Spicy Green Mango

--Living and eating with a dash of whimsy and a sprinkling of spice--

  • I'm a budding food-tographer turned blogger who's insanely passionate about food..real food...the kind that sprouts from the earth and you have to wash it to eat it. Yes, hearty real food. I live to eat and I eat to live and am loving every bit of it! If you're here, then I suppose we share the same passion! Enjoy!

Posted by Spicy Green Mango 18 comments

Papaya salad & fried chicken washed down with the local Chang (elephant brand) beer and some pork larb..food coma central.
As promised, I come back bearing fruits of plenty. My recent trip to Thailand was nothing short of amazing and I am so excited to write this post! 

From the moment I set foot in Thailand, I instantly knew I was home--well close enough to it, at least. Being greeted by nothing but warm, friendly smiles and the traditional "wai" quickly made me understand the country's namesake as the "Land of Smiles." Over twenty years ago, my family fled our war-ravaged country of Laos in search of hope and the promise of a better future. I was actually born in Thailand (not in the fancy hospitals), but in a refugee camp near the Thai-Lao border. And while I was raised to learn and speak the Lao language, I also happened to pick up Thai along the way all thanks to my wonderful parents who luckily believed in the importance of mastering my native tongue. And although I remember little of my time as a child there, I do know that I'll be returning back to this place.

The trip was memorable from start to finish and if I could have bottled up all the flavors and scents and placed it securely in a spice jar and brought it back with me, I would have done so in a heartbeat. But lucky for you b/c I have tons of pictures to share, so soak it all up and sit back and enjoy!

Renowned for its pristine aquamarine waters and the beautiful island of Koh Phi Phi, making it a perfect haven for hedonistic paradise, this portion of Southern Thailand definitely lives up to its name. Unfortunately, we were there during monsoon season (darn!---should have not skimmed that chapter of Lonely Planet), we were pretty much confined to the coast rather than the islands. The limited hours of sunshine would constantly tease us throughout the entire day and around 3 or 4pm, the thunder clouds would move in within the blink of an eye and pelt us with giant raindrops.

Normally, I would have been utterly disappointed, but I wasn't and I owe it all to the deliciously decadent array of Thai cuisine. And usually, I would have thought twice about ordering what is seemingly 'authentic' Thai food at a Western hotel like the Sheraton, but I really had no other choice--thank goodness!

NOTE to YOU: If you find yourself in Thailand, definitely do not scoff at the hotel dining options b/c the chefs are Thai and they serve up the most beautiful and flavorful dishes you'll ever feast on. Their attention to detail, impeccable service and authenticity of each savory morsel that I popped into my mouth was beyond words. Food-wise, it's an A++ in my book. We dined on papaya salad nearly every day of our vacation and I happily gorged myself on tamarind-flavored mojitos.

 And then Chiang Mai:
Serene, lush landscape that beckons a closer look and more time devoted to visiting the Wat Doi Suthep (temple) & local hilltribe villages; lazily drifting down the Mae Nam Ping river on bamboo rafters; and exploring the Sunday night market for handcrafted trinkets. The bountiful rows of longan trees kept me glued to the windows along our drive to the Mae Vang elephant camp.  Boy, I was really tempted to feign a potty break just so I could pluck me some fresh longans.  But, my conscience won over my glutton tendencies (Darn you, Jiminy Cricket!)

Again, I can ramble on endlessly about how great the local street food is or how I could have packed my own personal street vendor into my carry-on bag, but I'll just entertain you with the images themselves so you can gawk and drool over your keyboards (and not mine). 

Bangkok and the Rachaburi Floating Market:

We wandered over to the popular 'back packer's district' along the infamous Khaosan Road in Bangkok for some yummy street food. Although frequented by many European tourists, the area is a must-see for those who want cheap deals on vintage-style T-shirts, made-to-order phad Thai and icy cold drinks. Personally, I couldn't get enough of the fresh fruit vendors carting spicy green mangoes, sun-ripened watermelons, pineapples, picked gooseberries and golden papayas. I love how they nestle the fruits on top of shaved ice to keep them nice and refreshing. All this for less than $1 (USD)--of course, I'd get 3 mangos at a time.

If you happen to go during the right hours, you can also find papaya salad carts that come with warm sticky rice and grilled/fried chicken wings. I think I could have sat here the entire day had it not been for the treacherous heat and humidity that permeates the entire weather system in Thailand, but you can definitely get a really nice breeze being whisked along the khlongs (canals) of the the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Get there early and you'll have plenty of time for photo ops and endless eating. I love how the fruit vendors have the cutest and most visually appealing boats with their bundles of fresh crimson rambutans, golden starfruits, green guavas, cherries, longans, mangosteens & dragonfruits.


18 Responses

  1. Liv Wan says:

    I love Thailand too and your photos looks amazing!! Especially those Thai food's photo make me drool all over my laptop. :D

  2. Thanks Liv! I will be going back again one day...it's amazing there!

  3. Honey says:

    Seriously gorgeous! Love the pics!

  4. I love thailand too. I been there at least 5 times I think. bangkok 3 times(Its just too amazing, but the political situation has hindered my family from visiting there since last september,)and Hatyai twice/3 times,....

    The food is amazing, people are wonderful, prices are awesome. the shopping is *thumbs up!*

  5. @Honey: Thank you much!
    @Alexis: I totally know what you mean! I can't wait to venture back there! Luckily, we went about a month after the political unrest, so there weren't any problems during our stay.

  6. Anonymous says:

    your photos are beautiful!! thanks for sharing and keep up the good work. perhaps we'll see you on the food network soon?

  7. Lezly says:

    Hey! I'm going to Thailand for the first time in a month and I am so EXCITED about eating my way through Thailand. You should have seen the look on my face when I stumbled upon your blog post. Great Pictures! Hope you had a great time:)

  8. Liren says:

    1. I was SO happy to finally meet you in person last evening! It was so nice to be able to meet and chat!! I'm so glad you saw my name on that email list :)

    2. Welcome back home and to the blogosphere! Glad to see your beautiful posts again.

    3. Stunning photography (as I expect!) and what beautiful memories. I wish I could photograph has as beautifully as you :) I'm so glad you had such and amazing and tasty experience. My hubby traveled to Thailand last year as part of the international portion of his MBA, and I can't tell you how much I wish i could have joined him. One day, one day...

  9. @Anon: I really appreciate your comments, so thank you (whoever you may be :)
    @Lezly: You are going to fall head over flip flops in love with Thailand! Safe travels and eat plenty!
    @Liren: What a stunning woman you are! It was so wonderful to meet the genius behind KC. I can't wait to collaborate on an upcoming project and eat/blog with you!

  10. Vivian Yu says:

    Thanks for sharing such beautiful pictures from your vacation! Since you and your readers love food like we do, I have some exciting news about a great opportunity for you to grace your palate at a once a year extravaganza, SFChefs 2010!

    SFChefs 2010 will be held at Union Square in San Francisco, August 13th-15th, 2010 and is celebrating the local flair and regional flavors of San Francisco. This premier food, wine and spirits event will offer opportunities to interact with notable chefs, mixologists and culinary personalities. Participating chefs include Gary Danko, Tyler Florence and Thomas Keller, among others. SFChefs 2010 will support the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Foundation, which grants financial scholarships to students from the Bay Area entering culinary and hospitality programs.

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    We look forward to seeing you there.

    Vivian Yu
    Visa Outreach Team

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  11. What a fantastic trip! It's been SO LONG since I've been to Thailand--thanks for the memories!

    And Pork Larb...mmmmmmm!

  12. omg is that really thailand? you took such beautiful and exotic pictures! i've always thought that southeast asian countries are pretty boring (coming from a southeast asian myself heh) but you just proved me wrong!

  13. Jackie says:

    A lovely set of pictures! I feel like I was there. :) And I am digging the muted sandy tones. Such yummy food!

  14. @Spicy Perspective: Thank you and pork larb is definitely worth the rave.

    @Evan: Awe, gee thanks and that means a lot coming from a food photographer extraordinaire such as yourself.

    @Jackie: As always, thanks my dear. You are an inspiration.

  15. First China, now Thailand. My life sucks! GREG

  16. Lezly says:

    So I leave for Thailand in 2 weeks...any suggestions or advice on the best places to eat in Bangkok? loove your latest post on Alaskan King Crabs..

  17. Hi there. I just found your blog. I really love your pictures. I've always wanted to go to Thailand and waiting for the opportunity to travel international. I was in Hong Kong and China 2 years ago but didn't have time to go check out Thailand.

    I've enjoyed your pictures very much. I hope to view more during your travels.

  18. @Lea: Why, thank you very much! You must put Thailand on your list of travel destinations! Let me know if you want more tips!

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