Eight Delicious Dishes From Around the World

1. Maine Lobster Roll in Perkins Cove, Maine, USA

Lobster rolls all over New England are delicious, but where better to have a Maine lobster than in Maine? They aren’t cheap, but this one from Perkins Cove was well worth the price and drive to get there.

Maine Lobster Roll

Maine lobster roll in Perkins Cove, Maine, USA

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Thai Cooking: Tom Kha Gai Recipe

Tom Kha Goong

Enjoying Tom Kha Goong in Thailand.

We weren’t going to give away any more of Chef Aon’s recipes from our cooking class in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but this ubiquitous Thai soup is just too good not to share. We have used Chef Aon’s recipe to make this soup a couple times since returning to the States. The delicious flavors immediately bring us right back to Thailand. Enjoy!

For this recipe, you can make tom kha gai or tom kha goong. Gai means chicken and goong means shrimp. Some of these ingredients may be difficult for Westerners to find fresh (like galangal and lime leaves) unless you go to an Asian grocery store. If your local supermarket has an international section, you may be able to find these items preserved in jars. Just don’t buy them pickled! Continue reading

What I Learned About Southeast Asia

Dressed for the weather in Hoi An, Vietnam

How can this person even see?!

More than a year ago when I was packing for our trip, I decided to bring shorts and tank tops to wear in Southeast Asia. The region is known for its heat and humidity, so those outfits seemed like the obvious choice. But before we left, I was admittedly pretty ignorant to the habits of other cultures.

In America, we dress for the weather. If it is hot outside, you wear as little clothes as possible. If it’s cold, you bundle up. But I’ve come to learn that the East and West are very different when it comes to attire. When you get out of the bigger cities, such as Bangkok, you’ll notice that locals aren’t sporting miniskirts and spaghetti-string tops. Even though Thailand is known for its beaches, many locals do not wear bathing suits or revealing clothes in beach areas. Many dress conservatively no matter how hot it is and even swim fully clothed. This is especially true in Malaysia, where more than half the population is Muslim. Nude and topless sunbathing is completely taboo, though it’s done by some foreigners on the most touristic beaches.

Their conservative clothing choices are a result of their cultural behavior and religious views. But another reason you’ll find Vietnamese women, for example, walking down the street in pants, a jacket, hat, gloves and a facemask is because they adore light-colored skin. They are afraid to have the sun darken their complexion and damage their skin. Aside from protecting themselves from UV rays, they embrace the use of cosmetics that contain whitener. Continue reading

When You Hear Southeast Asia, What Do You Think?

Flying to Phuket, Thailand

Flying to Phuket, Thailand.

Hello world! After traveling through Southeast Asia these past five months, I wanted to share with our readers what surprised me the most about this area, namely the things you don’t learn about unless you have been here. Then I got to thinking about perceptions and misconceptions. Everywhere Mike and I have been has revealed itself to be slightly or very different from what we were initially expecting.

For example, we thought Johannesburg, South Africa, would be an intimidating crime-ridden place. But like any big city, it has areas that are sketchy at certain times of the day and areas that are quite vibrant and safe. It was truly different from what we were expecting.

So what I want to know from those of you who have not been to Southeast Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, et al.) is this: When you hear “Southeast Asia,” what comes to mind? Even if it’s as simple as chopsticks and beaches in Thailand, I want to hear from you (and I promise to give you huge thanks in my article! 🙂 ) Continue reading

Skipping Scams at the Thai-Cambodia Border Crossing

Visa Scam Center

Turn right to encounter your first visa scam of the day!

I was anxious about crossing into Cambodia. Mike and I read up on a couple border scams and we were prepared to be misled and lied to, but I didn’t know how our pushback would be received. One thing was certain: We were determined to exit Thailand and enter Cambodia without paying a cent more than the official rate.

We had a few options for getting from Bangkok to Cambodia (trains, buses and combinations). Ultimately, we chose a relatively new bus service run by the Thai government that travels directly from Bangkok to Siem Reap. The direct route seemed like the quickest and easiest option. We could also order the bus tickets online, which we love to do so we can accumulate credit card reward points. We thought that using a government bus would mean avoiding the infamous Cambodia visa scam, but we were wrong. Continue reading

Spicing Up Our Cooking Skills

It took 22 days before we put down our chopsticks and asked, “Why have we not learned how to make this delicious food yet?” Tara had a hand in making som tam in the streets of Bangkok, but it was finally in Chiang Mai that we decided enough was enough — we needed to know how to make other mouthwatering Thai dishes.

Mike, Aon and Tara

Tara and Mike with Chef Aon.

There is no shortage of cooking classes in this Chiang Mai, but we are picky when it comes to learning new cuisines. Two boring and non-interactive culinary lessons in India made us very choosey when it came to selecting a class in Thailand. We wanted something with more pizzazz, and we found it in Red Chili Thai Cooking School.

Chef Aon has been operating Red Chili since the beginning of 2013 but already has a reputation as an enthusiastic newcomer to the Chiang Mai cookery school scene. As soon as we met him, we could see why: he’s young, gregarious and passionate about food. We immediately knew this was not going to be another uninspiring class. Continue reading

Chiang Mai Sunday Night Market

Thai tacos

Thai tacos. A delicious bite-sized dessert. The exterior is thin and crispy and tastes like a fortune cookie. The inside consists of sweet fluffy cream and fried strings of egg yolk.

Chinese Buns

Chinese steamed buns.

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