Upcountry

January 2, 2008 at 8:49am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

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Back in Thailand, in the local town there is a heavy Vietnamese influence. Many migrants escaped from Vietnam during or after the war and settled here in the Northeastern region of the country. This woman is preparing a Vietnamese dish of roasted meat, which is eaten with rice noodles, lettuce, garlic, star fruit, chilies and mint. She also sells fried egg rolls.

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Its really easy to find the traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup (Pho) here as well. This woman operates a pho stand close to the highway to Laos.

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With enough hot sauce and mint, a big bowl of pho makes for a delicious breakfast. This bowl here cost about 80 cents.

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We went to the local market to both indulge and observe. The Northeast is known for having what would be considered “strange” food both by general US and Thai standards. It is also some of the best in my opinion. This woman is selling freshwater eels, which are boiled in a soup with spices. I highly doubt one would find this on the menu of the Blue Orchid.

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No explanation need be made about this photo. I thought maybe the beerorkid would enjoy this one.

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Catfish fried with chilies, garlic, scallions, onions and spices – a Northeastern specialty (middle). Together with a plate of stir fried veggies (right), chicken fried with chilies and cashew nuts (left), and some fried rice, a very filling “high-class” lunch for two cost us about 9 dollars total. 

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A family-style meal for a larger group of about 10 people costs about 16 dollars. Here we had a couple plates of fried chicken, tom yam chicken soup, a few salads and some sticky rice – which is the common Northeastern form of rice as opposed to “normal” steamed rice you find elsewhere. As you can see from the above photo, you don’t eat the sticky rice with utensils, but roll it up in your hand and pop it in your mouth.

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A friend’s brother owns a small fish farm outside of town. Obviously, they can dine on fresh water fish whenever they want, grilled or fried. This is definitely pretty rustic. Here, one of the relatives is searching for catfish in the muddy waters below.

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At the fish farm, they also sell baby freshwater shrimp which live in the mud and grass a few inches underwater. There are thousands of these suckers there.

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The baby shrimp is used to make Dancing Shrimp - another Northeastern specialty which is conceptually similar to ceviche. You take the raw, live baby shrimp and pour on some lemon juice, scallions, and other spices. The acid from the lemon juice partially stuns the shrimp into paralysis, but they still jump around on your plate and in your mouth. Again, I’d like to see this one served at the Blue Orchid, but I doubt it would appeal to many Lincolnites. In case you are wondering; yes, this is not the best choice for people with sensitive stomachs.

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We sang in the New Year with a karaoke machine.

I hope to get a final posting up in about a week or so, although it might be very difficult as I am headed to some pretty remote parts of the country later tonight.

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The Comments

beerorkid January 2, 2008 at 3:03pm

If only the pigs head came on a stick.

And I want a balloon hat.

Gene January 2, 2008 at 4:16pm

Wow, this makes for great reading. Thanks very much!

jake rhymes with cake January 3, 2008 at 6:01am

i love PHO!!! ohmygosh! i wish you could’ve smuggled me into your luggage. lol.

Mr. T January 13, 2008 at 12:50am

Would have loved to, but it might have made for some awkward moments with TSA. Aren’t you already on file with them?

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