Chocolate ‘Chip’ Ice Cream

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Chocolate ‘Chip’ Ice Cream

Chocolate chip ice cream, but not as you know it!

The ‘chips’ are actually bits of crinkle cut potato crisp, mixed with the molten chocolate into which the soft serve cone is dipped.

Chocolate covered potato chips are increasingly common – a lot of Asian confectionary companies are now producing them in a variety of different of different forms and flavours – so I suppose this is a logical next step.

There are 2 versions here, so you can choose either milk chocolate on vanilla ice cream or white chocolate on frozen yoghurt. A serving costs just 18 baht, from KFC in Thailand.

The ice cream is pretty horrible, of course (what would you expect at that price?) and it had a disconcerting way of forcing itself out in shiny beads through the chocolate coating. The crispy bits in the chocolate are surprisingly palatable, however. Eating this was rather like eating one of those ice creams with bits of crushed nut in the chocolate coating, except these crunchy bits left a potato rather than an almond aftertaste. It’s obviously very popular, and honestly, not half as bad as I was expecting.


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Unicorn Cafe

Tragically, no actual unicorns, but a great many toy ones and enough rainbows to make your head spin. Welcome to the Unicorn Café in Bangkok!

This is hidden down a side soi off Sathorn Rd, and was surprisingly hard to find, but once you are engulfed by the swirling pastels of the decorations, you wonder how you could possibly have missed it. There’s even a large plastic unicorn in the window which looks like it escaped from a circus carousel.

This is definitely a destination for young Asian girls. You can dress up in a unicorn onesie, lounge with large plush unicorn toys on pink sofas and take selfies to your heart’s content. There are rainbow coloured cakes and drinks on the menu, unicorn souvenirs to buy, and everything including the floor and ceiling is a riot of swirls, stars and –obviously – unicorns.

I did order a cake and a drink, although since they were a triumph of decoration over taste, I did not actually consume very much of either. It was all highly entertaining, however, and well worth a visit.


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Tok Zen

This is Thai massage with a twist and not for the faint hearted – alongside using pressure from the hands, knees and elbows in the traditional way, a wooden hammer and chisel are also deployed to work the meridians (or zen) of the body and unblock the flow of chi.

The story is that this rather specialised form of massage was invented by farmers whose exhausted bodies needed more serious therapy than that offered by the usual massage style. Simple wooden tools like hammer and chisel were also readily available, and can be used with much less effort needed from the masseur.

My long suffering husband was brave enough to try this, and at the time did not find it any more painful than a proper Thai massage can be. By the following day, however, he was definitely suffering the after effects, especially along the arms and legs where the tapping went closer to the bone.

Investigation reveals that the best tok zen tools are made with wood from a tamarind tree which has been struck by lightning, then blessed by a Buddhist monk. It seems unlikely this was the case with the hammer and chisel used in the Silom massage parlour we visited, but the experience was something special nonetheless!

 


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2 in 1 Potato Crisps

Top marks to whoever at Lays Thailand came up with this hilarious idea.

Helping you out with that tricky choice between favourite flavours of crisp, they have launched these 2 in 1 packs. Each contains a pair of tastes which complement each other nicely – one being the main event and the other the sauce.

There are just the 2 options at the moment, which I snapped up on sight on my latest trip to Bangkok.

My favourite was the grilled prawn with dipping sauce, as the tastes are quite distinct and go very well together. The crisps are even slightly different colours, so you can easily see which is which.

The steak and peppercorn sauce variety was less successful, in that I could not tell the crisps apart either by flavour or colour, but they still tasted nice and I was happy to finish the pack.

It will be fun to see if they come up with any new combinations, and since the small packets cost a paltry 10 Baht each, I will be ready to try them all!

 


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Please Give Up Your Seat

We’re all familiar with the signs on public transport – not just the likes of ‘no smoking’ or ‘please move down inside the carriage’ but specifically the ones which ask you to give up your seat to someone who needs it more. Typically, the pictograms suggest this includes old people, small children and pregnant ladies.

In Thailand, however, this also includes monks, and I just love the little signs which point this out. Of course the Thai people are probably the most overtly religious in SE Asia, with virtually every male citizen from the King downwards spending some time – usually about 3 months – as a monk.

They go through the traditional ceremonies in which their hair and eyebrows are shaved before they are ordained, then they wear the saffron robes and follow the strict monastic lifestyle. It is considered a vital learning experience for a young man.

No big occasion, from a wedding to the opening of an office or moving into a new house is complete without monks to bless the participants, and great merit is to be had on a daily basis by donating money or the special gift packages for monks which usually take up an aisle of their own in supermarkets.

So here are a couple of those signs from bus and train in Bangkok… giving up your seat is probably another good way to earn merit, too.


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Instant Sticky Rice

The clue here is in the word ‘instant’, which should also be a warning…

There really is no substitute for doing things properly, and that includes naughty desserts. My all-time favourite of these is mango with sticky rice, and of course making the rice takes ages and a lot of care. So even though I knew in my heart that anything from a packet that promised to be ready in 4 minutes was never going to be a patch on the real thing, there it was at eye level in a Bangkok supermarket and I could not resist.

You will note that the packet contained freeze dried durian rather than mango, but as I can really live without durian in any shape or form, I told myself I would junk that part of the kit and try the rice with fresh mango instead.

It was a good theory, and under the circumstances it was reasonably successful. Following the instructions on the packet, I added water and popped the rice into the microwave. It came out looking very sloppy, but thickened up once the coconut milk powder was stirred in, at which point I added the mango.

The verdict – it wasn’t great but it was way better than I was anticipating, and I ate a fair amount before remembering how many calories this dessert contains. I won’t buy this again, but it was an interesting experiment and will make me appreciate the real thing even more the next time I have the chance to eat it.

 

 


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Chicken Cookies

Category : Food

chicken cookie 2 chicken cookie 1

I saw these in a Thai supermarket and wondered what they tasted like. I mean, crackers come in all sorts of tempting flavours these days, especially the ones with cheese, so I thought they would be worth a go.

Hmm, if you are the sort of person who likes roast chicken flavoured crisps, these might appeal. I don’t, and the smell alone was enough to put me off before I even tasted the awfulness of these.

Two words: just don’t!


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Mango Sticky Rice

ntro mango mango ice msr pot 3

This has to be my favourite dessert, preferably eaten at a street stall in Bangkok – luscious slices of fresh mango on a mound of warm rice cooked in coconut milk with salt and sugar, topped with a sauce of coconut cream. Crispy bits as a garnish, optional.

When I see some novel interpretation of this treat, I have to give it a try. Here, then, are 3 variations on a theme.

Nitro frozen mango sticky rice, above left, came from an ice cream shop in Joo Chiat, Singapore, and was completely delicious. It had real sticky rice at the bottom and the authentic sauce with crispy bits on the top. The mango in the middle was a nitro-frozen puree, made on the spot with the nitrogen coming from a tap into the blender.

The mango sticky rice ice cream on a stick, above centre, was spotted at street market beside the Singapore river. It was also really nice – mango ice cream at the centre with a layer of coconut ice cream on top, coated in white chocolate then dipped in crispy rice and flakes of coconut. I’m not too crazy about white chocolate but it worked here and the overall taste was great despite being only loosely based on the real thing.

Sadly, the mango sticky rice spread, above right, was a bit of a disappointment, even though I bought it in Thailand where it should have been more closely related to the real thing. I suppose it could best be described as a kind of mango curd, although the coconut cream flavour made it all sickly sweet in a way the actual dessert is not. I could not detect any rice at all and will not be trying this one again any time soon.


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Dragon Fruit Crisps

 

dragon fruit 1 dragon fruit 2 dragon fruit 3

Dragon fruit looks spectacular, with its bright pink body and green, ribbon-like, sprouting leaves. Cut it open, and the fruit inside is revealed to be white with black seeds, or a deep beetroot red. It is part of the cactus family, coming originally from Mexico, but grows well all over sub-tropical Asia where it is cheaply and easily available.

Sadly, it doesn’t really taste of anything much, which is presumably why it often comes with a sachet of sweet and sour dipping powder to liven it up a bit. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I rarely buy or eat it… however, I did give it one last chance when I spotted these dehydrated dragon fruit crisps in a Bangkok supermarket.

Let me report that dehydrated dragon fruit is no more exciting than the fresh variety, and the seeds gave these crisps a granulated texture which was a little off-putting. So all in all, a disappointing experience.


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