BAMBOO SHOOTS ---naw mai


I NEVER IN MY WILDEST DREAM EVER THOUGHT I WOULD GET TO PEEL FRESH BAMBOO SHOOTS IN THAILAND ---LIFE IS FULL OF SURPRISES

HERE ARE THE BAMBOO SHOOTS, BOILED AND READY TO PEEL


THIS IS THE BLACK HAIRY LEAVES THAT COVER THE FLESH OF THE YOUNG BAMBOO SHOOTS



THIS---- IS WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE AFTER THE LEAVES ARE REMOVED




A PICTURE OF THE LEAVES AND FRESH SHOOTS ALL PEELED AND READY TO SLICE ,






NOW ,THIS IS A LOT OF BAMBOO SHOOTS , WAITING FOR A GOOD COOK TO PREPARE A LOT OF WONDERFUL THAI DISHES.




HERES LUNCH, BAMBOO SHOOTS IN RED CURRY , PLA 2 FISH AND LAP MOO, AND FISH SAUCE. --------" YUM YUM "



Every season in Thailand ,brings with it a special fruit or vegetable that can be harvested during it's time, usually for a couple months.This time of the year is no exception (the rainy season) and with it comes two of my favorites.And additions, to use in cooking many Western and Thai dishes .Mushrooms and Bamboo Shoots are plentiful this time of the year , and can be found at every Tuesday and Thursday market here in our small village of Whang Pho , you can also find then for sell on roadside stands all along the highway between here and Kanchanaburi , with most of their customers coming from Bangkok, after a trip in the country ,to visit the many caves and waterfalls and the famous hot springs ,up the road from us .They love to stop on their way home and buy fresh veggies along the side of the road and from the country farmers , they just taste better than the supermarket veggies for some reason, maybe it's all in our minds.



 Ciejay and me grabbed a bucket and a long knife and headed up to the mountain just a few hundred yards, from our house. Ott, our neighbor always goes there every few days during the rainy season and ,always comes back with a rice bag full of bamboo shoots for the meals she cooks for her family , and she always shares fresh bamboo shoots with us . We wanted to give it a try for myself and also to be able to write home to my family back in the USA , that I had cut,boiled and peeled and cooked bamboo shoots fresh, right out of the jungle , what an adventure. And what a adventure it turned out to be , noone warned me about all the mosquitos, that we would encounter while cutting fresh bamboo shoots, I thought they were going to eat me alive, we got a bucket full and then got out of there . I did it one time and that's enough for me , now it's Market Day for my bamboo shoots from now on. We haven't given mushroom picking a try yet because, most of the places where they grow are closely guarded, and also a secret known only to the gathers, because mushrooms are a real money crop for lots of the Thai families in our area,lots of mushrooms grow around our mountains and jungles.



Today ,while we were visting a neighbors new home being built , the workers were taking their lunch break and they were eating fresh bamboo shoots , they invited me to share (and you know me when food is offered ) so I joined in and what a wonderful tasty dish they had prepared right there on the construction site , fresh bamboo shoots and scrambled eggs with thai chilies and onions, of course. WOW, was it ever good.. When we were leaving the boss came up to me and gave me a bag of fresh bamboo shoots to take home and cook and enjoy, which I did .



A bamboo shoot is the start of a young bamboo plant,if not harvested, it will grow into a tall bamboo plant.The leaves that cover the shoot are black and covered with tiny hairs. The black leaves are peeled off untill you can see the off-white meat inside.The white meat turns yellowish after it is cooked.When the shoot is cooked on the day that it is harvested it is very sweet.



There are many different types and sizes of bamboo shoots depending on the plant. Big ones are usually sliced and used as an ingredient in a main course dish.The little ones (half a inch in dismeter) are cut into finger size pieces and eaten as a vegetable with sauces like nam prig gapi.



In Thailand, bamboo shoots are available during the rainy season,May through October.Otherwise,they are available in cans and jars . In the US,bamboo shoots come in cans and glass jars, pickled or sour, non pickled.



When I lived in America ,I never saw fresh bamboo shoots for sell ever, but then again, I was not married to my sweet Thai wife ,except the last few years we lived there .And I had never visited an Asian Market until , I married Ciejay, and even then before ,moving to Thailand ,I was not use to the spicy and smelly (sometimes)Thai dishes, or their way of cooking things .Ciejay's sister would come for a visit and bring all kind of strange stuff with her and when they started to cook , most of the time ,I would leave the house until all the smells were gone ,and I would try and eat a little of what they had cook and act like I was enjoying it , some things I did , but some things I endured, for my sweet Ciejay's sake .



Now I am happy to report , that after 10  years here in the LOS , that, I not only love the Thai food (almost everything ) , but I also love all the strange and wonderful , spicy and pepper, smells that come out of the kitchen when Ciejay is cooking .



One of my favorite dishes of course ( the reason for this post ) is FRESH BAMBOO SHOOTS, added to many Thai dishes and also to eat as a fresh veggie dish with various sauces that Ciejay mixes up, I love them hot ,drizzled ,with fish sauce and served over a steaming hot cup of Jasmine rice . Wow I'm making myself hungry, glad dinner is almost ready , and of course there will be several dishes made with the fresh bamboo shoots from our friends, the builders. For those of you living here in Thailand, do you like fresh bamboo shoots? and do they grow in your area and do you or your Thai family or neighbors harvest them for cooking at home or as a money crop ?



Some of my info came from a site that has lots of recipes using fresh bamboo shoots , visit them sometimes if you have a chance or need a recipe for a Thai dish, you can find them at http://www.thaitable.com/ . Thanks for the read and hope you get your fill of fresh bamboo shoots before the rain stops . Malcolm

This Alternating Weeks Schedule

As you know if you have been reading along for the past several weeks, I am posting articles to this site on alternating weeks. Travel is difficult and there are few buffets locally other than Asian buffets. When I can travel, I do and look for new places or places that I have been to long past or places that I try to get to when I am in an area that are old favorites that can be updated since

Laem Sing Beach

Just a couple of weeks ago, we took an afternoon family drive up the west coast of Phuket. The idea was to stop at a few beaches that we'd not seen for years. Yes, I said years. Phuket is a big place, we do have a few favourite places by the beach, but generally we're not a beachy family. We drove through Kamala beach, and stopped at Surin beach. In between Kamala and Surin there is another, much smaller, beach called Laem Sing (or Laem Singh if you want to spell it like that). There's a viewpoint on the roadside where you get this amazing view of Laem Sing. The west coast of Phuket has a lot of beautiful views.



(above) Laem Sing beach seen from the viewpoint between Kamala and Surin beaches

Many years ago, back in the year 2000, my wife and I (before we were married) used to ride our scooter up and down the coast quite often. Back then we never visited Phuket Town, we took days off and headed south from our room in Patong to Kata or Rawai beaches, or north to Kamala and Laem Sing. 14 years ago, Laem Sing had zero development - no bars or restaurants, just a few beach chairs and maybe a couple of people with coolers of drinks for sale. OK, it was low season when we visited, but it seemed like we had the whole beach to ourselves. The photo below shows a much younger me on Laem Sing beach all those years ago.



As years rolled by I was aware of websites promoting Laem Sing as "the unspoiled beach". And so it became busier, and I knew that bars and restaurants were opening there. Thankfully there is no space for a hotel. And somehow, we never went again. Preferring to keep a memory of a beach in Phuket with nothing but sand, sea and surrounded by jungle. We realised that we'd not visited Laem Sing for 14 years! So, after stopping at Surin beach we parked in the small parking area above Laem Sing. The sign needs replacing ...



And then a walk down the steps to the beach. Not a long walk, but on the way back up you're going to be breathing hard!



So, right now Laem Sing beach is going through some changes along with all the beaches in Phuket. The rules are suddenly being enforced. Rule 1 : No building on the sand. The beach is public land, not private, not to be used for profit. And so all up the west coast the bars, restaurants, massage huts, beach chairs are being removed. The beaches are being made more natural again. I am sure this is temporary. Local people will make deals and yes, in a touristy place like Phuket you need some beach chairs and drinks for sale. When we got down to the beach we found (on that very day) the beach huts and bars being removed or burned. (This means I better go back in a few months for an update!)



But looking out to sea, pretty much the same as 14 years ago! I would hope that if we visit Laem Sing again later this year, we'll find maybe a few snack stalls and drink sellers, but no large restaurants. Or you can just stop at a minimart on the way, get a few drinks and some ice and enjoy the beach.



(above) Looking out to sea from Laem Singh beach (panorama)



(above) Laem Sing looking south (Kamala is just around the corner)

Hard to believe that I can live on a small island and not visit somewhere for 14 years, but .... Phuket is not so small and well, I am not on holiday here, mostly working 5 - 6 days per week. More time would be nice. Laem Sing (after the "clean up" is cleaned up) should look something like it did many years ago. Back to being a place to visit if you want the unspoiled beach. If you want busy, there's still Patong for you!

A visit to Surin Beach

It's an odd thing, but I am not really a beach person. My wife even less so. And yet we live in Phuket which is famous for it's beaches. We don't "go to the beach" very often. Our kids enjoy some beach time, but this is not something we do every weekend. There's a lot more to Phuket than beaches - and that was one of the reasons I started this blog! If we do "hit the beach" then it's likely to be a quiet one rather than one of the main west coast beaches in Phuket. Last weekend we took a little afternoon drive. We do that sometimes .. just "go for a drive" and see where the road takes us. My wife and I figured that the last time we'd been to Surin beach was in 2006. That sounds kind of crazy, but do remember, we are not on holiday here .. we have a normal life of work and school and bills to pay. At weekends we might go away, might take a trip somewhere, or more likely do the garden, kids go to music class, have an easy day at home after a week of work and school ... Last weekend I wanted to check out Surin beach because with the support of the current military leadership of the country, Phuket has developed some cojones and issues like taxi gangs and illegal building on the beaches are being tackled. I wanted to see Surin now that restaurants on the sand and "beach clubs" on the sand had been removed.



(above) The result ... no building on the beach. Only sand, palm trees and a few lucky low season visitors.

Surin beach is not very big, but it has a fairly big car park right behind the beach as well as a municipal football pitch. Space is limited which is why restaurants and bars started to build on the sand. And, in my opinion, a few bamboo bars on the beach is fine, but Surin was getting silly, and it had "approval" from local officials who were allowing the development (for a price). And now suddenly it's gone! We walked along the beach from the car park to the north end where some rocks stick up through the sand. Our kids had last played here 8 years ago ...



(above) On the rocks at the north end of Surin beach

Well, back in 2006 there was a small restaurant near the rocks. Now I saw only a beach club called Zazada .. and (I did not look) I guess the prices of drinks would be more than I want to pay. The structures on the sand had only been knocked down a week before so, in places, things looked a bit untidy. I'll go again in a couple of months and see if everything is tidy! The kids found a wooden swing hanging from a palm tree ...



Kids + beach + rope swing = who needs an iPad? Well, our kids have got used to our sudden urges to take a drive. They might complain, but then enjoy the chance to explore. While the boy jumped around on the rocks, the girl walked to the very end of the beach. Maybe someday she will take the road less traveled. Crowded beaches? Where?



(above) Exploring the ends of Surin beach

After a while we walked back south to the carpark. The lack of any buildings on the beach is very pleasant. The same is happening at other beaches. I'd suggest that people bring a picnic or stop at a 7-11 before arriving at a beach these days! At Surin, without the smaller beach restaurants, not so much choice for eating. I mean, the beachfront shacks were not so cheap anyway, but compared to the beach clubs (Zazada, Catch and Bimi) they were a deal! Surin is now a BYO beach! Only thing left standing on the sand is the lifeguard shack ...



I do like the idea of keeping the beaches natural, but people gotta eat and drink! I imagine that once the whole thing blows over you will see drinks vendors on the beach, then maybe some little mobile food stalls, and then a little bamboo restaurant and maybe the whole thing will start again! Surin is a nice area to stay, there are plenty of hotels including Ayara Hilltops, Twin Palms and Manathai Resort.

Full List of Surin Beach Hotels

If not staying at Surin, it's just a few minutes from Kamala beach or about 20 minutes from Patong beach. And to the north of Surin you find Bang Tao, Layan, Naithon, Nai Yang and Mai Khao beaches. I know ... Phuket has a lot of beaches. And if you are a beach person, it's worth exploring to find the right beach for you :)

We left Surin, heading back home via Kamala and Patong, but first ... in between Surin and Kamala beaches used to be a little gem called Laem Sing beach. Untouched. No construction. And I think my wife and I had not stopped there since about 2001! Back then, Laem Sing was a totally untouched paradise, but of course over the years a bar opened, and another and a restaurant and another one. Now, with help from the friendly Thai army, all that will be gone. Laem Sing will be the next blog post, as we stopped there on the same day. Just south of Surin is a viewpoint with a great view of Laem Sing beach. Wow.



(above) Laem Sing beach. We really should "take a drive" more often. I forget how beautiful the west coast of Phuket can be ...

IKEA Midsummer Smorgasbord

We attended another of Ikea's special one night only smorgasbord all you care to eat dinners. This one, the Midsummer Smorgasbord. Each of the special smorgasbord dinners that Ikea holds in their stores' restaurant is a celebration dinner much as would be served in Sweden for seasonal occasions and this one celebrates the summer solstice. These dinners are becoming more and more like parties with

The Power of Sparkle


A sparkling view from my home.

You’ve heard of Personal Power, PowerBars and The Power of Now, but have you ever heard of The Power of Sparkle?

Neither had I, until I stumbled upon it a few years ago.

Five years ago, a book I had co-edited that would help me launch a business, was released.  The only problem was, I couldn’t decide in which direction I wanted to take my business.  There were at least five possible directions, all with different target markets, products and services, but every possible direction was filled with an infinite number of unanswerable “What if...” questions.

It was impossible to know the answer to any of these questions without first taking enough steps in one direction to begin unraveling the “what if’s”, but I couldn’t even decide on a first step.

I was stuck.

One night, while looping around in my head with all the possible choices, I thought back to all the biggest decisions I had made in my life and put them into one of two categories: Good Decisions / Bad Decisions.  Both lists were short.  On the surface, there didn’t seem to be a difference between the two lists.  Even the Good Decisions had times that were unpleasant, super-challenging or unrewarding. 

But, I noticed that even during the bad times of the Good Decisions, I was still happy with the choice I had made.  Not so with the Bad Decisions. 

With the Bad Decisions, I could recognize some of the good learning and character-building that came from those decisions, but, looking backwards, I wished I had made a different decision.  Though I didn’t want to admit it, the Bad Decisions contained a tiny twinge of regret.

Knowing that I didn’t want to make another big decision that years later became known as a Bad Decision, I thought about what was different when I actually made the Good Decision vs. the Bad Decision.  I realized there was only one thing:

Sparkle.

Every Good Decision felt “sparkly” to me as I was contemplating the choice.   I was drawn to it.  Just thinking about the choice made me feel alive.  It wasn’t that I didn’t have doubts or questions or what if’s, but the idea of saying no, was too painful to even consider: it had a power bigger than me.

Not so with the Bad Decisions.

With the Bad Decisions, there was nothing on the surface that seemed wrong or bad about the choices. They seemed practical.  Acceptable. Solid.  But, I didn’t feel “sparkly”.  I picked the Bad Decisions because they seemed like the right thing to do.

So, I decided to use this as my guide.  I decided that for one year, my theme word would be Sparkle. I would experiment with every business idea by speaking at various conferences and I would pay attention to the events that felt sparkly. I decided that I'd move closer to everything that felt sparkly, and away from things that didn't.

I spoke at twelve conferences over the course of eleven months on topics like: workforce analytics, employee engagement, employee retention and strategic HR.   Each was interesting, but they all landed a little bit flat.  No one asked me for more information.  No one wanted to continue the conversation.  Everyone just thanked me for my time and politely walked away. 

By November of that year, I was tired and disheartened, and I was beginning to think that starting a business would be a Bad Decision.

By December, I had one conference left: a coaching conference.

I had never spoken at a coaching conference before and I had no idea what to expect. On a whim, I had completed the application to speak at that conference earlier in the year.  I remember randomly completing the application and I was even surprised they invited me to speak.

When I got to the room where I was speaking, I discovered I’d be up on a stage. With a microphone. On a podium. And, a giant screen behind me. With a few hundred people in attendance. 

First, I had a brief freak-out moment.

And then,…. I found it.  My sparkle.  During my talk, I could tell I was giving the attendees information they wanted.  I felt useful!  I felt alive! And, we were all having fun together!  At the end of my talk, there was a long line of people waiting to talk some more.  I collected business cards. Lots of business cards.  And lots of requests to continue the conversation.  I couldn’t stop smiling.

But, just to make sure I got the magic universal message this was the direction I was meant to pursue, after nearly everyone had left the room, one person approached me and asked me to sit down and talk. First, he invited me to speak at an international conference in Europe. And then, he offered me my first consulting project…. In Italy.

That’s the power of sparkle: it lights the way you should go and makes it impossible for you to say "no". 

© 2014 Lisa Ann Edwards 

Breakfast for Dinner at Old Country Buffet

We had a coupon for OCB good on a weeknight only. We usually avoid Thursday nights at OCB because it is Kids Eat for $1.99 night and while we like kids, we don't like kids running wildly around the restaurant completely unsupervised by their parents, but in the last several weeks - maybe longer Old Country Buffet has been sending emails saying that they serve breakfast at dinner on Thursday

Football for dummies, from dummies

Hello late night  viewers of Indian TeleShopping channels!
You are in for a treat. Throughout this month, you can also watch football! But be warned, football is a dangerous contact sport. You could easily get bored, sleep off and fall from the couch making contact with the floor and hurting your head. Yes, football is that dangerous a contact sport.

Okay, Okay! It is not like we don't know about football in India. India has produced many famous footballers, who through their amazing skill and years of training have beaten all odds to become T.V anchors in post game shows that telecast at 2.00 AM. I am talking about John Abraham.

Yet, Indians remain largely ignorant of football. So, I am going to teach you how to play the beautiful game in this post. But a caveat, I played football just once and long time back. Football might have changed a lot since then. It might have got even more boring.

So, without much further ads, here we go.

LEARN TO PLAY FOOTBALL IN FIVE EASY STEPS.

STEP 1: Get yourself a tattoo.
It might be a tad difficult to find tattoo parlours in India . They are hidden in posh neighbourhoods, between pastery shops that sell donuts (also known as sweet vada) and rental libraries that charge more than the cost of the book. You can search for the nearest tattoo parlour in JustDial, India's number one local search engine. (disclaimer: I own this stock) The nearest tattoo parlour to my house is in Mumbai, 1000 kms away. (Flash news: I have just exited JustDial) Anyway, it may not be a bad idea to couple your grocery shopping also, if you are going to go that far.

STEP 2: Spike your hair.
This should be easier than tattoo parlours. All you need is some gel. You might not even need to get out of the house. If you don't know what I am talking about, watch the movie 'There's something about Mary.' You know what, watch the movie even if you do know what I am talking about. It is better than watching John Abraham in the post game show and God forbid, watching the football game itself.

STEP 3: Buy some football jerseys
Football jerseys can be quiet costly. To get jerseys at bargain prices, go to the platform shops around the railway station in your city. Search for jerseys that say 'Manchestar Unighted' , 'Joowentas', 'Baygon munich'. They tend to be the cheapest.

STEP 4: Get a beer and sit in front of your T.V
If you are an Appy Fizz kind of guy, it is okay too. But when you tell others about it, remember to pronounce Appy fizz as K-I-NG-FI-SHER. (Practise the pronunciation NOW!)

Congratulations! If you have come this far, you are the most experienced footballer of India. You are even better than John Abraham.

STEP 5: Watch a FIFA 2014 football match
This is the most difficult step. For one thing, it starts late in the night, like 9:30 PM. I know! But still, remember your goal: you want to learn to play football. Sip Appy Fizz (pronounced K-I-NG-FI-SHER) in little quantities to kill the time till the world cup match starts. Once the match starts, observe closely which teams are playing, what jerseys they are wearing and the names of important players. (Important players have more spikes and more tattoos)

Pay attention to how they are running around and around and around without ever coming in contact with the ball. Congratulations! You have learnt to play football!! You are even probably the best football player in India.

You can continue to watch the football match, but if you are feeling sleepy at any time, you can surf around and watch more interesting programs.
Like TeleShopping channel.

Temporary New Article Schedule

New articles will be running every other week with the next new buffet article appearing next week. This schedule will continue on a temporary basis for a few months and I will then make a decision whether I have enough new material to write about on a weekly basis again or continue longer on this new schedule. If something comes up that is timely I may post that in between, so look for articles

Great care for one sick man Hospital care and treatment is great

Well, I'm finally home went to the hospital for a check on what was troubling me and 7 days later they let me come home , It turns I had a bad infection in my kidneys and bladder and was causing a fever and headache too soooo in the room they put me hooked me up to a few IV's and started me on hospital food , Ciejay stayed with me every night and most of the day except when she went home and cooked care packages for me , I have to say that having her there with me was like having a angel in the room she knew what I need ed before I even ask , I was in a lot of pain for the first five days and needed her soft prayers and support to help me make it thru the night ., and I always felt the presents of the Lord round about , lots of folks were praying and they filled the room , Thanks to those who remembered to pray, it made a difference. Home now, they sent me home, for home care and support , and a round of Meds for 7 more days and then back for another check-up. Feeling 99.99% now and am sure everything will be just fine . I took a couple shots of the room ( PTL they had a private room for us, a/c ,tv, private bath meals and private nurse and a place for Ciejay to sleep and rest ), the first 2 days was on a hard bed pad , and I felt like i was on the torture rack with William Wallace , finally they brought me a air bed and with a big shout I closed my eyes and cried FREEDOM along with William




Rules of the Buffet

Once again, for the new buffet goers - and for the old timers -

RULES OF THE BUFFET

1. All you can eat is not a challenge. It is an offer!

2. There is no limit to the number of times that you can go up and get food.

3. Take your food in courses - as you would be served if ordering from a menu.

4. Everyone must pay!

5. No food is permitted to be taken out of the restaurant.

6. Take only

Just some thoughts

The schools have reopened this week. My kid doesn't want to go to school. He wants to continue in summer camp. I had to explain him the difference between regular school and summer camp : one costs a lot of money and doesn't teach anything and the other costs a lot of money and doesn't teach anything but only runs in summer.
At school, my kid got his first homework today : I have to make a chart on places of worship.

My kid is almost seven. So I have decided to teach him survival skills. This week, I will teach him about Google search and cut & paste. I will take it up a notch next week  - go to the field. I will teach him to pick the fastest queue at grocery and withdraw cash from ATM.

Since the last time I posted, BJP has swept to power. On results day, the TV anchors were all talking in hyperbole:  Modi Wave, Modi Tsunami. It was all great. But shouldn't a wave and Tsunami hit the coastal areas? Should it not cause maximum damage in Tamil Nadu, Orissa and West Bengal? 
Hmmph!!

Even before the election indelible ink could disappear from my thumb, Modi's Government has embarked on its divisive agenda of article 370. Do you realize what it shows?

Well, for one thing it shows that I need to take bath more often.