Monthly Archives: March 2012

If eating was an Olympic sport, Thailand would win Gold.

Anyone who has ever travelled to Thailand and hung out with a few locals for at least a day would have to agree that “If eating was an Olympic sport, Thailand would win Gold.”

No matter what it is that you are doing in Thailand there always seems to be food involved somewhere, somehow. Sometimes I think that the only time Thai people are not eating are when they are sleeping but then again I know what they are more then likely dreaming about….

Sporting events are just another excuse for a good old fashion cook up and my local Olympic Games were no exception. You can read about the ceremony and sport played on my previous blogs including the original, part two and part three by clicking on the links.

Seerung decided that she would get in on the act as well and join her sister selling food. She decided to cook up something that everyone would like but something no one had ever seen before. She decided to try oliebollen which is a traditional Dutch food. According to Wikipedia Oliebollen are a variety of dumpling made by using an ice-scooper or two spoons to scoop a certain amount of dough and dropping the dough into a deep fryer filled with hot oil. In this way, a sphere-shaped oliebol emerges.
The dough is made from flour, eggs, yeast, some salt, milk, baking powder and usually sultanas, currants, raisins and sometimes zest or succade.

I must have been too caught up with taking photos of all the activity on the school oval and basically forgot to take any photos of the food. I did manage one photo of some of the finished product. My wife and her sister cooked it over two days and it was a huge hit and every last one was sold.

My sister was selling food because she is lucky enough to have one of two shops in the village and the only one near the school where the Olympics were being held. In fact she is right next door and I watched a lot of the events while helping her out in her shop.

Apart from my wife doing the Oliebollen, my sister in law was selling soup, chicken cooked on coals (ไก่ย่าง / ไก่ปิ้ง) and assorted steamed meats along with the regular products she sells day to day like ice cream, soft drinks, alcohol and cigarettes.

This lot of chicken was not quite ready and everyone was waiting for their pieces to be cooked.

The ice drinks were a huge hit as well as a huge mark up for my sister in law! The best thing for me was that my kids were able to get involved and they had a blast helping out.

This very bad photo gives you a little idea how close her shop is to the school oval. It also shows how Jacob was constantly entertained by various customers.

Here he is making one of the local lasses go all ga-ga. He knows which person to turn on the charm with as this lady is the wife of the district head man. Good work Jacob!

Well, finally, that wraps up a very long and drawn out series on the local sports day that happened when we were visiting recently. Quite boring for many I am sure but I was really caught up in all the excitement watching the locals all come together to cheer on their kids and their village and of course eat!


My Thailand Olympics part 3

Following on from part one and part two this time I actually get to show you some sporting events taking place!

There weren’t all that many events that I could see, just the usual popular ones (for Thailand) like athletics, soccer and volley ball.

First up were the little ones running their hearts out.

Once the athletics were all finished the oval was ready for a solid two days of soccer (football). First up were the younger kids.

Here are a few photos from a high school game. It would appear that girls did not play this form of the game but played a smaller version of it over on the basketball courts.

Volleyball is hugely popular in Thailand and there were dozens of games to get through at our mini Olympics. I was really impressed with the high skill level and the way that even the smallest kids literally threw themselves into every play even though they were playing on concrete! My niece Beam (the one who lit the olympic flame) was playing in the following photos.

If you look closely enough you will see my two girls watching their cousin play.

The high school boys volleyball was fast and strong, almost brutal. Watching it up close was really exciting.

With all that energy being expelled you can just imagine the calories being consumed. If eating was a real Olympic sport then Thailand would take gold, silver, bronze and a few minor placings as well. Eating is serious business even when attending your own version of the Olympics but I will save those photos for my fourth and final blog to come very soon. In the mean time I will leave you with a delightful group of young girls sitting down between volleyball games to eat that all important local dish, som tum (ส้มตำ).


What to eat in Ubon Ratchathani

My previous blog entry was written by Chris who at the end of it mentioned his new project called Coconut TV.

He decided to get some practice in for it by composing a video called Top 9 eats in Ubon Ratchathani and is after some feed back. I don’t think there will be much constructive criticism Chris as considering this is your first time attempting something like this, I think you have done an amazing job!

You did ask for feedback though so for what it is worth here are a few points of my own that may help.

* Don’t wear sunglasses at the beginning of the video. Later on sure, but not when we are ‘meeting’ you for the first time.
* Hand movements and gestures are important but remember you are not a bird trying to take off!
* The Cut away shots showing you talking the ‘other’ camera don’t seem to work. I think they are a great idea but perhaps use them when you are eating the food or something.
* If I was to be really picky I might suggest that we don’t need to see you sampling every one of the nine dishes. Just telling us how good it is with a close up shot of it should be enough.

What do others think? Have a look at it and place your feedback either here or on you tube. I personally think some more of this type of media would be a great thing for Ubon Ratchathani.

I have eaten at five of the nine places he mentions so will try and make the last four on my next trip to Ubon. That Vietnamese restaurant is top of that list!


New SF Cinema Opens in Ubon Ratchathani

While Andrew is living the high life in Australia, I thought I’d take 5 minutes to give you guys and girls a quick update on the new cinema that opened up here in Ubon Ratchahtnai yesterday.

After many delays yet with much joy, Ubon Ratchanthani welcomes it’s third, and newest Cinema. The new 7 theatre SF Cinema, which includes a 3D theatre and comfortable premium sofas, is now finally open for business. It’s located on the 4th floor of the City Mall, the same complex as the Sunee Hotel in situated in.

I think many would agree the SF Cinema here in Ubon is a welcome addition to the city, especially for western visitors and expats like myself, who miss being able to catch a movie with the original English soundtrack.

On opening, the ticket prices are as follows:

  • Monday to Tuesday – 100b for delux, 120b for premium and 300b for the double couch.
  • Wednesday – 70b for delux, 90b for premium and 300b for the double couch.
  • Thursday to Sunday – 120b for delux, 140b for premium and 400b for the double couch.

It’s worth checking the SF Cinema Ubon website for movie listings and schedules, as the films in English are currently few and do not run frequently. Hopefully this will change in the future.

So what do you think? Will you be heading down there to catch a film anytime soon?

This blog entry was written by Chris who is currently working on Coconut TV – A film series that will interview independent food producers (starting in Ubon). Chris is also involved with Baan Wine; the first Wine Terrace in Ubon Ratchathani which serves many wines by the glass and imported steaks.


My Thailand Olympics part 2

Last week I uploaded a stack of photos and wrote about a parade that went past my house heralding the start of our very own mini Olympics. This is part two.

Once the tail of the parade had finally moved beyond my front gate I hopped on my motorbike and squeezing along the outside of everyone managed to make it to the school oval to witness the beginning of the opening ceremony.

Once again I feel the need to apologise for the deplorable state of some of my photos. Distance, bright light and smoky skies to not make good photos when all you have is a little point and shoot camera. I think next time I will bring my SLR with me and stopped complaining about how heavy it is and how much room it takes up.

Here are the last of the athletes filing into position.

Standing to attention for the raising of the flags.

This next part was a proud moment for all of my family as my niece Beam had been selected to run the torch on a lap of the oval before lighting the cauldron.

Thankfully there was no Ron Clarke moment and she did us all proud.

The lighting of the torch got everyone excited which meant it was time for another march! This time, just around the oval.

When the march was over and all the athletes were back in the centre of the oval it was time for some entertainment. These kids brought the house down with their routine. The photos don’t really do it justice so make sure you click on the very quick video clip that I also took. The younger sister of the torch lighter Beam is in the back row, the 2nd one in. Her name is Cream.

Video

As you can see the crowd were having a blast!

After the kids had finished making their parents cry with laughter it was time for some of the adults to take centre stage. For the previous few weeks I had seen them walking up the road to the school carting these massive Hula Hoops to practise their routine and I have to admit, they were quite good!

With all the razzmatazz out of the way it was finally time to actually start the sporting events! You will have to wait for part three to read all about that though!