Thailand 2015, Part One

We spent the first few days being shown around by our friends who live in Chiang Mai. They were lovely enough to give us a ride from the airport straight to our first meal. So, I’m really terrible at remembering the names of where we ate but The Boyfriend has a whole map marked with the places we visited in case specifics are required. Some of the photos aren’t the greatest but at the time getting into the food was more important than trying to get a better picture. A big thanks to James and Suranee for all your help and company on our holiday, we’ll have to return the favour next time you come to Brisbane.


Rice congee with pork meatballs, ginger and coriander. It was the first thing we ate in Thailand. Apparently it’s Thai comfort food and it did the trick after the overnight flight.


Soup with pork meatballs, duck liver and pork blood sausage.


View from our front door.


Suki hot pot.


Roast duck with gravy.


Deep-fried dried beef with dipping sauces.


Dry penang curry.


View from the restaurant near Maeram.


Fancy ass mango ice cream.


View from the balcony.


Northern Thai food. Clockwise from the top, green chilli sauce, pumpkin and greens, deep fried pork, thai sausage, deep fried pork rind, red chilli sauce. In the middle is an AMAZING pork belly curry.


Red ant egg omelette.


Deep fried fish and bamboo stir-fry.


Buddhist temple in the neighbourhood where we stayed.


Fresh salad baguette at Baan Bakery.



Deep fried fish with all the trimmings.




Moo Pad Graprow – Pork and Holy Basil Stir Fry


This stir fry started off its life as a chicken dish but after tasting it with pork I don’t think we’re ever going to go back. Maybe it’s the way that the pork mince soaks up all the sauce, or maybe it’s just ‘cos pork is all the rage in my household at the moment. It’s a good thing it’s so tasty, I want every opportunity I can to say it out loud, GRAPROW! Tell me that doesn’t make you feel good.

Now, please don’t be put off by the large amount of chillies, once they are de-seeded they are so mild. Have you ever tasted chillies? I mean really tasted them? They have so much personality hiding behind the aggressive heat of the seeds, once you take that heat away you can taste their, dare I say it, essence. The first time I cooked this I really skimped on the chillies and I regretted it. Same goes for the garlic. The original recipe says 10-12 garlic cloves but I seem to have crept up to 15 and I still wouldn’t describe this dish as garlic-y.

As with all stir frying, have everything chopped beforehand and keep with reaching distance of your wok. I also start my rice cooking and when it’s in its last 5 mins I start the wokking. The reason I say to spread the mince out on a paper towel and place in the fridge is because store bought mince is high in water and you want to leech as much out as possible before you add it to your wok. This will help you to keep everything frying rather than braising in your wok. Varied vegetables can be added but maybe cook the vegetables separately if you have a lot of them, this will keep them crunchy and avoid the aforementioned braising situation.

Thai Holy Basil can be found at Asian supermarkets and most farmers markets, I grow my own now because I felt bad about buying a bunch and only using half of it. It’s actually the plant that is doing the best in my garden. As much as I wish I had a green thumb, herbs in pots seems to be my limit when it comes to gardening. As my Dad said to me once, “You have to keep watering them, you know.”

Edit: I have been informed by a reliable source in Thailand that if you start yelling GRAPROW sporadically Thai people will think you are yelling for Holy Basil, so yell MOO if you would like to yell for pork instead.

Moo Pad Graprow

Adapted from Rachada Mahamontri’s Chicken and holy basil stir-fry (gai pad graprow) over at SBS Food.

15 garlic cloves

10 big red chillies, de-seeded

3-4 tbsp vegetable oil

500g pork mince

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp fish sauce

pinch of pepper

1 onion, sliced

2 spring onions, sliced finely

1/2 bunch holy basil, sliced

One hour before cooking, spread the mince out on a paper towel-lined plate and place in the fridge.

Combine the garlic, chillies and vegetable oil in a blender and pulse until finely chopped.

Heat a wok on high until smoking, add in the garlic and chilli mixture, cook for 20 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add the pork and cook, stirring, until all of the mince has changed colour.

Add sauces, pepper and onion, cooking for 2 mins.

Turn off the heat and stir through the holy basil and spring onions.

Serve with rice.