One of the disappointments of Isaan life for me is my inability to eat the local food. Most of it just isn't my thing and base flavours of heat, sour and bitter, aren't what gets my juices flowing. When we arrive at the farm most mornings, Yuan and Lud are settling into what from them is lunch, because they have been up and working for several hours. My wife Gaun will often join them, and I wish I could do the same, to be sociable and save the cost of toast and marmalade 555.
For those who have a close connection with the region, this is nothing special, but for those newer to life here something may come out of the photos I have published.
Meals at the farm tend to have dishes that originated from a number of sources. Lud has been delivering orders and on the way back might pick up a bag of takeway. That will be supplemented with maybe fish caught at the farm, or raw ingredients cooked to make a dish. Added to that will be some raw vegetables or pickings from various shrubs or trees and some cooked vegetables.
Whatever is provided, the central part of any Isaan meal is sticky rice. The rice is made fresh each morning, put in these baskets and then eaten with each meal over the course of the day. Dee Doh gets the same with a touch of fish sauce. All leftovers are given to the fish, and they start again the next morning. A lot of Isaan food is designed to go with sticky rice. The rice is dipped into things ot small amounts of food are added to a ball of rice to give flavour.
Small fish caught in the farm pond. Heads discarded when eating and the rest eaten as is.
Cooked eggplant and bitter melon shoots.
Larb fish. Perfect for the rice.
Shop bought sausage. Very processed and tasteless in my books.
Raw plants picked on the farm. Raw galangal flowers at the back.
Today mushrooms were bought yesterday and made into a soup. Once again great to dip sticky rice into. I didn't try it because Gaun told me it was very hot and sour.
Two bowls of soup, which will last the day, with boiled eggs and a chilli dipping sauce.
Leftovers of the non-mushrooms given to Dee Doh the farm dog. Yes, I do have a replacement bowl on my to do list 555.
Thanks for reading.