Thursday, January 13, 2011

Garlic Shrimp

Sumptuous, succulent shrimp easily stir-fried in a tangy Thai garlic sauce - and it takes only 15 minutes to make! Salty-sweet, garlicky, and a little spicy, it's the perfect dish to serve any night of the week. Also beautiful enough to serve at a party as an appetizer or finger food (see serving tips below). Goes nice with rice, or crusty French bread. Even your kids will go wild for these shrimp (just reduce the chili content). ENJOY!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 13 minutes


  • 12-15 medium to large shrimp or prawns, butterflied (shells can be removed or left on, as desired)
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce (I used Golden Dragon Brand)
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (available in tall bottles at Asian stores)
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 5-7 cloves minced garlic (to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2-3 Tbsp. oil for stir-frying
  • 1 fresh red chili, minced, OR 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili (to taste)
  • lime or lemon wedges
  • handful of fresh coriander
  • Optional: more fresh chili, OR dried crushed chili


  1. Make the marinade/sauce by combining in a mixing bowl: oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic, lime juice, and chili. Stir well.
  2. Place shrimp in the marinade and stir well to coat.
  3. Heat some oil in a wok or frying pan. When hot, add the shrimp along with the marinade.
  4. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp are plump and pink. They will also be lightly browned from the sauce. (Avoid overcooking, or shrimp will turn rubbery.)
  5. This dish can be served 2 ways: For a Dinner or Lunch Entree: Simply slide onto a serving platter and sprinkle with coriander, plus additional fresh chili (if using). Add lemon or lime wedges to the side, and serve with rice, naan, or crusty French loaf. A nice rice dish that pairs well is Thai Sticky Rice .
  6. If Serving at a Party or as an Appetizer: Use tongs to pick shrimp out of the wok/pan, allowing most of the sauce to drip back into the pan. Arrange the shrimp on a serving platter, adding a sprinkling of fresh coriander and additional chili (if using). Place lime or lemon wedges on the side. Pour the sauce from the wok/pan into a small bowl. Place the bowl next to the shrimp on the serving platter for dipping. Enjoy!

Easy Grilled Fish in Thai Garlic Sauce

This grilled fish recipe starts with a superb garlicky barbecue sauce that's perfect for all types of fish, whether fillet or steak, salmon or sole. Marinate your fish briefly in this sauce, then simply grill it up! This easy fish recipe can also be baked in your oven if the weather doesn't cooperate. And as a bonus, it's a very healthy fish recipe that's low in fat and calories but extremely high in taste. ENJOY!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


  • SERVES 2-4
  • 4-6 fillets fresh fish, such as snapper, cod, salmon, etc...
  • garnish: handful of fresh coriander and wedges of fresh lime
  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp. oyster sauce (I used Golden Dragon brand)
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (available by the bottle at all Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • 2 Tbsp. loosely packed brown sugar
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper OR dried crushed chili


  1. Stir all marinade/sauce ingredients together until sugar dissolves.
  2. Place fish fillets in a flat-bottomed bowl and pour half the sauce over. Turn the fillets in the sauce. (Reserve the rest of the sauce for later.)
  3. Allow fish is marinate for at least 10 minutes while you warm up the grill, or up to 24 hours in advance (just cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to cook).
  4. Lightly brush the grill with a little cooking oil, then grill the fish for 5-10 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily and the inner flesh is no longer translucent.
  5. Heat up remaining sauce and use as a dip, glaze, or to spoon over the fish (and rice or potatoes) as you eat it. Note that this sauce is very strong-tasting, so you only need a little bit at a time. If you find it too strong, you can dilute it slightly with a splash of white wine or sherry and some fresh lime juice. If you find it too sour, add a little more sugar. ENJOY!
  6. For Indoor Cooking: Place marinated fish in a covered baking dish along with the marinade. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until fish flakes easily and the inner flesh is no longer translucent.
Fillet Grilling Tip: If your fillets are very thin, you may want to use a "fish cage" which makes turning easier. Another method is to spread tin foil or banana leaves over the barbecue - again, oil the surface where the fish will be cooking to make turning easier. For more on grilling with banana leaves, see: How to Cook with Banana Leaf.

Tropical Thai Fruit Salad - Served in a Pineapple

This healthy and exotic Thai fruit salad will be the hit of your party - especially when served in a pineapple "boat" (a carved out pineapple). Create your own assortment of tropical and local fruit - whatever is fresh and in season. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or on its own for a fresh fruit feast. Makes a terrific addition to a potluck, BBQ, or dinner party. Carving instructions for the pineapple are included with the recipe - just follow the steps (with pictures).

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 fresh, ripe pineapple (for more on buying and preparing fresh pineapple, see below)
  • an assortment of fruit, such as pineapple, papaya, lychee, star fruit, watermelon, dragon fruit, mango, etc...
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • optional: a few leaves of fresh basil as a garnish


If you wish to serve this fruit salad in a carved-out pineapple, go to my instructions: How to Create a Pineapple "Boat".Includes how to buy and prepare fresh pineapple. For great tips on how to buy and prepare exotic tropical fruits such as pineapple, dragon fruit, star fruit, mango, etc... see my: Thai Tropical Fruit How-to Guide.

  1. To make the fruit salad, peel and cut up the fruit you have chosen into bite-size pieces. (If you have carved a pineapple, add chunks of the carved out fruit to the mix.) Place fruit together in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a cup, mix together the coconut milk, sugar, and lime juice. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Pour this mixture over the fruit and gently mix the salad. Do a taste-test, adding a little more sugar if not sweet enough for your taste. Tip: the brown sugar may be a little granular at first, but the natural acids of the fruit will soon break it down.
  4. If serving in a carved-out pineapple, spoon or scoop the fruit into the pineapple (reserve as much of the liquid as possible, since the extra may leak through the bottom of the pineapple. When serving the fruit salad, you can spoon the reserved liquid over each portion). Garnish with a few leaves of fresh basil, if desired. Tip: be sure to place a plate or bowl under the carved-out pineapple, as it may leak.
  5. Serve this fruit salad on its own, or with yogurt, ice cream or whipped cream, and enjoy!
  6. Leftovers will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. This salad is perfect for breakfast (with yogurt and a little granola sprinkled over), for a snack, or for dessert.

Easy Thai Red Curry Chicken Recipe

This easy Thai Red Curry is fragrant and sumptuous, and can be made anywhere from mild to red-hot, depending on how much spice you prefer. It's a healthy and hearty curry dish that will awaken your senses and boost your mood. Note that in Thailand this curry would be simmered in a wok over a stovetop, but in this case I have adapted it to suit Western cooking methods so that it can be baked in an oven (easier for most North Americans). This means it can be put together and in the oven in under 20 minutes! ENJOY!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes


  • 1/2 medium chicken, cut into parts (skin can be removed for less fat)
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves (purchased frozen at Asian stores), OR substitute 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick, OR 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • handfuls of fresh basil and coriander/cilantro
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 shallots OR 1/2 cup purple onion, sliced
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato ketchup, OR tomato paste + 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder (North American type)
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 heaping tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. shrimp paste (available by the jar at Asian stores)
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies, minced, OR 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. dried crushed chili
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • optional: 1-2 cups chopped eggplant (leave skin on), OR 4-5 Thai eggplants


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place chicken pieces in a fairly large casserole dish.
  3. Place all curry sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process well.
  4. Pour the curry sauce over the chicken. Stir well, so that each of the chicken pieces is covered with sauce.
  5. Add the kaffir lime leaves and cinnamon, mixing these into the sauce.
  6. Cover and bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
  7. Remove dish from the oven. Add the vegetables and stir them into the sauce. Return the curry to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is well cooked.
  8. Do a taste test. If the sauce isn't salty enough, add more fish sauce (1 Tbsp. at a time). If it's too sour, add a little more brown sugar. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. If not spicy enough, add a few fresh-cut chilies or dried crushed chili/cayenne pepper.
  9. Ladle the curry into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle generously with fresh basil and coriander (cilantro), and serve with plenty of Thai jasmine-scented rice. ENJOY!

Soi Cowboy

Soi Cowboy is located close to the intersection of Sukhumvit Road and Asoke Road. It is just about 100 meter from the intersection and connects Asoke Road with Soi 23 Sukhumvit, running parallel to Sukhumvit Road. Left far corner of the intersection if you are coming from the direction of Nana, Landmark, Ambassador.
It is a about 300 meter long street, with a total of about 40 small and bigger bars, located on both sides. Famous bars include Long Gun, Tilac, both close to Asoke Road.
On the other side, close to Soi 23, we find Baccara, Midnite bar, Our Place, (and Dollhouse) In between them, a vast array of smaller bars.
Soi Cowboy, which has for a long time been regarded as a more sedate entertainment venue, has recently seen a more active nightlife scene. Different from Nana Plaza, quite a few bars offer topless dancing, nude dancing and shows. Overall, Soi Cowboy has upgraded itself over the last few years, and the neon lighting outside the bars is really unparalleled in other nightlife centers around Bangkok.
Traditionally, Soi Cowboy was less expensive than other entertainment areas. However, over the last few years, prices have gone up, and beers and liquor drinks now go for between 120 and 150 baht. Lady drinks and soft drinks (even water) are priced above 100 baht, sometimes quite a bit.

Soi Cowboy Review : Click

Nana Plaza - Soi Nana

Three floors of nightlife activity around a central atrium. Nana Plaza has been somewhat affected by a 2003 nightlife 'crackdown', a few years back. Bars used to have a lot of naked dancing. One of the attractions of Nana Plaza was that many bars had shows on offer, sometimes of the more degrading variety. Nudity was a no-no for many years (possibly also the bars colluded to keep things clean), but in 2009 we noticed that some bars are showing again.
The first floor has a lot of busy and exciting bars, including Rainbow 2, Playskool, Rainbow 1. On the left in the middle you will find Pretty Girls bar. The Rainbow bars at ground level are invariably busy.
On the second floor, G-Spot, a large bar is in the right far corner. Next to G-spot is one of the most crowded bars on the Plaza, Rainbow 4. In the left far corner is Casanova, a well known ladyboy (katoey) bar. On the left side, you will find the rather flashy (by Nana standards) newly decorated Spankys, and Angel Witch, long famous for its choreographed shows.
The third floor offers less bars. On the left the large Carousel bar, which has shows on offer. On the right and the far right corner you have Carnival and Cascade bars respectively, both featuring mainly (or only) ladyboys.
Nana Plaza is more expensive than Patpong (less and less relevant, though known by name) and used to be more expensive than Soi Cowboy, but not anymore. In most larger bars, beer is priced at 120-150 baht, as are most liquor drinks. Soft drinks and lady drinks are now also above the 100 baht barrier, sometimes much higher.
Before I forget, the central atrium, as well as the entrance to the Plaza, feature a number of beer bars, that can be used to enjoy the scenery and do some 'people-watching', if you prefer not to go inside the go-go bars.

Soi Nana Review : Click

Pattaya Girls – Meet Thailand’s Beautiful Girls

Pattaya is a magical place, truly one of a kind. Sometimes it seems like Pattaya exists in a parallel universe, where none of the rules of the outside world apply. It’s a city of lust, love and sometimes despair. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it here. Every year thousands of men travel here in search of the beautiful Pattaya girls. Some look for a wife, others for a girlfriend, while some are just looking for hot nights of sex.
I have travelled and worked all over the world, Asia, Europe, South America and the US and I believe that there is nowhere in the world, where there are so many attractive women in one place as Pattaya.
Pattaya is a place of opportunity, of fresh starts in life. You never know what may happen when you leave your room here. Go outside smile at a girl, make small talk, and take it from there. It may come to nothing or it may end up in nights with the best sex you ever had. You may have met your future wife, but you don’t know it yet. Whatever you are looking for in Pattaya, there is a good chance you will find it.
Thai girls flock to Pattaya in search of love, money and excitement. The city and it’s neon light, open bars and clubs lures both foreign men and Thai women alike looking for a fresh start in this tropical paradise. Most of the girls that come to Pattaya are sincere in wanting to find a foreign boyfriend or husband. Others just like to play the game of love and lust for as long as possible. Just like the men who go to Pattaya have different reasons for doing so, so is it with the Thai girls who come here.
I’ve met many happy foreigner-Thai couples who met in Pattaya and I’ve met many couples where it didn’t work out. I’ve seen older men become young again, filled with life and desire for living life again. Pattaya girls have that quality, to make you feel young again, strong, wanted.

Nice Thai Girls Versus Thai Bar Girls

If you search the internet for stories of foreign men falling in love with Thai girls you’re bound to find hundreds of posts articles and stories that have been written over the years. The funny thing is many of the stories you’ll find end badly. The reason for this is pretty apparent.
Typically you’ll see in the story that the writer has been warned about Thai bar girls and yet they continue on thinking “it will never happen to me”. Every month there are stories to be found about Americans, Australians and Europeans either being bankrupted or even committing suicide in Pattaya and Patong over Thai bar girls. We may never know the entire truth about these tragedies, but they carry a similar theme.

What is it that makes men ignore the fact that many relationships with Thai bar girls end so badly? Why do they think that they are different and that their Thai girlfriend will work out as a romance or marriage, even though she’s come from the type of life lived in the bars?

Would these men behave the same way, with the same expectations in their home countries? Would they shack up with a prostitute and expect her to be loving and faithful? I don’t really think so, and it makes me scratch my head to think they have these expectations simply because they are in Thailand.

Maybe they only do this in Thailand because they can’t afford it in their home countries. Or maybe they somehow lose their minds in the craziness that is Thailand. Perhaps it’s their own way of coping with culture shock. Whatever the case, if you’re in a relationship with a Thai girl take a look at this list of questions you should be asking yourself:

1. Does your wife or girlfriend hide her phone calls? Does she get calls at all hours of the night? Doesn’t that make you suspicious? It should.

2. Is your girlfriend or wife always asking for money to send home? Is it the same amount each month? Not definitive, but could indicate a boyfriend or husband back in the home village that she is supporting.

3. If your Thai girl has piercings besides her ears or tattoos it a big warning sign of a bar girl or former bar girl. Good Thai girls don’t do this. This is changing somewhat for the younger generation however so may not be conclusive if your wife or girlfriend is under 25.

4. The biggest indicator of all. Are her friends involved in prostitution? As with any other profession or lifestyle, like types tend to be drawn together because of similar experiences.

The best thing to do is just practice common sense. I know it’s easy to lose your bearings when seeing all the beautiful available girls in Thailand, but try to maintain a sense of normalcy. You may not be used to so much attention from beautiful girls, but get used to it, it’s just like that in Thailand for a foreigner.

Try to think with your higher brain, not the one between your legs. While your new life in Thailand may seem surreal at times try to maintain a sense of reality amongst the insanity. Keep your usual filters about what is right and wrong in place. Too many men seem to deal with the newness of Thailand by setting up a new category in their brain called “This is Thailand”. Anything new or strange gets put through this filter and passes simply because “This is Thailand”" and not the same as your homeland. Some things really are the same dude.

The same evasive behavior from your girlfriend that would set off alarms in your home country should be setting off alarms here in Thailand. Just because all else is different around you doesn’t mean that it’s normal for your new girlfriend to hide things from you or fly off into abusive rages at no provocation.

Listen to your inner voice and if it’s telling you something is wrong then get away. Things may be different in Thailand, but girls are girls everywhere and Thai girls are not that much different from the girls at home. Girls at home lie and cheat and guess what, so do Thai girls. It’s still not the norm, but it is common, especially for the girls that tend to be attracted to foreigners in the first place. Take your time and find a nice Thai girl and you’ll be much happier in the long run.