Appon's Thai Life

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Chinatown Ingredients

salty-egg-yolks in china town shop

When you're wandering around Chinatown, in central Bangkok, don't forget to take a good look at the ingredients too, not just the cooked food.

For example, above looks like a plain bag of tomatoes, right? On the contrary, it's a bag of salted duck egg yolks, already separated and ready to use. There's the fish stomachs, I've already mentioned but plenty of other things to see.

And look at the following two pictures, they go together in a famous Chinese dish I hope to make soon.


This is black chicken, a very meaty flavoured chicken, that is really black. It's not coloured, it's naturally black. The black might be off-putting, but it shouldn't. In Thailand it's considered to be some sort of health benefit, so much so that they make health chicken drinks from this bird. Take a look at this site, Brand's health drink made with black chicken and sold in delicate little bottles at a very high price!

dried-wolf-berry, wolfberry, red chinese dried berries

Then there's these Wolfberries, sold by the many many herbs and berry shops around China town. These are used in a stew with the black chicken to form Soup Guy Dam, cooked slowly over a long time, it is a herby dark rich slightly red stew. I eat it with rice, but you can imagine it with French bread, and a glass of red wine, it's so similar to Coq-aux-vin!


Then there's the more acquired tastes, like the sea cucumbers above, The vendor tells me they are crunchy on the outside and soft (gooey) on the inside. It's a taste I haven't acquired myself, but maybe some day. On the other hand the pigs stomachs below are a familiar staple of Thailand cuisine.


Sliced and used in noodles, or fried for crunch. If you've eaten a sausage, or a cheaper burger in the west, you've certainly eaten these, so no time to be squeamish! Why not try them in a more natural state, simply sliced and fried.


All across Chinatown, you'll see the popular Chinese shark fin dishes for sale. Small pieces of shark fin are laid out for display at 3000 baht or more. Shark fin has magical properties, mostly it's the magical property of separating Chinese fools from their Chinese money.

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