Monthly Archives: January 2011

A good salted egg

“Salted eggs are my favourite souvenirs from Surat Thani! I always bring back a couple of boxes to give to friends as gifts,” declared M, my Thai friend.

I was one of the lucky friends who received a box of Surat Thani salted duck eggs from M. And boy, was I delighted when I received the eggs. Salted eggs from Surat Thani’s Chaiya district are famed in Thailand for their distinctly red yolks and having the right balance of saltiness. The ducks in this coastal province are fed on a diet of rice and seafood (what good life!). During the production process, local farmers coat the eggs with a black clay mixture made from a unique blend of salt, water, husk and soil harvested from termite mounds—apparently, this method isn’t just unique to Chaiya nor Thailand only; Filipinos are also known to deploy this method.

I first heard about Chaiya salted eggs when I watched the Taiwanese food program, “Mei Shi Da San Tong” (《美食大三通》), hosted by Zeng Guo Cheng. In one episode about Thai cuisine, Zeng headed to Surat Thani to find out more about these famous eggs, unveiling the production process and sampling a wide array of salted egg dishes along the way. Since then, I’ve been wanting to do a similar salted egg hunt in Surat Thani, and this may come into fruition when my family and I go on a planned vacation to Thailand’s south sometime later this year.

Anyway, back to the salted eggs back in my kitchen. Printed on the box  is also information that specifies the date until which the eggs can be fried, after which they are recommended to be boiled only. It’s probably not new knowledge to many others but I just learned that salted duck eggs, just like chicken eggs, can be fried too. And I also learned that it’s easy to make your own salted eggs at home: just store the eggs in a brine solution for approximately 30 days and voila, you’ll get your own salty creations.

As we were still within the frying validity, we did a quick fry of the salted eggs to create sunny-side-ups. After cooking, the yolks still retained their globular shapes, and were fresh and chewy to the taste. Just seeing it on top of my rice made me happy!

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Sompong Teochew Porridge

Wanting to skip an unsatisfying meal in Bangkok’s run-of-the-mill malls, P and I walked along Chalerm Prakiet Ratchakan Road after our visit to Suan Luang Ror 9 (Rama IX Park) to see which roadside restaurant would catch our fancy. We traipsed for a good 20 minutes before we stumbled upon Sompong, a shophouse-restaurant that sells Teochew porridge. P initially hesitated because Chinese porridge is like “bland food for the sick” to his strong flavours-inclined palate. I, however, was craving for Teochew muay. And of course, P gave in and into Sompong we went.

At the food display counter, we were excited by the many different types of fish available. It took us several minutes before we decided on plaa krapong neung si ew, or sea bass steamed in soy sauce, as well as braised pork intestines with tau pok (fried beancurd) and asparagus with mushrooms to accompany our porridge meal. I wanted to try chap chye (braised mixed vegetables) but decided against it as three dishes should be enough to fill our two bellies. P and I overeat very often so we’re currently trying to exercise restraint during our meals.

Though the sea bass wasn’t the best nor freshest we’ve tasted in Thailand, but it was quite delicious and worth the price (180B). We finished every morsel—me gobbling up the meaty bits while P scoured the cheeks and eyeballs—leaving behind a plate of cleaned fish skeleton. When I was younger, I didn’t like fish for I think it was very cumbersome to pick the meat from between the bones. But I’m very happy that, under the influence of P, I’m taking a liking to—and with a growing appreciation of—fish dishes. After all, I want to be a real food lover with a discerning and easy-going palate. 😉

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