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Northern Thailand and Northeastern Thailand (Isan) Are Two Different Regions

Northern and Northeastern Thailand
There’s the north of Thailand. Then there’s the northeast of Thailand.* The northeast is also known as isan, the term that never applies to the north. The two regions are separate and distinct in terms of food, dialect, culture, and geography.

This is old news to most people. However, based on what I’ve seen in various publications, it appears quite a few are still confused. So I hope this brief post will be useful to those who write about Thai food and/or Thai restaurants who perhaps didn’t know this before.
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* Different organizations employ different divisional schemes. What you see here is based on the one proposed by the Royal Institute and approved by the Thai government in 1977.

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African Chicken (Galinha à Africana) in the style of Henri’s Galley

Galinha à Africana (African Chicken) in the style of Henri's Galley
I had a chance to visit Macau for the first time as an adult this past summer. After the first few hours there, I realized I should have planned a longer stay. I ate as well and variedly as I could, but even so I barely scratched the surface in terms of what this place has to offer. There is so much to see, experience, and eat there.

One of the places that everyone had told me to visit is Henri’s Galley, a little old-school restaurant that serves traditional Macanese dishes. It’s a little out of the way, they said, but it’s good. And, oh, they added, you gotta have the African chicken, the restaurant’s flagship dish. Continue Reading →

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Sichuan Peppercorn-Ginger-Butter Shrimp aka M’s Shook Shrimp

Spicy Buttered Shrimp
A long trip of traveling to different parts of Thailand and East Asia was responsible for my absence of late from the blog. But then it’s also the guilty party who has given me many recipes, ideas, and stories to share with you in the weeks and months to come. So I hope you’ll forgive me (big, toothy grin; head slightly tilted to the left; ten rapid blinks).

This recipe, for example, was picked up during a brief stop in Bangkok; it came from my friend M (to understand this post better, you really should read this older post about M first).

Knowing I was in town, M called and informed me of a new dish he said was a mashup between a Chinese shrimp dish that his mother-in-law often made and my dried pepper-butter shrimp (which isn’t a traditional Thai dish; no need to write me). He added that it was so good that he always whipped it up whenever he got his wife mad, because once it was put on the table, ahem, she could never stay mad. Tender shrimp with buttery, aromatic sauce that goes beautifully with warm jasmine rice is conducive to marital harmony, M argued. Besides, it’s kind of hard to be angry when you sit at the dinner table peeling shrimp with your hands and sucking the delicious juices out of their heads. In all seriousness, though, Leela, this is good stuff, he said.

You see, according to the way my brain interprets things, that was a dinner invitation right there. So that afternoon I showed up at M’s condo with fresh ingredients and asked him to demo the dish. This is what happened. Continue Reading →

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