Three Things Thursday

Ripe from uprooting and heading south to tropical Thailand here are three things…

Thai cornucopia

Thai cornucopia

… I’ve never had on my plate before!

As a small woman with a big appetite, one of the most exciting things about any new country is finding food I’ve never seen or heard of before. One of the first Three Things posts I wrote when I landed in Korea was about three new and unusual foods I’d found. Despite having travelled a bit around parts of south east Asia in the couple of years since then, I’ve still managed to find fruit and veg this week in Thailand that I’ve never seen / heard of / tasted / all of the above before.

Thing 1 ~ Longkong fruit

Lurking in the plastic bag on the right, looking like a pile of new potatoes… that’s them. These inconspicuous looking spud-like fellas only drew my attention in the market by virtue of their abundance. Then I noticed that not only were there piles of them, everywhere, but they were also one of the cheapest things available. They didn’t look particularly appealing, but at such a cheap price I had to investigate. Thank heavens I did! These little buggers are delicious! Very much like a lychee to taste, but segmented and without the big stone, they are cheap, plentiful, and refreshing in the ridiculous Chiang Mai heat. I’ve been to the market three times so far, and I’m already on my third bag. The only thing limiting further intake is lack of room in the fridge.

The similar looking shiny balls at the centre left were a similar purchase. Marked down in a good sized bag in the supermarket, these golden jujube looked terribly tempting, but sadly didn’t yield the same degree of satisfaction. Like a tough plum with a hint of gorgonzola, I’m sure it’ll be ok in a juice, but they’re going on the once-and-once-only list.

Thing 2 ~ Giant okra and various vegetables

The long, ridged thing on the left? The one that looks like the lovechild of a cucumber and an ambitious piece of okra? Yep, I didn’t know what it was, either. Just that I’d seen it around and had never heeded the call to buy. The packaging didn’t help. “Distinct gourd,” it obliquely announced. Well, that solves it. I hate those indistinct gourds, I’d better buy one. Or two.

I got it home and decided to follow the same procedure I’d used to identify the snake I saw in the road earlier in the day. Ask Google. Google, as always, had the answers. Turns out I’d bought a loofah. Indeed, from what I can tell the angled loofah or Chinese okra goes by many names, but if you leave it to dry out you will indeed have a handy back scrubber. Instead, I opted to peel off the hard ridges and add the soft, spongy flesh to my curry, where it soaked up all the flavour nicely.

In addition, I included some baby aubergine or Thai eggplant (the green and white striped balls, centre right) which I’d picked up cheap in Tesco Lotus. Every little helps.

Thing 3 ~ Century eggs

The final new item in my kitchen this week is by far the most dramatic. I wanted to treat myself to something new and unusual and I espied these brightly coloured eggs.

Green eggs...

Green eggs…

They also came in pink.

What was I to think?

I got them home and again Asked the Internet. What could they be?

Unpeeled

Unpeeled

Only labelled ‘black eggs,’ it turns out they are an ancient Chinese delicacy called variously Century Eggs, Millenium Eggs or ‘pine pattern eggs’ due to a pattern which sometimes develops on the shell. They are eaten across south Asia, served in various ways depending on the country’s cuisine. They are preserved in a mixture of items which slowly cure the egg, changing its pH composition so that the less flavourful bits are broken down and become more flavourful. (Thanks Wikipedia)

It was somewhat worrying to read that in Thai and Lao languages, they are known as ‘horse urine eggs’ because of the smell. They sat in their box atop the fridge for a few days before I plucked up the courage to try one.

Here goes…

Heart of darkness

Heart of darkness

The result….

?

?

I do not like green eggs, with or without ham.

In fact, the taste and texture are unusual but not terribly off putting. The smell, and I think the concept of black eggs with a creamy, buttery, almost chocolatey yolk is too much of a paradox for my current worldview in which concept of ‘egg’ must necessarily include ‘yellow’ and ‘white.’ Or, in limited cases where excitement is tantamount, ‘Indominus Rex.’

There are two of them still sitting in their box. We’ll see if they’ll stand a second taste when I screw up my courage again. In the meantime, I’ll be filling my plate (and my boots) with plenty more new and unusual tasty Thai goodness.

All this foody wonder. And I only popped out to buy curry paste!

Links

Fruity Friday: http://nerdnomads.com/fruity-friday-longkong. Helping me identify my longkong from my longan.

Stefan’s Gourmet: http://stefangourmet.com/2014/09/03/stir-fried-loofah/. Handy cooking tips for my new loofah.

Trusty Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_egg

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Holly Beddome
    Oct 08, 2015 @ 12:55:45

    Oh, century eggs… I find them to be tolerable, but certainly not a favourite. I hope I can try longkong fruit someday though!

    Like

    Reply

    • Pieces of 8
      Oct 08, 2015 @ 22:51:25

      Longkong is great. Probably better than a rambutan, imho, but not quite as great as a lychee.
      Two of the century eggs are still sitting on my fridge waiting for my cultural mind block against them to dissolve. Or for my colleagues from the course to come round for a culinary adventure.
      We’ll see which happens first.

      Like

      Reply

  2. StefanGourmet
    Oct 02, 2015 @ 03:06:32

    Thanks for the shout out!

    Like

    Reply

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