Grilled pork neck

 

FullSizeRenderOn the hunt for Thai food I found a restaurant called Err in the historic center of Bangkok. This Bib Gourmand bestowed restaurant was started by the same team behind big brother Bo.Lan. This is also where I had that whole crispy chicken skin. Of course that’s no all I had, I also ordered a portion of grilled pork neck.

I had had horse mane and chicken neck before, but never pork neck and I imagined it would be very fatty. It was fatty, but only a little. The meat wasn’t streaked with fat like bacon, but had a consistency halfway between meat and fat. It was served with a spicy tamarind sauce with made for a great tangy dip.

Fear Factor – 3 / Taste Test – 7

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Snake fruit

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Snake fruit is a type of fruit native to Indonesia where it is known as ‘salak’. It received its nickname of snake fruit because its skin is covered in scales resembling the skin of a snake. It grows on certain palm trees and is cultivated in Southeast Asia, but is a rare sight in other parts of the world. The first I laid eyes on a snake fruit was in Bali, but that was long before this blog ever started. I recently had a second chance to try this fruit at the Goji Kitchen + Bar buffet in Bangkok, which made the number one spot on the Tripadvisor Bangkok listing.

To eat the fruit, first you have to get through the skin. Although the skin is quite thick and tough, almost like tree bark, it does give away quite easily. You are then left with a white, slightly translucent fruit. Inside is a big stone, so there isn’t much in the way of actual fruit. I found it easiest just to take it in whole and spit out the stone. The flesh was slightly sweet with a texture similar to apples. It’s hard to label the flavor with anything, but if I’m forced I would say lychee, though others may not agree.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 6 

Durian tart

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In my last blog entry I mentioned my visit to the Erawan Tearoom in Bangkok where I enjoyed an afternoon tea. First came some tiny scones which only made me hungrier, but then a three-tiered plethora of Thai snacks arrived and I was hungry no more.

Among the many sweet and savory bites were crab dumplings, mango and sticky rice and to my horror a durian tart. Durian is one of those things hat my old readers know I hate. It was one of my first blog entries scoring super low on the taste test because it all but made me gag. I can’t fathom why people would enjoy eating something that tastes of rotten onion?

I’d be damned if I let my fears get in the way of polishing of the expensive plates I had already paid for though, so before I was even aware of doing it my hand stretched towards the tart. It actually looked rather appetizing and it didn’t smell that bad either. The taste completely took me by surprise. I could still taste the strong flavors of durian that are oh so familiar to me, and yet it didn’t make me want to gag. It was as if it was as pungent but not as strong like a sweet gorgonzola where you can taste blue cheese but not too strong.

Fear Factor – 4 / Taste Test – 6

Pandan tea

 

 

FullSizeRenderPandan is a grass often used in Southeast Asia for making desserts. It gives a distinctive green color to any dish it is used in. I tried it before in a cream filled cake, but there was hardly any cream to get a good taste, so when I went to Thailand it was time for round two.

I visited the esteemed Erawan Tea Room in Bangkok for one of their afternoon teas. The set was quite unique with lots of miniature Thai dishes and pastries. Of course I was also asked which tea I preferred and so I opted for an iced pandan tea.

It arrived with a piece of pandan sticking out and served with a sugar syrup on the side to sweeten it if you wanted. I tried it first without sugar and it tasted almost exactly like rice. Surely these two plants must be related. After I sweetened it, it became more palatable for my taste like a regular iced tea.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 6

Bakeable kitkats

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Oh KitKat, my old friend. What will become of you next? I’ve had many a different KitKat over the pas year. From pumpkin to green tea to pistachio and grapefruit. KitKat has developed in Japan as the candy bar of choice, and there have been plenty of choices at that.

This time around I won’ present you with a different flavor of KitKat, but a whole different kind altogether. These ones are meant to be baked in an oven, which is exactly what I did. My first try wasn’t a great success. On the contrary, I managed to burn them to a cinder. Mind you, white chocolate does but pretty fast.

The second try was much more successful and I ended up with a perfectly brown and toasted KitKat. After letting the candy bars cool a bit I couldn’t wait any longer and had to try one. The texture had changed from a soft chocolate to a crispy outer shell, more like a caramel than chocolate. Taste wise I found it a little too sweet. It was supposed to taste of ice cream, but the sickly sweet white chocolate had the upper hand here. Great concept, but perhaps another flavor would suit me better.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 7

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Red curry ice cream

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Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin is without a doubt one of the best Thai restaurants in Thailand, and perhaps in the world. It was started by Danish chef Hendrik Yde Andersen whose Thai restaurant in Denmark had already received a Michelin star. Sra Bua has since earned a coveted Michelin star on its own and has previously been listed among Asias best restaurants.

Arriving a little late I was still just on time to order the set lunch menu. This included their signature dish of frozen red curry. The dish consists of chunks of lobster with a red curry ice cream, lychee foam and some garnishes such as crispy fried onion. The whole dish is presented on dry ice to further enhance the frozen theme.

The lobster was perfectly cooked and the lychee worked well to compliment the sweetness of it. Of course the most interesting of this dish us the red curry ice cream. Tasting it on its own you could get all the familiar flavors of a red curry, but without the kick of chili. It was even a little bit sweet and I can imagine just eating a bowl of it on its own. It was very innovative and a great accompaniment to the lobster.

Fear Factor – 3 / Taste Test – 9

Whole crispy chicken skin

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I’m not a fan of chicken skin, or fish skin or any other skin for that matter, but I do enjoy a bit of crackling with my meat. With that in mind I ordered the crispy chicken skin at Err in Bangkok. Err is a Bib Gourmand endorsed restaurant in Bangkok that serves food from around Thailand, without too much focus on curries. I also had a great northern Thai spiced sausage.

What really attracted me to the chicken skin dish was the visual. It wasn’t just a piece of skin, It was an entire skin, legs and all, that was kept in place. It looked like a whole roast chicken with all the meat magically taken out. There was a slight disappointment in the size, as it was quite small, but it definitely looked the part. It was served with a homemade spice sriracha sauce.

The skin was indeed addictively crunchy, letting you snap off small pieces at a time. There were only a few parts were he skin was folded over that it became a little bit limp. The taste was definitely that of roast chicken, but with an extra high level of flavor that you don’t get from the meat. At points it was even a little like being in a petting zoo. The sauce was super spicy, but it was a spice that didn’t linger and made for a nice accompaniment.

Fear Factor – 1 / Tastes Test – 7

Star fruit

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The carambola, commonly known as star fruit, is a fruit I was quite familiar with and yet had never really eaten it. Just like the Cape gooseberry, it’s one of those fruits we know mostly as a garnish in dishes from the 80’s. This is due to its shape more than anything.

The carambola is an oval fruit with deep ridges. It usually has five ridges, though is known to have more. When you cut a section off, the fruit looks like a star, hence the name star fruit. Strangely enough biologists are unsure of its origins. People believe they either come from Sri Lanka or Indonesia, but they have since been cultivated all over Asia, and so I grabbed from my supermarket.

I wanted to try the fruit on its own, and sliced it ready for eating. Inside were a few little pits, but they could easily be discarded. My star fruit had one very deep ridge and didn’t actually look like a star all that much, but this wasn’t about decoration.

The texture of the fruit reminded me of a grape. It had a thin, slightly chewy skin that would pop revealing a soft somewhat crunchy flesh. This carambola was quite acidic and apparently green ones are meant to be sour, while yellow ones tend to be sweeter. It was just too sour for my taste, like biting into a sour apple. I’ll try to spot a yellow one next time.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 6