Home   Blog   Classes   Trips   More   back

Posts Tagged ‘duck’

Thong Lo Duck Noodles – Lee’s Noodles

Michael Babcock, Saturday, December 20th, 2014

I recently found a very good duck noodle shop in Thong Lo (Sukuhmvit Soi 55, pronounced “Tawng Law”). This noodle shop is part of a chain; in Thai it is called บะหมี่คนแซ่ลี, which can be translated as Khon Sae Lee Noodles or just Lee’s Noodles. It’s found on Sukhumvit Road just past the start of the Soi (Sukhumvit 55, Thong Lo) itself.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Assembling Noodles

Assembling noodles

Noodle Set-up

Noodle set-up

Walking up Sukhumvit, crossing Thong Lo (Soi 55) after exiting the skytrain (BTS) I saw this sign and the young woman obviously assembling a bowl of noodles. The picture on the right shows the area where she assembles the noodles and also a bit of the noodle shop itself, which is pretty much your basic Thai shop-front food shop.

The sign indicates what kind of noodles are sold here: บะหมี่ – ba mee – which are egg noodles made with wheat. This shop claims home-made noodles. The food hanging in the front of the shop (see below) lets you know that they make duck and pork noodles.

Duck Noodles

Duck and Wonton Noodles

At duck noodle shops I usually order บะหมี่เป็ดแห้ง – Ba Mee Ped Haeng – which literally means dry duck noodles. You have a choice of getting the noodles dry or as a soup: บะหมี่เป็ดน้ำ – Ba Mee Ped Nahm. I always get the dry noodles.

The dish I ordered here, shown to the left, included shrimp and pork wonton, which you can see to the right of the rest of the ingredients in the bowl. In addition the dish contains the noodles, slices of roast duck and blanched green vegetables. I’m not sure what the Thai name would be (with the wontons); the restaurant does have menus in English, complete with pictures.

In Thailand, dishes such as this are meant to have their flavors adjusted to your taste preference using the ubiquitous Thai Condiment Set. I added a healthy dose of dried red chillies (as you can see below right), followed it up with several (small) spoonfuls of a vinegar/green chilli mixture (for sour), some fish sauce (for salty) and just a touch of sugar to help meld the flavors. After a couple tastes and a couple of small adjustments, the noodles could be mixed up and eaten.

Duck and Wonton Noodles 2

Duck and Wonton Noodles, with dried chillies

The price for the duck and wonton noodles was 60 baht; for noodles with just duck (no wonton) the price is 50 baht.

The verdict: it’s a very good bowl of noodles. The noodles themselves are tasty with a good texture. The roast duck is succulent and moist. The pork and shrimp wonton are very, very tasty; they are seasoned very well. All in all, it will do as a replacement for the other Thong Lo Duck Noodle Shop that I patronized for so many years (now, sadly, closed). I would say, though, that I preferred the noodles, which were a bit wider, at the old shop; also, they had a better source of sour – vinegar with crushed red chillies. Still, this new shop definitely satisfies the craving.

Shop Front

Front of the shop

Shop Front Detail

Close-up of shop front

Lee’s Noodles serves more than duck, as you can see from these pictures of the front of the shop. They have crispy roasted pork, roasted red pork (shown here) and also crab. You can get the egg noodles served with each of those or you can have your meat of preference served over rice. You can also combine meats in any combination.

I will certainly return here. I may have to eschew my beloved duck noodles in favor of the “everything” combo (for 80 baht), which has: duck, crispy roasted pork, roasted red pork and crab as well as the pork and shrimp wonton.

By the way, all the time we were there eating there was a steady stream of customers, both in the shop and getting noodles to go. What with customers eating there and the to go orders, the woman assembling the noodles never stopped the entire time we were there.


Assembling Noodles

Assembling noodles

Location

บะหมี่คนแซ่ลี
Ba Mee Khon Sae Lee (Thonglor Branch)
1081 In front of soi Thonglor, Sukhumvit 55-57
Sukhumvit Road
Klongton Nua, Wattana,
Bangkok, 10110
Phone: 02-381-8180
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (unconfirmed)
Facebook Page
Google Map of Lee’s Noodles Thong Lor


Written by Michael Babcock, December 2014

Fried Foods in Thailand

Michael Babcock, Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Fried foods are found all over Thailand – as street food and in restaurants – in great variety and abundance. One of my first impressions traveling in Thailand over 2 decades ago was how skillful Thais are at frying food and how popular fried foods seem to be. This blog looks at and celebrates the Thai frying expertise.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Frying Fish Cakes

Frying Fish Cakes

Fried Foods

Fried foods at market

Thais are very inventive with their frying and it seems that they will fry just about anything: seafood of all kinds (shrimp, fish, squid), meats (pork in many forms, duck, chicken), kanom (bananas, bread, dumplings), appetizers (shrimp and fish cakes) and even leafy vegetables (such as holy basil – bai kaprao). We’ve even come across Fried Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam Tod) while traveling in the northeast. Thais fry foods so well: the foods seldom taste oily or greasy at all. On one of Kasma’s small-group trips to Thailand, one of the tour members went into a MacDonalds in Chiang Mai: his main take-away was how much better the fried foods were there compared to those in the U.S. When a famous Thai chef says that “. . .Thais appear to remain ambivalent about it [deep-frying]. . .” I wonder if we’re talking about the same cuisine and people.

The Thai word for fry is ทอด – tod (pronounced “tawd”), as distinct from ผัด – pad – which means “stir-fry.” ทอด (tod) can refer to food that has been deep-fried or pan-fried. Everything shown in this article was deep-fried.

One only has to walk through a Thai market or anywhere that street food is being made or to look at the menu at most restaurants to realize that Thais love fried foods: you see them everywhere. They even fry leafy green herbs and vegetables. I’ll let the pictures below speak for themselves in celebrating the variety of fried foods that Thais enjoy.

Remember, these are only a few of the fried dishes available in Thailand. (I’ve included them all in a Slideshow of Thai Fried Foods at the bottom of the page.)

Fried Fish

I’ll start with fried fish – one of the most common fried foods. There are at least dozens of different fried fish recipes in Thai cuisine, including many whole fried fish. The first time I had a whole fried fish in Thailand, typically prepared so that it was quite crispy, I loved it: you could eat virtually the entire fish, including fins and most of the bones. The crispy, crunchy feel in the mouth seemed to be an integral part of the whole experience. There was no oily feel at all – the fish might have been broiled crispy. It was quite clear that Thais know their frying.

Fried Whole Fish 1

Fried Lemongrass Fish

Fried Whole Fish 2

Fried Snakehead Fish

I’ve heard many westerners (and 1 Thai) who thought that the typical crispy-fried fish was “over-cooked.” All of the Thais I know would disagree: they love the way the fish is cooked so that it’s crunchy and crispy and they devour nearly the whole plate (only the spine and a few other bones remain) with great gusto and enjoyment. I’ve had too many deep fried dishes in Thailand that were not cooked as crispy as the typical fried whole fish to believe that cooking fish in this manner is anything but a culinary choice based on preference.

The fish shown above left also includes fried lemongrass and fried kaffir lime leaves.

You may enjoy Kasma’s blog on How to Fry a Crispy Fish Thai Style. Scroll down on that page to see a Slideshow of Some Crispy Fried Fish Dishes with a dozen other whole fried fish dishes.

Fish Appetizer

Miang Pla

Turmeric Fried Fish

Turmeric Fried Fish

The picture above left shows a popular appetizer – Miang Pla – Tidbits with Fish Wrapped in a Leaf. Kasma has an entire Thai cookbook (in Thai) of miang – dishes with tidbits – of which the best known is undoubtedly Miang Kam (Tasty Leaf-wrapped Tidbits). This dish is essentially Miang Kam with the addition of fried fish. In Thailand a wild pepper leaf (bai cha plu), not betal leaf, is the leaf of choice; you take a bit of the fish, a little bit of each of the other ingredients, add a dab of sauce and pop the whole thing into your mouth for an explosion of flavors.

Above right we see Turmeric Fried Fish – Pla Tod Kamin – made from small fish that are fried (and eaten) whole. In addition to the fish, chopped garlic and turmeric are crispy fried to be served on top of the fish.

Fried Sour Fish

Fried Sour Fish

Choo Chee Fish

Choo Chee Fish

Although it sometimes seems as if the most popular way to fry fish is as an entire fish, it is also fried in chunks. To the right we see a dish popular in the northeast (in Isan, or Isaan) – Pla Som (Northeastern-style Soured fish). In this recipe, fish is cut into fillets or chunks, mixed together with salt and garlic and left out to ferment until it sours. After this, the fish is crispy fried and served, often with fried garlic or shallots (more fried food!), as shown above. In the dish above right, the chunks of fish are fried and then cooked with a spicy choo chee curry sauce. Delicious.

Fried Fish

Fried fish dish

How much do Thais love fried fish? To the left is a simple dish you’ll come across at just about any Thai market or kao kaeng (rice-curry) shop, such as Raan Nong Pun in between Ayuthaya and Sukhothai on Asian Highway 1. Fish is skinned, butterflied open, salted and partially dried in the sun; it is then fried crispy and eaten with rice. It is cooked crispy and simply like this because people love it this way. Many times when I’ve been eating with a table of Thais, this was the first dish to be devoured.

Fried Fish Curry

Sour (Fried) Fish Curry

Crispy Catfish Salad

Crisped Catfish Salad

Fried fish is also used as an ingredient in soups and curries. To the upper left we see Sour Tamarind Curry with Fish and Vegetable (Kaeng Som Pla). For this dish, taken from Kasma’s Intermediate Thai Cooking Class, #2, fish filets are cut into chunks, deep-fried and then added to the soup. The dish could also be made with smaller, whole-fried fish: on our travels in Thailand we often have a Hot-and-Sour Fish Soup (Tom Yum Pla) made with whole, smaller-sized fried fish.

No survey of Thai fried foods is complete without including Crisped Catfish Salad with Sour Green Mango and Peanuts or Cashews (Yum Pla Doog Foo). For this dish, a whole catfish is grilled until cooked through; it is then torn into shreds and the shreds are deep-fried until crispy and used in a salad, such as the one above right. There is a similar salad that shreds roasted duck and fries it as the basis for a salad. This is not a dish for anyone ambivalent about fried foods. The peanuts (or cashews) in the dish are fried as well.

Pork, Chicken, Duck

Fried Pork Leg

Fried Pork Leg

Fried Pork Ribs

Fried Soured Pork Ribs

To the left above you see one of my very favorite fried foods – Fried Pork Leg (Ka Moo Tod). In this recipe, skin-on pork leg is first stewed with flavorful spices until it is tender; it is then deep-fried to get a caramelized, tasty outside to complement the succulent, tasty inside. It is served with a dipping sauce or two (to the lower left in the above photo) and often with pickled ginger. We now find it all over Thailand, from Korat (as above), to Trang, to Bangkok to Ayuthaya. Sometimes the pork leg is smoked (prior to frying) adding another flavor dimension.

The Northern Fried Soured Pork Ribs (Naem See Krohng) from Chiang Mai pictured above is another widely available fried pork dish. First pork ribs are fermented until sour and then they are deep fried. They are then served with a number of different items: peanuts (often fried, as well), ginger, Thai chillies and shallots. You pop the rib plus the other items of your choice into the mouth and eat them together.

Fried Pork Skin

Fried Pork Skin

Crispy Fried Duck

Crispy Fried Duck

One item that is found in most of the markets is fried pork skin, such as that shown above left, where it is served with a Northern-pork-based dipping sauce – Nam Prik Ong. Another fried pork dish is Crisp-Fried Seasoned Pork (Moo Tod Kreuang Tod), where pork steaks or cutlets are marinated, “breaded”, then fried, then cut into bite-sized pieces and eaten with a dipping sauce. There’s also an Isan dish – Crisp-Fried Northeastern-Style Hot-and-Sour Chopped Pork Patties with Aromatic Herbs and Toasted Rice (Lahb Moo Tod) – with fried pork patties. There’s also fried sour sausage – naem tod – which is shown further on in the blog.

On the right above is Crispy Duck on a Bed of Shrimp Chips and Crisped Greens Served with Spicy Plum and Toasted Sesame Sauce (Ped Lon). This is actually a tri-fecta of deep fried items, with fried shrimp chips and crispy-fried greens in addition to the duck. This picture is taken from Kasma’s Weeklong Advanced Set 2B class (day 5).

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

Fried Turmeric Chicken

Fried Turmeric Chicken

Lately I seem to run across Fried Chicken in all of the markets, northern, central or southern. The delicious looking golden-fried chicken above is from outside of the Crystal Pool in Krabi. Most of the street-food chicken is similar in appearance: golden and crispy. Fried chicken in Thailand is some of the best I’ve ever had: one reason is that most of the chicken is deep-fried in palm oil. Also, the taste of the chickens in Thailand is better: when Kasma was developing this recipe for an advanced class, she found that the type of chicken made all the difference – the big-breasted chickens found in American supermarkets just do not fry up as tasty.

In restaurants, you’ll often find fried chicken such as that in the above right picture: Crispy-Fried Turmeric Chicken (Gai Tod Kamin) from Bai Fern Restaurant in Mae Hong Son. After the chicken is fried, the various pieces are chopped into bite-sized pieces and served with a sweet-and-sour chilli sauce, such as that on the plate, and often some accompanying vegetables. You can see that the chicken is crispy on the outside and moist on the inside (click the picture for a larger image).

Vegetables

Thai frying enjoyment and expertise is not limited to the animal kingdom: they also are adept at creating delicious fried vegetables.

Eggplant Salad

Fried Eggplant Salad

Fried Greens Salad

Fried Greens Salad

To the upper left is a salad at Vientiane Kitchen in Bangkok that uses long eggplants fried in batter as the main ingredient: it is quite delicious.

To the right, crispy fried greens (Kasma uses pak boong – morning glory – in her recipe) are pretty much the whole salad with the addition of a tart, sweet and hot pork sauce poured over it (Kasma’s version of this recipe uses shrimp): it is crunchy, spicy and delicious. The fried vegetable does not taste greasy or oily.

Fried Sausage

Fried Sausage in Fried Taro Basket

Taro Fritters

Taro Fritters

The picture on the left shows Fried Sour Sausage (Naem Tod). I’ve included it here under vegetables because the fried sausage is resting in an edible basket made from crispy-fried taro. It’s a fun dish: you get to eat the basket as well as the sausage.

Next to to it on the right we see Crunchy Taro Fritters, Served with Sweet-and-Sour Dipping Sauce (Peuak Tod). In addition to making taro fritters, you often see fried taro chips in the markets; they come in two varieties, sweetened and un-sweetened.

Cha Om Salad

Crispy Fried Cha-Om Salad

Fried Crab

Fried Soft-shell Crab

Is there another cuisine where fried leafy greens or herbs can form such an essential part of a dish? The Crispy Fried Cha-Om Salad (Yum Cha-Om Krob) above left is from A. Mallika Restaurant in Bangkok. Cha-Om is part of the acacia family – see Kasma’s blog: Cha-Om – A Delicious and Nutritious Tropical Acacia. The fried vegetable is topped with a yum-type salad, in this case pork and squid with a sour-salty-sweet-spicy hot sauce.

Holy basil (bai kaprao) is the leafy green I’ve seen crispy-fried most often. Above right it accompanies a Fried Soft-shell Crab dish at our favorite Pranburi restaurant – Sunni’s Restaurant; the soft-shell crabs are deep-fried as well. The same restaurant makes a Stir-Fried Basil Crab (Neua Poo Pad Kaprao) that also uses deep-fried holy basil. Crispy-fried basil is also often served with Fish Cakes (Tod Man) and we’ve also seen it in the Crispy Fried Duck above. I’ve also seen fried kaffir lime leaves on a number of dishes.

Other Fried Ingredients

It’s not enough to have dishes where fried foods are the main attraction: there are also various other fried items that provide an accent or an accompaniment to various Thai dishes.

Bitter Melon Salad

Bitter Melon Salad

Roasted Eggplant Salad

Roasted Eggplant Salad

Fried cashews are found in many salads, such as the Yum Mara (Bitter Melon Salad) above left. They also form the main ingredient of a spicy, limy Cashew Salad (Yum Med Mamuang).

Both salads above feature fried shallots, as do many yum-type salads. It’s hard to describe how delicious this ingredient is: the frying seems to accentuate the sweetness of the shallots. Yummy.

The Eggplant Salad above also uses crispy fried shallots.

Crispy Rice Salad

Crispy Rice & Sour Sausage Salad

Fried Fish

Fried Fish with Fried Chillies

Fried peanuts are an ingredient that frequently accompanies certain dishes, such as fried naem sausage or ribs, where it is eaten with the sausage (along with ginger and Thai chillies). Above left we see them with the Crispy Rice & Sour Sausage Salad  (Yum Naem Kao Tod) from Ton Kreuang Restaurant in Bangkok; the base of the salad is cooked rice, which is mixed with various ingredients, including a chilli paste, formed into rounded balls and deep fried until the outside is brown and crispy.

Both of the above pictures feature fried dried red chillies. You are meant to bite off a bit of the fried chilli to go with some of the salad or fish: it provides added heat, flavor and texture.

Dried chillies, in the form of dried red pepper flakes, are also fried in oil along with a bit of salt to make a chilli-oil that is served with Kao SoiNorthern Style Curry Noodles.

Street Food

Fried foods are found at pretty much every open-air market or street-food scene in Thailand. You’ll typically find many woks bubbling away with oil.

Fried Dough

Fried Dough

Fried Rice Snacks

Fried Rice Cake Snacks

Fried Dough, such as that above left from the Sukhothai Market is fairly common, particularly in the morning at breakfast time.

Fried Rice Cakes such as the ones above right from the Sunday market in Nakhon Si Thammarat are also fairly common. The swirls most visible on the green rice cakes (they are green from pandanas leaf – bai toey) is palm sugar, to add a bit of sweetness. (The purple color on the other rice cakes comes from butterfly pea flower.)

Fried Shrimp

Fried Shrimp

Fried Fish Skin

Fried Fish Skin

Another common market food consists of small, fried shrimp  in batter, such as the picture above left from the Takua Pa Market.

Fried Fish Skin, such as that shown above right, is one of the tastiest fried snacks. Click on the picture  from the  market at Wat Yai Chaimongkhon in Ayuthaya – in the larger version you’ll see that there are several different kinds of fried fish skin, varying in size and texture. The fried fish skin is sold with one or two different dipping sauces as accompaniments. Kasma always buys a few varieties for her tour-group members to taste: often skeptical at first (“You want us to eat fish skin?!”), they usually eat up everything she buys.

Fried Insects

Fried insects

Fried Naem Sausage

Fried Naem Sour Sausage

I was somewhat surprised the first time I tried fried insects: they are actually pretty tasty. In much of the world, insects are a legitimate food; after all, they contain fair amounts of protein and fat. The variety of insects shown to the left are from the market at Nakhon Pathom and as you can see (click on the image for a larger version) there are many different varieties: all fried.

I’m including the Fried Naem Sausage (seen above right) here, though this picture is from the restaurant Kaeng Ron Baan Suan in Chiang Mai, because it is often found as a street food. You select any of the other items on the plate (chilli, ginger, fried peanuts, cabbage) and pop them in your mouth with a piece of sausage. When you buy it on the street, you get a log bamboo stick, which you use to spear a sausage bite, with the accoutrements in an accompanying plastic bag.

Appetizers

In the fried fish section above, the dish Miang Pla is often served as an appetizer; also the Fried Naem Sour Sausage directly above.

Fish Cakes

Fried Fish Cakes

Shrimp Cakes

Fried Shrimp Cakes

If I was told that Fried Fish cakes (Tod Man Pla) are the most popular appetizer in Thailand, I would not be surprised. You see them everywhere: in nearly every market (I could have included this is the Street Food section above) and in many restaurants. These are nearly always served with the sweet dipping sauce shown in the picture above left and a cucumber relish/salad, which is not pictured. This photo was taken at Don Wai Market in Nakhon Pathom province; The very first picture in this blog shows a young woman frying these fish cakes at the same market.

The second photo (to the right) shows another type of Tod Man, which is fried after being “breaded.” It is Tod Man Goong – Fried Shrimp Cakes – from the restaurant at Koh Poda in Krabi province. These are served with just a sweet dipping sauce.

Tod Man is characterized by a rather “bouncy” texture.

Fried Noodles

Glazed Crispy Noodles

Shrimp Toast

Fried Shrimp Toast

The above left picture shows Glazed Crispy Noodles – Mee Krob – from Kasma’s First Intermediate Thai Cooking Class. Thin rice sticks (a type of noodle – sen mee in Thai) are fried until golden and crispy at the edges and then crumbled in a bowl and coated with a sweet sauce (also slightly sour and salty). It is typically served with egg shreds, slivered red chillies, bean sprouts, garlic chives or green onions, to help cut any oiliness left on the noodles. In restaurants this dish is often too sweet for my taste.

The second picture shows Crispy Shrimp Toast, Served with Cucumber Relish – Kanom Pang Na Goong – from Trang. In this recipe, a shrimp mixture made from ground shrimp, more like a paste really, is spread over bread and then deep-fried until brown. Kasma’s version uses both shrimp and crab and is served with a sweet-and-sour plum sauce; in the version above right, it is served with a slightly sweet cucumber relish. There’s also Crispy Pork Toast and Crispy Crab Toast.

Fried Won Ton

Fried Won Ton

Fish Sausage

Fried Fish Sausage

Another appetizer, above left, from Ubon Ratchathani, is Crispy Fried Won Ton. I include it here even though won ton are really more Chinese than Thai.

I’ve included the second picture because I love the presentation. it shows Deep-fried Fish Sausage presented in-between the (fried) fish head and tail; it comes with the sour/spicy dipping sauce shown on the plate to the upper right. We had this at the restaurant Kai Mook in Mae Hong Son.

Desserts

Fried Bananas

Fried Bananas

Fried Peanut Crunch

Fried Peanut Crunch

Fried Bananas – Kluay Tod – are one of the most common street foods. It is also a fairly common dessert in restaurants. The picture above left actually is from the Mae Sa Resort above Chiang Mai: it’s a bit puffier than most of its street-food variety counterparts. You’ll also find fried banana chips in nearly any market or kanom shop.

The second picture is from a  market at Wat Yai Chaimongkhon in Ayuthaya. It shows Fried Peanut Crunch (Tua Tod Paen), a tasty fried kanom that you’ll see in some of the markets around the country. They are slightly sweet (not overly so), crunchy and tasty.


Slideshow of Thai Fried Foods

As you watch this, reflect on the fact that you are seeing a fraction of the fried dishes available in Thailand.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Fried Foods
Fried Whole Fish 1
Fried Whole Fish 2
Fish Appetizer
Turmeric Fried Fish
Fried Sour Fish
Choo Chee Fish
Fried Fish
Fried Fish Curry
Crispy Catfish Salad
Fried Pork Leg
Fried Pork Ribs
Fried Pork Skin
Crispy Fried Duck
Fried Chicken
Fried Turmeric Chicken
Fried Eggplant Salad
Fried Greens Salad
Fried Sausage
Taro Fritters
Cha Om Salad
Fried Crab
Bitter Melon Salad
Roasted Eggplant Salad
Crispy Rice Salad
Fried Fish
Fried Dough
Fried Rice Cake Snacks
Fried Shrimp
Fried Fish Skin
Fried Insects
Fried Naem Sausage
Fish Cakes
Shrimp Cakes
Fried Noodles
Shrimp Toast
Fried Won Ton
Fish Sausage
Fried Bananas
Fried Peanut Crunch

Fried shrimp and chicken at Worarat market in Chiang Mai

Fried Lemongrass Fish from Chiang Mai

Fried Snakehead Fish at Bai Fern Restaurant in Mae Hong Son

A fish appetizer - Miang Pla - from Vientiane Kitchen in Bangkok

Turmeric Fried Fish - Pla Tod Kamin - served with crispy-fried garlic and turmeric

Fried Sour Fish - Pla Som Tod - from Nong Kai

Fried Choo Chee Fish from Sukhothai

Fish, salted, partially sun-dried and then fried

Sour Tamarind Curry with (Fried) Fish and Vegetable (Kaeng Som Pla)

Crisped Catfish Salad with Sour Green Mango and Peanuts (Yam Pla Doog Foo)

Fried Pork Leg (Ka Moo Tod) from Korat

Northern Fried Soured Pork Ribs (Naem See Krohng)

Fried Pork Skin with Dipping Sauce

Crispy Duck on a Bed of Shrimp Chips and Crisped Greens (Ped Lon)

Fried Chicken - Gai Tod - from the Crystal Pool in Krabi

Fried Turmeric Chicken - Gai Tod Kamin - from Bai Fern in Mae Hong Son

(Fried) Eggplant Salad - Yam Makeua Yao - at Vientiane Kitchen in Bangkok

Fried Greens Salad at Kao Mook Restaurant in Mae Hong Son

Fried Naem Sour Sausage Slices in Crispy Taro Basket (Naem Tod)

Crunchy Taro Fritters Served with Sweet-and-Sour Dipping Sauce (Peuak Tod)

Crispy Fried Cha-Om Salad (Yum Cha-Om Krob)

Fried Soft-shell Crab with Fried Greens

Bitter Melon Salad - Yum Mara - with fried shallots & cashews

Roasted Eggplant Salad (Yum Makeua Yao)

Crispy Rice & Sour Sausage Salad (Yum Naem Kao Tod)

Crispy Fried Fish with Roasted Chilli Sauce

Frying Dough Balls in Sukhothai

Fried Rice Cake Snacks in Nakhon Si Thammarat

Fried Shrimp in Batter from Takua Pa

Fried Fish Skin in Ayuthaya

Fried insects at the market in Nakhon Pathom

Fried Naem Sour Sausage Slices (Naem Tawd)

Fried Fish Cakes - Tod Man Pla - at Don Wai Market

Fried Shrimp Cakes - Tod Man Goong - on Koh Poda in Krabi

Glazed Crispy Noodles - Mee Krob - from Kasma's Intermediate Thai Cooking Class

Crispy Shrimp Toast - Kanom Pang Na Goong - from Trang

Fried Won Ton with a sweet sauce from a restaurant in Ubon Ratchathani

Fried Fish Sausage from Kai Mook Restaurant in Mae Hong Son

Fried Bananas - Kluay Tod - from Mae Sa Resort

Fried Peanut Crunch (Tua Tod Paen)

Fried Foods thumbnail
Fried Whole Fish 1 thumbnail
Fried Whole Fish 2 thumbnail
Fish Appetizer thumbnail
Turmeric Fried Fish thumbnail
Fried Sour Fish thumbnail
Choo Chee Fish thumbnail
Fried Fish thumbnail
Fried Fish Curry thumbnail
Crispy Catfish Salad thumbnail
Fried Pork Leg thumbnail
Fried Pork Ribs thumbnail
Fried Pork Skin thumbnail
Crispy Fried Duck thumbnail
Fried Chicken thumbnail
Fried Turmeric Chicken thumbnail
Fried Eggplant Salad thumbnail
Fried Greens Salad thumbnail
Fried Sausage thumbnail
Taro Fritters thumbnail
Cha Om Salad thumbnail
Fried Crab thumbnail
Bitter Melon Salad thumbnail
Roasted Eggplant Salad thumbnail
Crispy Rice Salad thumbnail
Fried Fish thumbnail
Fried Dough thumbnail
Fried Rice Cake Snacks thumbnail
Fried Shrimp thumbnail
Fried Fish Skin thumbnail
Fried Insects thumbnail
Fried Naem Sausage thumbnail
Fish Cakes thumbnail
Shrimp Cakes thumbnail
Fried Noodles thumbnail
Shrimp Toast thumbnail
Fried Won Ton thumbnail
Fish Sausage thumbnail
Fried Bananas thumbnail
Fried Peanut Crunch thumbnail

Written by Michael Babcock, January 2014. The views of this blog are those of the author only. Any errors are his alone.

Thai Thanksgiving Dish

Kasma Loha-unchit, Thursday, November 4th, 2010

At Thanksgiving time there’s a great option for a main course at your Thanksgiving feast – it’s Roast Duck and Pumpkin Curry.

Ingredients

Ingredients for curry

It’s  that time of year again when pretty winter squashes in different sizes, shapes and colors attract my attention at produce markets near my home. I can’t  resist picking up an assortment to take home to brighten up the greenhouse window in my kitchen. Most of them sooner or later end up in the pot, pan and wok, adding sweetness, richness and the golden color of autumn to comfort foods that warm the cool evenings of the season.

Ingredients

More ingredients

Though not as colorful and outwardly pretty, my favorite golden squash for cooking is still the Japanese kabocha, as its flavor, smoothness and creaminess are closest to the tropical “pumpkins” I grew up eating in Thailand. Although it is available year-round in the Bay Area, at this time of year, riper and tastier ones are easier to find. I look for squashes that have a good weight for their size and whose color has turned from the deep green of summer to a grayish green splashed with the golden hues of the season. The outside peel of ripened kabochas may feel a little sticky to the touch, revealing that the sugar is well-developed and sweetness is assured. (See Kasma’s blog on Kabocha Squash.)

Ready to Cook

Ready to cook

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

The bright golden flesh of kabocha cooks to a smooth and creamy consistency and is delicious paired with coconut milk in desserts and in rich, warming soups. It can also be cut into sticks, coated with seasonings and fried to make a tasty snack, served with a tamarind dipping sauce. As Thanksgiving approaches, I like to pair the golden squash with roast duck, simmering them in a spicy curry sauce to serve up as a main dish with rice. My husband, in fact, finds the combination perfect for the season, and calls it our “Thai Thanksgiving curry.”

Frying Curry Paste

Frying curry paste

The curry paste I prefer with duck is red curry. Unlike Indian curries where dry spices figure prominently, the popular Southeast Asian red curry is decidedly herbal with the majority of ingredients comprised of moist tropical herbs and roots, such as lemon grass, galanga, kaffir lime peel, cilantro roots, kachai (an aromatic ginger), garlic and shallots. To these are added a few varieties of dry seeds, such as peppercorns, coriander and cumin, and fermented shrimp paste. It is “red” from both fresh and dried red chillies, and although other curries may have a reddish color, red curry is a particular combination of ingredients that makes it more herbal and lighter-tasting than say, massaman and panaeng curries, for instance.

Cooking Curry

Duck & squash added

Several brands of red curry paste are imported from Thailand, available in plastic pouches, plastic tubs, glass jars and tin cans. I generally do not like canned pastes as canning tends to destroy the subtle flavors of more delicate herbs in the paste. My favorite brand is Mae Ploy  in small and large plastic tubs. This is a spicy and salty paste that probably will not require the addition of fish sauce during cooking. It is readily available in Asian markets that carry Thai ingredients. (See Kasma’s Favorite Brands.)

Red Curry

Ready to eat!

Save yourself the trouble of roasting the duck for the curry by buying one of the beautifully roasted ducks seen hanging in front of duck shops in Chinatown or in the cooked foods section of large, full-service Asian supermarkets. Have the duck chopped up for you into bite-size pieces, but tell them you do not need the sauce. Cook the duck with bone in and skin on to impart a rich roasted duck flavor to the curry sauce. Before serving, skim off and discard the duck fat that has melted into the sauce during cooking.

Of course, other kinds of winter squashes may be used for the curry, so if you have a preference for others of autumn’s golden fruits, try them in this curry. The calabasa now available in many farmer’s markets is delicious and should not be missed.

See our website for more in Thai recipes.


This recipe is also available on our website – Roast Duck and Pumpkin Curry


Roast Duck and Pumpkin Curry – Gkaeng Ped Bped

A Recipe of Kasma Loha-unchit

Ingredients

  • An approximately 1 1/2-lb. kabocha or other winter squash
  • 4-5 cups coconut milk (use two 19-oz cans of the Mae Ploy brand)
  • 4-6 Tbs. red curry paste
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tbs. palm or coconut sugar
  • Fish sauce (nahm bplah) as needed to desired saltiness
  • 2 1/2 to 3 lb. roast duck, chopped through the bone into small chunks
  • 2-4 red hot chillies, cut into thin slivers with seeds (optional)
  • 2 cups Thai basil leaves and flower buds
  • Basil sprig(s) for garnish

Cut the kabocha in half, scoop out the seeds and pith. Placing the cut ends flat on a surface for balance, peel and discard the greenish skin. Then cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch chunks.

Do not shake the cans of coconut milk before opening. Spoon 2/3 cup of the thickest cream off the top of a can into a large pot placed over medium-high heat. Reduce cream until thick and bubbly (about 3 minutes), then add the curry paste. Stir and mush the paste into the coconut cream and fry for a few minutes until it is very aromatic and darkened in color. Then pour in the remaining milk from both cans, stirring well to dissolve the paste to make a smooth rich sauce.

Add 1 1/2 Tbs. of palm or coconut sugar, stirring well to blend into the curry sauce. Taste and add fish sauce only as necessary to salt to the desired saltiness (may not be necessary with some brands of curry paste which are already highly salted).

Add the kabocha chunks and duck pieces. Stir well into the sauce. If there is not enough curry sauce to cover most of the duck and squash pieces, add more coconut milk; or if the sauce already looks plenty rich, add 1/2 cup of water instead, as the squash and duck will thicken and enrich the sauce even more when they are cooked.

Return to a boil, then lower heat to medium, or just enough to boil the sauce gently. Cook partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, or cooked to your liking (15-20 minutes or more). Taste the sauce and adjust as needed with fish sauce and palm sugar to the desired salty-sweet combination. If more hotness is desired, stir in the slivered chillies.

If a lot of fat has cooked out from the duck, skim out the oil floating on top of the curry sauce. Then stir in the basil until it wilts to a bright green color. Turn off heat and spoon curry into a serving dish. Garnish top with basil sprig(s).

The preferred canned coconut milk for this recipe is Mae Ploy and Kasma’s preferred curry paste is Mae Ploy – found in plastic tubs in many Asian Markets. (See Kasma’s Favorite Brands.)


Written by Kasma Loha-unchit, November 2010.

Thong Lo Duck Noodles (Closed, alas)

Michael Babcock, Thursday, March 18th, 2010

UPDATE: Alas, my favorite noodle shop is now closed (probably in 2013, actually). If you’re looking for another noodle shop in Thong Lo, try Lee’s Noodles.

I’ll leave this blog posted for historical reasons.


I have a particularly fond spot in my heart for duck noodles in Thailand; luckily they are available at in a little duck noodle shop at the Thong Lo neighborhood where I often stay.

Duck Noodle Shop

“Mandarin” Duck Noodle Shop

On my very first trip to Thailand (in 1992) I arrived in the early morning and by the time I got to my hotel in Thong Lo* it was past 3:00 a.m. I was hungry so Kasma took me across Sukhumvit Road to the night market on Soi 38. I was amazed! The street was all lit up, as bright as daytime, and there were maybe 20 different food stalls, many with patrons sitting in front. We went to a duck noodle stall and I still can taste those noodles. (A recent Wednesday Photo showed a night market vendor at the same market.)

Duck Noodle Shop from Street

Duck Noodle Shop on Thong Lo

That very first year I discovered a duck noodle shop right around the corner from where we stay. It’s become a favorite place to eat ever since. It’s a fairly typical storefront eating place in Thailand, opening right up onto the street with the food assembled in the front and tables and chairs in back. The sign above the store says (in Thai) “Mandarin.”

Making Duck Noodles

Making duck noodles

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

It is on Thong Lo (Sukhumvit Soi 55) on the Soi 55 side somewhat more than a block in; so quite close to the Thong Lo Skytrain stop. It’s next to a Japanese bakery and on the other side it’s two buildings before a driveway for the Grand Tower Inn. (The bakery address is 25/15.) You’ll see the plump ducks hanging in the glass display case in front.

To my taste, the duck in Thailand tastes a whole lot better than what we get in the states. They seem plumper and tastier. There is somewhat less fat (it is a warm climate, presumably they don’t need it there) and the taste is just exquisite.

Duck Noodles

Duck Noodles at the Mandarin

Like most noodle shops, this one specializes in one type of noodle, in this case, duck, roast duck (such as you find hanging in Chinatown stores here in the U.S.); there are other shops that serve, instead, stewed duck noodles. This shop also sell pork dishes, and though the crispy pork looks very appetizing, the only thing I’ve ever ordered there is duck. On occasion with Kasma we’ll order a plate of the duck and some chinese kroccoli cooked with oyster sauce. The other 90% of the time, I’ll get “Dry Duck Noodles” – Ba Mee Bped Haeng. The cost is 55 baht. This might be considered somewhat pricey compared to street stalls but there is a substantial amount of duck and I think it’s well worth it.

Condiment Set

Condiment set for adding flavors

When you order noodles in Thailand you first specify the type of noodle; in this case it is ba mee, a thin wheat noodle. Next you specify the meat – bped, meaning duck. Then you specify whether you want soup noodles by saying nahm (water, meaning soup) or haeng, meaning dry.

Each bowl is made to order and will include some greens along with the noodles and duck. The noodles come largely without flavoring – you are expected to spice them up according to your taste preference. I have a theory that this learning to balance and harmonize flavors from an early age (whenever they eat noodles) helps Thais to be such excellent cooks.

Duck Noodle Shop Inside

Inside the Mandarin

To flavor your foods, you’ll use the condiment set on the table; although the exact contents vary slightly from place to place, here you have 4 containers with fish sauce or soy (for salty), chilies in vinegar (for sour), dried chillies and roasted chillies in oil. There’s also sugar available on the table, to add sweetness but also to balance the other flavors. (See Kasma’s article, Balancing Flavors: An Exercise .)

I like to add a fair amount of the chillies in oil (I take it to the edge of my heat tolerance) along with some sour, salty and a bit of sugar to balance. After the initial additions, I’ll take a taste and then adjust as needed until it’s just right.

Roast Duck To Go

Roast duck to go

They offer various soft drinks but I usually just get the tea in a glass; it’s free, but the ice is 3 baht. Some noodle shops have a plastic container of weak tea (or water) on the table.

We often get a half a duck to go when we leave. They package it up in a styrofoam container and give you a package of gravy, package of soy sauce based dipping sauce, and a package of pickles. We’ll eat it later, sharing with Kasma’s sister and mom.

* Note: I use the official spelling for Sukhumvit Soi 55, which is Thong Lo (though sometimes Thong Lor, or Thonglor). A more phonetic spelling for the soi would be “Tawng Law.” (See A Note on Thai Pronunciation and Spelling.)

Duck Noodle Close-up

Duck Noodles, spiced, ready to eat


Written by Michael Babcock, March 2010. Updated December 2014.