Daily Archives: July 13, 2005

Chinese Chicken Rice

Most nights I usually cook myself something to eat. I don’t really do this to save money as it is quite often cheaper to eat outside. That is as long as you know where to eat. Take this dish as an example. It is called khao mun gai ( ข้าวมันไก่ ) which is basically chicken on rice. A normal plate like this, around the corner from me, costs only 20 baht (about 50 cents). For an extra 5 baht, called “piset” in Thai, you get some extra chicken. Not bad for a meal.

On the other hand, if you go to KFC, which a lot of Thai people do, a plate of Spicy Chicken Rice would set you back 49 baht. A Zinger burger would cost you 55 baht. Three pieces of chicken cost 87 baht. See what I mean? You are better off eating by the side of the road. Who cares about the secret recipe they have at KFC. If you like fried chicken, like they have at KFC, all you have to ask for is “khao mun gai tod” which is the same price! They even give you some cucumber and a bowl of soup!

Chinese Chicken Rice is quite easy to prepare. All you have to do is place the chicken in a pot, add water, salt and coriander roots, and cook over a low heat until done. Skim off any froth to get the clear broth. Remove the chicken, de-bone and cut into slices. Strain the broth and set aside. Then wash the rice, drain and set aside. Heat some oil in a wok, fry the garlic over medium heat until fragrant and golden. Add the rice, stirring well and cook for 3 minutes. Transfer to an electric rice cooker, pour two cups of chicken broth over the rice and cook until the rice is done. Spoon the rice onto a serving dish, arrange the chicken slices on top, garnish with sliced cucumber.

Source: “Popular Thai Cuisine” published by Sangdad Books

The above picture shows you the two different dips available for this dish. Actually, for the first timer it can be very confusing about which sauce or dip (known as “nam jim” in Thai) that should be used for each dish. If you go to a restaurant, it is quite normal to have a half dozen dips put on saucers on your table. Believe me, it takes a while to get used to which one is meant for which dish. This kind of thing is not taken lightly by the Thais. Remember I told you a few months back about my experience at one of the local “pork on a hot plate” places. Here you can eat as much as you can cook yourself for only 69 baht. These places are really popular and there must be at least a dozen within a 10 minute radius of my house. What makes or breaks these places is their secret recipe for their “nam jim”. Forget about the ambience or range of meats on offer. Thai people are only interested in the dips!

Anyway, back to “khao mun gai” and “khao mun gai tod”. The dip on the left is for the former and the one on the right is for the latter! The brown looking one is made from soybean sauce, chili, ginger, sugar, vinegar and dark soy sauce. The red one is much sweeter. It is made up of sugar, red chili, garlic, vinegar and salt. I do like this one and have a large bottle in my kitchen cupboard. You use it for dips for food like fried chicken or fried shrimps.

KanchanaBuri & SangklaBuri Trip – Day 2

Kanchanaburi and Sangkhlaburi Trip – Day 2

Day 2 (28 August 2004) Around KanchanaBuri

At 8 AM sharp the tour van was already waiting at the lobby area. I have a lot of respect for most Thais whom I have met for their professionalism. No matter how small a job they do, they always do their best. The van then picked up a Dutch family at Sam Guesthouse and 2 Japanese ladies from a posh resort hotel.

The Dutch family consisted of a farang father, his Thai wife, a girl of about 12 and a boy about 9. They are from the Netherlands and were back here for the holidays. All spoke Dutch while the Mae Farang could speak Thai. The kids too have some command of mother tongue Thai. I am not too sure if the Farang is the kids’ biological father. They are a very loving, noisy and cheerful lot and it was fun travelling with them.

The Japanese were a reserved lot. One of them was studying Law in the U and another one in Business Administration. It was fun too to have them. I am still communicating with one of them occasionally after sending her their digital photos. I used to work part-time for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the 80’s and could thus speak some Japanese.

And not forgetting the nice lady tour guide, Bee. Bee studied Tourism at the Maha Vithialai Songkhla Nakarin (Prince of Songkhla University – I hope I got the transliteration right). She also has a good command of English and a cheerful disposition. She’s good.

Our first itinery was an elephant ride in a village nearby.

Elephant Ride Station

The next stop was water rafting nearby. Everyone enjoyed themselves very much here.

Bamboo Rafting

The group was then transported to the NamTok Station, which was only one stop away from the famous River Kwai station. Here the view was spectacular.

Finally, the famous River Kwai was in sight.

Composite photo

The Train finally stopped at the River Kwai Station for the passengers, mostly tourists to get down. After the train had stopped, the station become chaotic with tourists walking on the tracks for photo sessions.

Bridge Over River Kwai

Before the end of the tour, we invited the group to join us for the SangklaBuri trip. We needed at least 8 persons for the tour company to agree to arrange the trip using the tour van. The Japanese had to go back due to work commitment. The Dutch, after some family discussions, accepted our offer to join us to SangklaBuri.

As Bee had done a good job, she deserved to be tipped. I could not remember how much we gave, but it was a generous one. Squeezed the boss on the tour fare and gave the savings to the tour guide as an act of social justice? Unfortunately, Bee could not take us to SangklaBuri.

The night was uneventful.

More pictures can be seen on page 2…

KanchanBuri & SangkhlaBuri Trip – Day1

As Pat and Rajanmenji were interested in the KanchanBuri Province, I will take you all with me on a virtual tour. I will go into as much details as possible for some of you planning to visit this part of Thailand.

Day1 (27 Aug 2004) Kuala Lumpur-HaadYai-Bangkok-KanchanaBuri

Why take a circuitous route, you may ask. Malaysian National Day falls on 31 August, and many Malaysians were taking additional off-days to extend their vacations. The AirAsia air ticket from KUL to BKK was naturally very expensive due to demand. I decided to take NokAir from Haadyai instead.

Four of us took an overnight bus from Kuala Lumpur to HaadYai for about 300 Bahts per head. On arrival at the border, we realized that it may a bit late to catch the NokAir flight which departed at about 9:00 AM, if we to go on a bus. So we took a cab directly from the border to the HaadYai airport. It was a right decision.

On arrival at the Bangkok airport, we took a cab to the southern bus terminal and took a bus directly to Kanchanaburi, arriving just after noon. We got on to a tuk-tuk and got the driver to take us around to look for a guest house along the Kwai Noi river. One of our team members was a bit more hygiene-conscious and was apprehensive. We decided to pamper ourselves and checked into the River Kwai Hotel for 1000 Baht per room per night. It was not too expensive, after splitting the cost for twin-sharing and with the breakfast thrown in.

We stayed here 2 nights

We went back later to Sam guest house to make our travel plans to Three Pagoda Pass bordering Myanmar. We were disappointed to find out that the journey was not as straight forward as we thought, and that we will waste a lot time taking buses. Renting a car was an option but as the road was hilly with a lot of bends, we decided not to take the risk. Anna from the Sam tours (if I am not mistaken) was persistent that we should take a day trip around Kanchanburi first, and then depart the following day, as there were 4 confirmed 4 vacancies. We considered the options.

Dinner at the restaurant opposite River Kwai Hotel was not a particularly memorable one. We decided to take up Anan’s offer and I telephoned her to meet at the 7-Eleven near the market. There were 3 7-Eleven surrounding the market! Knowing that the tour van (Rot Tour) had to make the trip with or without us, we had the upper hand of the bargain. She had to make a few calls to her bosses on the offer and counter-offer. Finally, a deal was struck. How much? I don’t remember and it did not matter. But for the sake of practicing my Thai, it was fun.

A deal was finally struck and a happy Anna writing a receipt

What I’m sharing with you for now is that it was a VERY GOOD decision as we really enjoyed the trip and the company. And we would not have covered so much in so little a time.

The night market was full of people and the food was definitely better than the dinner we have had. We tried all sorts of finger food. The ice cream was good. We also had a lot of beer before calling it a night.