Friday, January 18, 2008


no english name: shinjuku, 5 minute walk from the south east exit of shinjuku station (around the corner from the wendy's and mc'd's across the street from each other)
- mixed seafood okonomiyaki: 1000 yen

this dish requires a step by step explanation

first the surface it's made on (your table)

okonomiyaki surface

next your order arrives, a bowl of shredded lettuce, mixed with your particular selection of stuff, in my case octopus, squid, and shrimp (and i think some veg thrown in for good measure). on top of everything in the bowl is a raw egg. sorry i didn't get a photo of the pre-cooked state.

next you mix it all (well, you're supposed to, but since i didn't know what i was doing the waiter did it for me) very thoroughly and pour it on the now hot surface

okonomiyaki cooking

cook for awhile, flip

okonomiyaki flip

cover with stuff that can't be good for you and serve (the white stuff is like mayo, the brown is like a thick soya sauce, no idea... maybe marco can explain. the flakey stuff is salty, i suspect fish flakes)

okonomiyaki finish

mmmm tasty

apologies for lack of non-food notes lately, tokyo is so huge and overwhelming it's hard to choose a single thing to comment on, but tomorrow i leave =( so this is likely the last post while on the road. i'll post as i upload non food photos to my flickr account. thanks for reading my blog, i'll see you all soon.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

sashimi & sushi

sushi bar at shinjuku park hotel
- sashimi: 1520 yen

6 different types of fish, as far as i know only one of them had i had before. even that tasted different. the portions of fish are much more generous than sashimi i've had anywhere in toronto. it's true what they say about sushi in japan, it is better. i don't think i can have it in canada again unfortunately =\

unfortunately it's just as expensive as back home

sushi at tsukiji market (japanese named restaurant, somewhere in inner market)
- sushi selection: 3675 yen

i really wish i could have taken a picture, several pictures actually, it was the best sushi i have ever had. there was barely room to maneuver my chopsticks let alone my big slr camera, that and a polite sign on the door that said no pictures please. i took a picture of the picture out front illustrating what i ordered, but it doesn't come close to doing it justice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

tokyo fast food

- beef, rice, and soup: 580 yen


[not the best photo, it feels really wrong to be taking photos in japanese restaurants for some reason so i rushed it]

tired from waking up at 3:30 am to make it to the airport in time to get to tokyo, i left the hostel and ate at the first place i found. i think it's the japanese equivalent of a burger joint, it took all of 3 minutes between ordering and being served.

notice the egg, i didn't quite figure out how to use it properly in time, i took my best guess and did what i do with korean food (mix it in with the hottest thing on the table [the beef]) but it turns out you beat it, season it, and use it to dip the beef in. at least i was close =P

regardless of the egg, it was pretty good, and certainly exactly what i needed after a six hour flight, two hour train/subway ride and 1 hour wander through the neighbourhood looking for the hostel.

bonus non-food pic: tokyo winter (taken while wandering shibuya shinjuku today)

winter tokyo

Sunday, January 13, 2008

goodbye bangkok - blowing the budget @ cy'an

the metropolitan hotel: cy'an
7 course tasting menu with paired wines: 4530 baht


so, what better way to say goodbye to bangkok than by completely blowing the budget and going out for some fine dining. i met up with a couple of great brits i had met earlier in koh tao (the internet is completely changing traveling just like everything else) and went for some fine dining at the metropolitan hotel restaurant in bangkok; cy'an

the price was astronomical for thailand (and actually pretty expensive for back home too) but it was very much worth it. i don't have the vocabulary to explain, so you'll have to use the pictures to figure out just how good it was (plus the menu i took home with all the details). the photos are a bit dark at first because it took a few glasses of wine before i used flash at the fancy restaurant =P

[everything is listed in the order it was received]

appetizer: parma ham & parmesan on a crustini, fishcake with tartar sauce, & gazpacho with olive, anchovy & red pepper

cyan app

wine: moet et chndon, brut imperial

course 1: "raw flavours of the sea" new style sashimi of black king fish, avocado & peppery herbs

cyan course 1

course 2: "oyster & pearl" barron point in vodka tempura, pearls & sea vegetable broth

cyan course 2

wine: terrazas varietal, mendoza, chardonnay, argentina 2005

course 3: "river, fields & forest" southern rock lobster with roast pork, fresh figs & endive

cyan course 3

wine: licoln, gisborne muscat, ice wine, new zealand 2004

course 4: "gardens & pastures" duck foie gras with grilled bananas, fresh green pepper & pandanas

cyan course 4

wine: wyndham estate bin 222, chardonnay, austrailia 2003

course 5: "salty seas" hapuka cooked with baby carrots in a perfumed broth with coriander, honey & fresh almonds

cyan course 5

wine: terrazas varietal, mendoza, cabernet sauvignon, argentina 2005

course 6: "a life of grains" blackend wagyu beef with piquello peppers, garlic puree & grilled tomato jus

cyan course 6

course 7: "curds & whey" st. felicien cheese with thyme scented poached pear

cyan course 7

dessert 1: strawberries in hibiscus syrup

cyan dessert 1

dessert 2: caramel custard tart with reduced milk ice cream

cyan dessert 2

delicious execution of common thai ingredients

jolly frog restaurant
- plain rice with chicken fried with thai basil leaves and chillies: 25 baht


to date (and i leave thailand tomorrow) the best execution of this common combination of ingredients in thailand. simple, spicy the exactly right serving size (it looks small but really is just right), this is what thai food should be.

Friday, January 11, 2008

chain restaurant thai food (plus bonus pic)

black canyon coffee & international thai cuisine
- udon in chicken and galingal in coconut soup: 70 baht
- northern (thai style) sausage: 70 baht
- iced green tea with milk

i've been getting tired of all the predictable thai food and wanted to find something that was less classic thai and more modern thai. i'm not sure that i succeeded, but i think this came close. as far as i can tell black canyon coffee is a big chain restaurant, and it's menu tries to be a bit more modern


the udon in coconut soup was really quite delicious, however thai cooking has an unfortunate habit of putting lots of really delicious, but inedible, bits into the soup. the result is a tasty but very difficult to eat dish (unless you like to spend half your time chewing woody pieces of lemon grass). someone needs to import the idea of a bouquet garni =P still really tasty


what can i say, it's sausage and it's tasty

special non-food bonus pic: sunset over the river kwai


i visited the bridge over the river kwai yesterday, and it is indeed a weird mix of solemn and plastic touristy crap, but i didn't bring my camera so you'll just have to take my word for it.

i also visited hellfire pass today, a site along the thai-burma railway, the deepest cutting with a very grim story

war tourism makes me feel uncomfortable, on the one side it's important to remember, on the other it seems to demean the events and the lives lost the way it's all commercialized.

[edit: damn flickr is being super slow to upload, you're going to have to wait for the other two pics]
[edit 2: fixed]

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

thai spicy salad (finally!)

no english name: north end of moon muang road chiang mai
- thai spicy salad: 30 baht

oh my buddah i've been waiting to try this! i'd been holding off since i wanted to make sure i went to a good authentic thai restaurant and it takes some time travelling to recognize the better places frequented by locals. this was an awesome meal, great spice and great seafood (surprising this far from the coast i guess), the first meal so far to give me that spicy runny nose that you don't care about because it's soooo good.

spicy salad

thai spicy salad

thai spicy salad

thai spicy salad

on non food notes: i'm in bangkok now, staying on kao san road which is a complete zoo, basically like a constant circus. i'm only in town here for a night before i take off tomorrow for katchanaburi for a couple days and then back to bangkok to do some serious shopping. get your requests in now =P

Monday, January 7, 2008

for brady

ye olde fasting buddah

oh my buddah

pithy buddah saying


and an umbrella



trek food

here's the lowdown on the food you get during a trek... well most of the food, i missed taking photos of a couple meals as i was just too hungry from all the hiking to remember to take the camera out.

most of the food was prepared by our guide, thai name: manit... tourist name: brad pitt. so many bad bad jokes, but a friendly guy with lots of experience and some crazy stories. his standing joke is to tell you about something, and then to add at the end, "good for sex"

ok here are the meals, and it goes without saying they're all "good for sex"

on the way:
market stall: beef soup
20 baht i think

market food

sorry about the shadow. we stopped on the way to the village where we started our trek at a little market outside of chiang mai, had to hunt around for a stall with meat we were willing to eat, but found a little chinese lady making soup that was quite good. this was basically my breakfast

fried rice
meals were included with price of the trek

fried rice

a good and tasty fried rice, not much else to say. i'm getting used to this portion size too, which means my pants don't fit anymore =P

supper day 1
soup & chicken with rice

trek day 1 supper_soup

trek day 1 supper_riceandchicken

the soup was really quite stellar, it was some kind of turnip like veg, with a great basic broth. sometimes simple is best. the chicken and rice was very much camp food, but still very good.

lunch day 2:
thai mac and veg

trek day 2 lunch

i'd seen macaroni noodles on menus in town, but never ordered it as it didn't really seem particularly thai, and i have no idea how thai this was, all i know is that i was damned hungry and this was great

lunch day 3
more fried rice

trek day 3 lunch

simple, with lots of chillies added, not much else to say. didn't get a photo of day 2 supper, but it was much like day 1 except the rice was better

Sunday, January 6, 2008

"hill tribe" trekking from chiang mai

forgive a non-food digression

"hello, welcome to chiang mai. would you like to do trekking? we do treks, pai, non-tourist area, very good trek. we can do 1 day 2 day 3 day, whatever you want."

every morning, a minibus arrives with a fresh load of tourists, every morning the exact same pitch. never mind that every single guesthouse in the city has the same pitch, and don't really think about the fact that if they give this pitch every day the track must be very well beaten down indeed.

this is the trek i went on, very much on the well beaten track. it was a trek to inspire mixed feelings, on one hand i had a really great time because i lucked out and went with a very good group of people, on the other hand... is it responsible tourism? the question gnaws

the villages were definitely benefiting monetarily, i've heard stories of some tour operators who don't give a cut of the money to the villages they visit, i'm certain this wasn't the case for our tour. but what about the non money effects of us just being there? tourists are big money makers for these villages now, and so they change how they organize themselves to cater to westerners. not to mention the environmental issues (part of the reason i went with a mainstream trek, staying on the beaten track is, i hope, less damaging than going with a tour operator that really goes into untouched places)

i guess i'm just handwringing over the predictable results of open economies in the global context. thai's open their economy to tourism, westerners with comparatively lots of money arrive, find a beautiful country with wonderful people. more and more westerners arrive. repeat for 10 years and the country is still beautiful but nothing like it was before the tourism boom. i can't blame them for milking the money cows that tourists represent

nothing original in this post, i'm sure there are book, phd thesis's, and expose documentaries on the subject from every possible angle out there. still, it's interesting to experience the phenomena first hand

i do have pictures, however i have forgotten to bring my usb cable so nothing to upload today.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

chiang mai - bar food

kafe 1985
- chicken with basil leaves fried rice: 40 baht

decent spice level, not too much but still a bite. a bit greasy, i guess just because it's thai doesn't mean bar food is anything but bar food.

ps: i leave tomorrow morning for a three day trek into the hills around chiang mai, so again not posts. apologies for the sparodic nature of the posting, i've bought myself a birthday gift (asus eeepc [a tiny laptop]) so when i get back posting should be more consistent.

chiang mai - china town: various street vendors

street vendors
- spring rolls: 20 baht
- sticky rice with filling: 5 baht

budget eating at its best.

simple, fresh, and about 5000% less expensive than what i'd pay in canada for a similar meal



i'd never had a sticky rice ball like this before, so i wasn't sure what i was buying. i'm pretty sure the rice had a sweet egg based filling


chiang mai - night bazaar: seafood mho-o-chu

seafood mho-o-chu
- baked prawn with vermicelli: 220 baht

great prawns, annoying to eat though, so much shell and leg to contend with. the real stand out is the sauce, good and spicy but also tangy at the same time. the noodles were also damned tasty, although i suspect it's because they're cooked with great big chunks of lard (pork fat i think)


Tuesday, January 1, 2008


no more posts for a little bit as i'm enroute from koh tao to bangkok to chiang mai, i should arrive the morning of the second. northern thai food pics soon!