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July 4th Celebration, Tropical Fruit (and Edible Flower) Edition

July 4th Tropical Fruit Edition
I’m writing this from a jungle somewhere in western Thailand, and there are lots and lots of butterfly pea flowers, langsat, and rambutans around. I hope you like this tropical fruit (and edible flower) edition of July 4th celebration. I sure did (guess who ate the props).

Happy July 4th to those who celebrate it. Hope you’re enjoying the long holiday and having fun with your loved ones. My current location and situation don’t allow me to cook very often, so there won’t be many recipes on the blog for the rest of the summer, but I’m pretty active on Instagram, so if you’re interested in seeing what I’ve been doing and eating in Thailand, please feel free to follow me.

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Homemade Chili Oil: My All-Purpose Condiment

Homemade Chili Oil
Busy cooks know this: life is better and easier when you have a pantry full of things that keep for a long time without refrigeration and can be used in multiple ways at a moment’s notice. That is why this fragrant and fiery chili oil (not to be confused with nam prik pao) is always found in my pantry as well as the pantries* of my loved ones who are often gifted with a jar of it every now and then. We love it so.

Let’s be clear on one thing first, though: you’ll hardly ever see this condiment used in traditional Thai stir-fries, curries, soups, or salads. Even noodle shops in Thailand don’t usually have this available for you on the table as part of their seasoning caddy (on the other hand, you’ll see plain dried chili powder which is the norm). Chili oil is something you’ll most likely see at a Chinese restaurant. Continue Reading →

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Mike Sula and Spicy Thai Lao Egg Rolls from Spicy Thai Lao Restaurant, Chicago

An Interview with Chicago Reader Restaurant Critic, Mike Sula, and an Egg Roll Recipe from Spicy Thai Lao Restaurant in Chicago
James Beard Award-winning journalist Mike Sula has been writing for the Chicago Reader for 20 years, covering various topics in various formats and styles from short blog posts to long-form features. One of the city’s most respected restaurant reviewers, Sula scours the nooks and crannies of Chicagoland in search of stories to tell you. Sure, he has a reputation for both being difficult to impress and being very capable of vividly articulating why certain things don’t impress him. But if you have followed his work for several years, you will know that Sula is actually impressed with a lot of things.

Sula is also a writer whom I deeply admire. He has always been generous with his help and advice whenever I, a relatively new writer, ask him for it. I have always felt grateful for that. And I would like to dedicate this post to him.

But, first, I asked Sula a few questions. Continue Reading →

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