it here but unfortunately our mangos have a different flavour.

I will try to eat the same things on my next trip to paradise.

George Hardiman

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