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Road trip - taster
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  1. #1
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    We just got back from a whistle-stop road trip around Isaan and had a great time. We covered a lot of ground in 9 days and I'll post photos soon.

    Here's a taster from out first stop, in Nakhorn Ratchasima. A villager friend of some of my wife's relatives wanted to cook us a crab dish so I asked if I could go along while he caught the crabs in his post-harvest rice fields.

    His name is Ute and he always seems to be busy. After the rice is harvested he looks for other food on his land.

    In the pictures you can see him digging out the crabs, which burrow quite deep. In one pic you can see him with almost his whole arm down a hole (the lump on his back is a beer bottle in his back pocket).

    After less than 5 minutes he already had two crabs. After less than an hour we had more than 30. In one hole he found a frog and a crab nestled together.

    Ute says he can tell the difference between a crab, rat and snake hole and has never made a dangerous mistake.
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    Last edited by Sparky; 03-01-09 at 10:46 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Road trip - taster

    Before leaving, Ute stopped off at his little garden in the rice field and grabbed some strands of fennel and some chilis - the main ingredients in the dish he made us.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Road trip - taster

    Interesting stuff. Looking forward to the next post

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    Re: Road trip - taster

    Quote Originally Posted by Khun Don View Post
    Interesting stuff. Looking forward to the next post
    I'll try to make the rest as temple-lite as possible.

    This guy Ute really is a great guy. One of those ''poor'' guys who actually doesn't mind being ''poor''. He lives in a salla (shelter) in the middle of his fields, near one of his two fish ponds, looks after very elderly friends - cooks for them, makes a fire in the winter mornings for them - and showers at their place.

    After catching crabs, so to speak, he got into his new uniform and went off for training as a village road safety officer, where he would earn 3,400 baht to help man the village roadblocks over the New Year.

    Incidentally, the crabs were smashed up, shells removed, and soaked in water. They were then boiled up with the fennel, chili and ballah, and made a tasty dish with sticky rice.

  5. #5
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    Re: Road trip - taster

    Hope David (loves Ubonwan) reads this post-I am sure he would like love this dish!

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    Re: Road trip - taster

    Sounds good. The last time I was out there my father-in-law went fishing one day and when he came back he showed me his bucket of catch. The was a small crab in there but I don't know if it was ever cooked. The small fish he caught were not too bad though. Father-in-law goes fishing with what I would call a "throw net" as you aften see on TV in documentaries about Africa. Think he may have made it himself as it looks very similar to the hammocks my family and neighbours always seem to be making (which in turn are almost identical to the fishing nets my Turkish boat crew friends make.)

    David
    My new travel blog: https://www.weekender.blog/

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    Re: Road trip - taster

    Reminds me of my Isaan days when I lived in a Government Nikhom and frequently went out with the villagers looking for food. Anything that moved was fair game. I really enjoyed learning about how they lived and survived on almost nothing. In those days the two most common money-making activities in my district were retting kenaf ("lok bor") and making charcoal in the forest. Neither activity earned them much but at least it was something. These were the villagers forcibly removed from the flat, fertile rice-growing areas flooded by the Ubolratana dam and resettled in Government Nikhoms on the rolling uplands where the soil was poor and paddy rice could not be grown. They were not happy about it either.
    Ӽ

  8. #8
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    Re: Road trip - taster

    Quote Originally Posted by nam phyyng View Post
    Reminds me of my Isaan days when I lived in a Government Nikhom and frequently went out with the villagers looking for food. Anything that moved was fair game.
    I's fascinating how resourceful Thai farmers are. Ute also showed me his rat traps, which were spring-loaded lassoes made from bamboo spikes. They're designed to lassoo the rat's leg and he puts them outside rat holes at night and collects his catch in the morning.

  9. #9
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    Re: Road trip - taster

    Road Trip Pt 1 is here

    Road Trip Pt 2 is here

    Not to be missed if you are interested in Isaan.

  10. #10
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    Re: Road trip - taster

    We're going back to Nakhorn Ratchasima over Songkran. I'm keen to get my first feel of the seasons in the rice fields and what Farmer Ute is up to at this time of the year. Also what he finds to eat there now. He has a few fish ponds but maybe the crabs are still there too.

    After I've thrown a bucket of water over him I'll broach the idea of going out to the fields again and see what's cooking.

    Maybe I'll get roped into planting rice!
    By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

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