It always surprises me
that no matter how hot it is, you can
always get an ice-cold beer in Thailand, and Koh Samet is no
exception. But my favourite drink is coconut water;
the liquid from green coconuts. A quick chop with a panga and the top
of the coconut is sliced off, a straw and spoon placed next to it and
you have one of the most refreshing drinks known. And when all to quickly
the liquid has gone, use the spoon to scrape out the slippery soft flesh.
Tea and coffee are also available everywhere. The tea is a Liptons Yellow Label tea bag in a small cup of luke warm water. Or ask for Chinese tea, basically a few tea leaves floating in more lukewarm water.
Thai food is distinguished by use of coconut milk, lemon grass and chilies. It features rice or noodles and is always freshly cooked. For lunch I enjoy a light meal of Khao Phat Pak which is stir fried rice with vegetables, or noodles and vegetables. One of my favourite meals is Green Curry with chicken . This is a bowl of piping hot liquid, coconut milk flavoured with lemon grass. With the chicken is sliced chillies and baby aubergines (eggplant) the size of a large pea.
The Thai's know westerners are not used to food as hot as the locals so always tone down the heat, sometimes to almost nothing. But on the table is usually a selection on condiments. And the most common is Nam Prik Nam Pla which is fish sauce Nam Pla in which are fresh chopped chillies. There is a lot of discussion amongst afficionados as to which is the hottest chili. I have never tasted any hotter - and more flavoursome - than the tiny 'mouseshit' Thai chili. It has been shown that chilies are addictive, and you get to need more and more heat. Sprinkling the nam prik nam pla on ones food is close to heaven for us chili lovers.
One condiment you won't see is salt. The Thai's use nam pla, fish sauce instead. This tasty pale brown liquid is made on the mainland close to Koh Samet. Small fish of the anchovy family are caught and left to rot in the sun. The liquid that is expressed becomes the sauce. This sauce has a very ancient history. The Romans had an identical flavouring.
Until recently you could only buy Thai beers in Thailand, but now the market has been opened up and all the world brands are available. But I always drink Thai, and that usually means Singha, pronounced sing... HAaaaaaaa. Its a refreshing, slightly sweet brew, and now it has been joined by a lower alcohol version, Sing Gold.
The other big drink in Thailand is Mhekong whiskey. This is a spirit made from rice, it is not as alcoholic as western spirits, and one usually buys a small bottle which comes with an ice-bucket and a supply of soft drinks as mixers. And talking of soft drinks, all the major names are available.
The one drink which is best avoided is wine. While it is available in upper market restaurants, it is extremely expensive and usually not kept properly being left out in the extremely hot Thai sun.
If you have any questions please ask them on the guestbook, and if you have been, please tell us your hints and tips and travellers tales.
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