EATING OUT & RECIPES BY NOI
Not for vegetarians!
By Christopher Sujarit
Barbecue is ubiquitous; even for vegans (holler at
Morning Star and cauliflower!). Whether it’s mystery chicken
parts along the side of soi’s or the drippingly shiny shabu
what not’s inside malls and student markets, Thailand is
rife with smoky meats. Yum.
Korea House near Spicy NightClub is an excellent expression
of Korea’s contribution to the arena of barbecue. It’s sort
of the opposite of Halal; pork reigns king.
You have to try the Samgyeopsal (three- layer pork) to get
the full experience, both “im- lao” and inclusive. Whomever
Korea House sources their pork from, those people are
feeding these pigs well. The slices of pork are about 2cm+
thick, with perfect marbling and a healthy pinkglow before
cooking. This stuff is better than you can get in
Korea;maybe that’s why so many Korean golfers and tour
groups visit KoreaHouse. In Seoul right now it is below
freezing, so Chiang Mai offers awelcome respite where
middle- aged Koreans can do what they love in warmer
weather- golf, watch Korean TV, eat Korean food, and wear
funkypolyester windbreaker suits.
After 10 minutes or so on the grill, the pork becomes crispy
on the edges and juicy in the middle. Korean do side dishes
the best, so yourbarbecue of choice is accompanied by
lettuce (for wrapping), garlicand peppers for grilling,
sesame sea salt and soybean paste for dipping, kimchi, and
other vegetables to balance out the meal. Korea House seems
to change their side dish offerings monthly; last visit, we
received eggplant, broccoli, fried tofu, sweet potatoes, and
beansprout salad. Korea House also offers Galbi (marinated
beef ribs) and Bulgogi (marinated beef slices).
This restaurant is run by Koreans, and also patronized by
Koreans, as well as the occasional group of more grown- up
expats. The set up is open- air and armed with many fans to
accommodate the smoke from the table- integrated barbecue
grilles. The walls are painted a sprightly yellow, a welcome
contrast to the fluorescent assault of our favorite hole-
in- the- walls. You can choose to sit at a dining table or
the “traditional” style, sitting on a raised platform on
pillows at a low table to get a more “authentic” experience.
This place is very clean.
My British dining partner was jonesing for some squid, so he
adventurously order the O-Jing-o Bokkeum (spicy squid). This
could be a risky reach outside the Hermit Kingdom, but Korea
House served us squid that was surprisingly tender. I was
impressed. Korean “bokkeum” or spicy dishes are a welcome
novelty. Koreans take their form of red chili peppers (made
hardy by below freezing winters), and mush them into a paste
with sesame oil, and like with everything else, they ferment
it. What results is full- bodied, sweet, spicy, and
satisfying. You have to try gochujang (Korean red pepper
paste) to believe it.
Korea House is hands down the best Korean restaurant in
Chiang Mai, and would hold its own beside the barbecue
backalley restaurants of Gangnam. I tip my golf visor off to
you Korea House, now please change the channel to Arirang.
Korea House is located on Chang Moi Road, just past Spicy
Nightclub. Open 7 Days a week.
RECIPES BY NOI: Rice!
It seems so basic but it is not
We have cooked so many different Northern Thai foods but we
don’t know how to prepare and cook rice yet even though rice
is the most important part of the meal.
People from the North and North East eat sticky rice .
Central and Southern people eat steamed rice. We have names
to call the different type of rice such as Ghokho1, 2, 3, 4,
(Ghokho means Rice department, the odd numbers are steamed
rice and even numbers are sticky rice) There are also other
types of rice that are called differently such as Chainat1,
Phrae1, Phatthalung etc.
Most of farmers in my village grow Ghokho 6 and 8 for sticky
rice and Ghokho5 and 15 for steamed rice. Why so? Because
they are photoperiod sensitive varieties, that means they do
not need too much sun for the whole of the farming season
during September-December. The prices are also different.
Now it’s about 15 Baht per kilogram for sticky rice and 20
Baht per kilogram for steamed rice.
Cooking sticky rice is much more complicated than cooking
steamed rice. First we need to soak rice in clean water for
a few hours. I always leave it overnight and cook in the
morning. Then we remove rice to steam. It might take about
half an hour to steam and then remove it from the heat. Put
it in a wooden tray and stir it to cool down. This step is
important because if we keep the rice while it’s still very
hot, there will be too much steam and rice will be too wet,
it then becomes like glue. We normally keep rice in a bucket
with a good seal or cover to keep it warm all day.
It is interesting to know that Thai people know how hard and
difficult it is to grow rice and consider it of such value
that they do not waste any of it. If some grains
accidentally drop to the floor then you may see the person
Wai the rice before throwing it away.