The following evening we had dinner with a long lost aunt who currently resides in Bangkok. It was a reunion of sort, given that we hadn’t seen her in over 18 years. I also got to meet with my grandpa’s sister, who I’ve only seen in old family photos. And it turns out that I seem to have relatives all over the world. They all started in Vietnam as one big clan, then when the war broke out, everyone scattered about, some ended up in Hawaii, others in Australia, Paris, Germany, London and a bunch more in Bangkok, Cambodia, and parts of China. None stayed or went back to Vietnam.
That night we ate at a restaurant about thirty minutes outside the city, near my grandaunt’s home. I’m afraid I didn’t pay too much attention to the meal, as I was more eager to talk with my aunt and grandaunt. But we did eat quite a few very interesting dishes…
Baked snake and eggs, anyone? Little nuggets of chopped snake meat blended with egg yolks, mushrooms and spices to tie in all. I can’t figure out what the white foam on top was made of, but I suspect egg whites. It was a satisfying dish, like a rather bouncy meatball nestled in boiling sweet juices, not too chewy nor very meaty. It’s hard to explain, you should try it for yourself.
Pad thai wrapped inside an egg omelet
Off to the right is a little packet of chili and sugar. They give you sugar with everything here! I sprinked the sugar over the pad thai, just to give it a try, but I think I prefer my pad thai less sweet than others.
Tom kha gai – a tangy sweet/sour soup made from a coconut base with plenty of kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass. Those little things you see bobbing around are fishballs, shrimp and mushrooms.
Deep fried frogs topped off with an amazing nest of fried garlic and peppers. We just picked up a frog piece (some legs, others body parts) and ate it like fried chicken, making sure to pick up as much of that flaky garlic nest along with the frog. I’m not a huge fan of frog, but it was the surely the combo of the garlic frogs that had me picking at this dish till the end.
Quick boiled clams – this dish became somewhat of an obsession for my father (along with baby oyster pancakes) during our stay in Bangkok. He just had to have this dish everywhere we went, sometimes cleaning out two plates on his own!