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Posts tagged “street food

Thai Street Food: Tasting a Kingdom Stall By Stall

In Thailand, locals eat cheap, taste bud tickling street food every day, sweet, spicy, salty and sour; stir-fried, deep-fried and grilled. Flavors for every mood and palate, aroma drenched smoke drifting off sizzling woks and glowing grills.

Hawkers sell from makeshift stalls, carts and baskets, in streets, markets and temple fairs. Some already prepared dishes, others cooked to order, all seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices.

Here’s some of my favorite Thai street food photos to make your mouth water!

Selling meat and fish balls on sticks, street food, Thailand

Selling meat and fish balls on sticks.

Chicken, pork and fish balls, sausages and prawns on sticks, street food, Thailand

Chicken, pork and fish balls, sausages and prawns on sticks.

Assortment of grilled meats and fish on sticks, street food, Thailand

Assortment of grilled meats and fish on sticks.

Chestnut seller, Street food, Thailand

Chestnut seller.

Night market stall, street food, Thailand

Night market stall. Rice and noodle dishes made to order.

Fried rice, fried noodles, spring rolls and corn, street food, Thailand

Fried rice, fried noodles, spring rolls and corn.

Cart with medley of sausages and fries, street food, Thailand

Cart with medley of sausages and fries.

Deep fried chicken, giant grilled ribs and iced drinks, street food, Thailand

Deep fried chicken, giant grilled ribs and iced drinks.

Fried array of bugs, street food, Thailand

Fried array of bugs.

Fried bugs sold in tubs drizzled in soy sauce, street food, Thailand

Fried bugs sold in tubs drizzled in soy sauce.

More crispy fried bugs, street food, Thailand

More crispy fried bugs.

Vendors selling eggs cooked on portable charcoal grill, dried squid on sticks, peanuts and fruit, street food, Thailand

Vendors selling eggs cooked on portable charcoal grill, dried squid on sticks, peanuts and fruit.

Selling plastic cups filled with strawberries drenched in sugar, street food, Thailand

Selling plastic cups filled with strawberries drenched in sugar.

Yellow khao mok gai (a muslim dish with chicken) and meat balls, street food, Thailand

Yellow khao mok gai (a muslim dish with chicken) and meat balls.

Tort man pla (fish cakes) and kai nok ka ta (quail eggs), street food, Thailand

Tort man pla (fish cakes) and kai nok ka ta (quail eggs).

Dried squid, street food, Thailand

Dried squid.

Deep fried chicken and sticky rice (khao neeow), street food, Thailand

Deep fried chicken and sticky rice (khao neeow).

Grilled meat, street food, Thailand

Grilled meat.

Grilled fish, street food, Thailand

Grilled fish.

Deep fried potato twists on sticks, street food, Thailand

Deep fried potato twists on sticks.

Deep-fried and grilled chicken, street food, Thailand

Deep-fried and grilled chicken.

Squid on sticks served with chili sauce, street food, Thailand

Squid on sticks served with chili sauce.

Grilled prawns and squid on sticks, street food, Thailand

Grilled prawns and squid on sticks.

More squid and meat on sticks, street food, Thailand

More squid and meat on sticks.

Fried meats, sticky rice and pork cake, street food, Thailand

Fried meats, sticky rice and pork cake.

Meats and fish on sticks, street food, Thailand

Meats and fish on sticks.


Chinese New Year in Nakhon Sawan Part 1: Lanterns, Dragons and Dancers

Back in Thailand after ten years away, I decided to revisit Nakhon Sawan (my home for three years before moving to Phuket) during Chinese New Year.

Famous for its large Thai-Chinese population and flamboyant Chinese New Year celebrations Nakhon Sawan attracts tens of thousands of national and international visitors every year during the festival.

The largest city in the central plains, governing the identically named province, Nakhon Sawan (meaning Heavenly City) is known locally as Pak Nam Pho. Here the Ping and Nan rivers merge forming the Chao Phraya that runs through the country’s capital Bangkok.

Spanning over 12 days, this year from 3-14 February, Chinese New Year banners, crimson decorations and glowing Chinese lanterns adorn streets, shopping malls, businesses and homes. Chinese opera, food stalls, temple fairs and open-air concerts and shows saturate the senses.

Here’s a taster of the atmosphere and some of the events running up to the parades on the 12-13 February.


Antigua: In the Land of the Maya and Volcanoes

Below is an article that I wrote for V!VA Travel Guides, published on their website and in their print guidebook. It’s about the city that has been my home for four years.

Also check out my article on International Living’s website Living in Antigua, Guatemala: An Expat’s View.

1. The city center. The cathedral and central plaza (Parque Central) against the backdrop of Agua volcano.

In a highland valley some 1500 meters above sea level, the charming colonial city of Antigua lies, surrounded by three volcanoes. It’s tickled by the skirts of the extinct Volcán de Agua to the south and is within the gaze of two (one dormant and one active) volcanoes to the southwest, the double-ridged peak of Volcán Acatenango and the smoking Volcán Fuego.

2. Antigua sheltering in the folds of Agua volcano.

3. Volcanoes Fuego and Acatenango at sunset.

Once the seat of the Spanish colonial authority in Guatemala, Antigua oversaw a vast area stretching from southern Mexico to the impenetrable Darién Gap. The city is officially named La Muy Leal y Muy Noble Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala, (“The Very loyal and Very Noble Knight’s City of Santiago of Guatemala”) but shortened to La Antigua Guatemala, or simply Antigua.

Nowadays, Antigua’s population stands at about 47,000 and its status as a world heritage site has preserved and restored its colonial architecture and old-world appeal. The local government only approves certain shades to paint the exterior walls of buildings and prohibits the display of signs or notices that are out of character with the rest of the city. Cobblestone streets are splashed with colorful house and shop fronts and old churches and crumbling ruins are dotted throughout.

4. Antigua's landmark arch with Agua Volcano peering beneath it.

5. Agua volcano looming over the colorful streets.

6. Distinctive La Merced church.

Due to its location, beauty, history, variety of cultural activities and outdoor excursions both inside Antigua and close by, it has become a thriving landing-place for globetrotters. The mixture of locals, travelers and expats gives it a certain worldly air.

Get a birds-eye view of the city and surrounding volcanoes and villages from the cross on the hill, Cerro de la Cruz, to the north. For security reasons it’s always advisable to go with a Tourist Police escort.

7. Antigua at the hemline of Agua volcano's skirts. View from Cerro de la Cruz.

If your time is limited, take a city walking tour of the main sights, ruins and museums. Wander through the handicrafts market to pick up souvenirs and take a look at how jade is transformed into jewelry and masks in one of the store factories. Get out-of-town to visit a coffee plantation and trek up to the edge of a flowing river of red-hot lava on Volcán Pacaya.

8. The central fountain in Parque Central overlooked by the cathedral.

9. The carved stone fountain adorned with mermaids spouting water from their bare breasts is the focal point of Parque Central.

10. The main tourist drag, the 5th Avenida. Lined with shops, restaurants and bars, spanned by the iconic Arco de Catalina and watched over by Agua volcano.

11. The ruins of San José el Viejo.

12. Santa Clara ruins.

13. Exquisite, handmade huipiles in the handicrafts market.

14. A jade factory inside a jewelry store.

15. Coffee beans.

16. Within arm's reach of red-hot lava on Volcán Pacaya.

Many travelers hang out here a while to recoup energy and recharge on the good eats. There is no shortage of restaurants in Antigua. Grab tasty bites from street venders, comedores (eateries) or restaurants serving cuisine from most corners of the world.  There are also plenty of bars to wash it down after.

17. Delicious street food.

18. International restaurant.

19. Street candy stall.

20. Fire artist performing during a fund-raising event in a popular bar.

Scores are lured by the well-earned reputation of the city as one of the choice spots to study Spanish and there are hordes of language schools of all calibers vying for the bucks.

21. This high-end Spanish school has individual classrooms in a beautiful garden overlooked by ruins. Many of the schools have ample courtyards and gardens to study in.

Volunteering opportunities are endless both in Antigua and in outlying areas with NGO organizations and projects all focusing on different social, educational, health and environmental issues. Many students invest their afternoons donating whatever skills they can offer.

22. The KIDS Restaurant is a T.E.S.S. Unlimited project to help kids learn English, develop social skills and learn to work as part of a team.

Forever a popular place to learn salsa, there are qualified instructors running classes for all levels in dance studios around town.

23. A restaurant based salsa studio.

There are infinite options for laying your head at night. The streets of Antigua are brimming with hostels, guesthouses and hotels of every description and for every pocket from penny-pinching to luxury.

24. Guatemalan style hostel terrace.

25. Luxury boutique hotel.

Tourism is the lifeblood of the local economy and language schools are one of the major employers along with hotels and restaurants. The production of typical handicrafts and fabrics and the cultivation of coffee, macadamia nuts and veggies are other big income earners.

High season is June through August and November through April. On July 25 the streets come alive with colorful parades for the Day of Santiago, the city’s patron saint.

26. A desfile or parade to celebrate Antigua's patron saint's day.

27. Trumpeters sweating under the strain and heat.

28. This desfile marched and thundered straight past my house.

Antigua is at its most crowded during Semana Santa (Holy Week) when thousands of people engulf the city to participate in and observe the ceremonies. Solemn religious processions slowly trudge the streets trampling in their path the beautifully elaborate and artistic alfombras (carpets) of dyed sawdust and flowers. Not to be missed for visitors in Guatemala at this time. Accommodation during Holy Week is filled to bursting and needs to be booked months in advance.

29. Procession during Semana Santa.

30. Finished stained sawdust and pine needle alfombras waiting for the procession to pass.

31. The 5th Avenida during Semana Santa. Making intricate sawdust alfombras in the path of a procession.