Vol. VII No. 52 - Tuesday
December 23 - December 29, 2008



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


DINING OUT & KHUN OCHA'S COOKBOOK
 

Vieng Joom On teahouse

Harvey John
It’s been said that more people die from over-eating than from starvation. I rather doubt it myself, (and I know which option I would prefer), despite the fact that we in the West consume too much food and much of that ‘too much’ is junk. Personally, I’ve never been in one of the more famous fast food outlets in my quite long life (which may account for that longevity), whether it serves hamburgers, chicken and fries, spare ribs or any other form of such food.

The Vieng Joom On teahouse on Charoenraj Road.
Sadly an increasing number of Thais are being seduced into this type of eating inspired (if that is the word) by American eateries, and this, along with lack of exercise, may account for a sad increase in overweight youngsters which might in a few years start to rival their contemporaries in the U.K., the U.S.A. and elsewhere.
Even so, Thais in general eat much more sensibly than we do. The general rule is ‘less but more often’. No vast quantities of killer meat, no excess of dairy products, far less sweets and chocolate and no ‘all you can eat’ buffets.
Living here, it certainly pays to follow their example and certainly Thai food is generally far less expensive than farang grub - unless one can afford the up-market places where good foreign food is available it is also infinitely better quality and fresher. That said, I’m not too keen on spicy Thai food early in the day and, since I don’t ‘do lunch’, my preference is for a late breakfast, something light in the afternoon such as a Thai salad or tea and then a dinner on the late side of 8 p.m.
All of which brings me to suggest not one particular restaurant this week, but a couple of places for a mid morning meal and a particularly delightful tea house. The couple of Amazing Sandwich outlets are reliable for breakfast, whether it is one of their ‘sets’ at only 105 baht, (these can be modified, and I take the Continental without the chicken and jam, substituting green tea for the coffee and dark bread for the toast).
Other good options are the Art Café near Thapae Gate, which offers a huge range of breakfasts until three o’clock in the afternoon and where they serve excellent yoghurt, and the little but always popular ‘hole in the wall’ restaurant a few yards down Ratchadamnoen Road opposite the actual ‘gate’, next door to Black Canyon. Their mango and sticky rice at 30 baht is a real bargain, although when in season that popular dish is even cheaper on the lower ground floor of Central at Kad Suan Kaew. That area and its larger equivalent at Airport Plaza are both fine for cheap and cheerful ‘instant’ Thai food and also for excellent salads.
In the mid afternoon, should you be in the mood for tea, there is simply nowhere better than the Vieng Joom On teahouse, located facing the River Ping at 53 Charoenraj Road. It’s a large pink building, with a pretty garden and a relaxing interior, both for taking tea and all the nice things that go with it. They also have a super shop which sells countless varieties of tea and accompanying items.
Their tag line is ‘we serve you more than tea’ - very apt since you can mull over countless choices of tea and select cakes and even cucumber sandwiches amongst other edible delights. The staff are very helpful (that’s also true inside the shop), and the setting is delightful. The teas are of exceptional freshness and quality and served in elegant cups and teapots. It’s a tranquil experience amidst the often noisy environs of this beautiful city. Phone 053 303 113.

Inside countless varieties of tea and accompanying items await the customer.

 

Quiche Lorraine

They used to be a saying “Real men don’t eat quiche” but that has long since been found to be incorrect. Quiche, both warm and cold is a family favourite, and is one of the easiest dishes for you to make. The addition of the onion and cheese just gives this quiche a little more flavor and body.

Cooking Method
Roll the pastry and line a 22 cm quiche dish. Cut the rind from the bacon and cut into 2 cm strips and fry gently - do not make the bacon crisp. Remove and drain. Now press the bacon strips over the pastry.
In a bowl, beat the egg yolks then whisk in the cream, onion, cheese, salt and pepper.
Preheat an oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Pour in the whisked mixture and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 180 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes.
Serve warm, or allow to cool and serve cold later.

Ingredients   serves 6 for lunch
                   or 8 as a first course
Short crust or puff pastry 225 gm
Whipping cream              300 ml
Bacon rashers                          8
Onion (fried and chopped) 1 small
Cheese (grated)                60 gm
Egg yolks                               4
Salt                               ˝ tspn
White pepper                  ˝ tspn



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