14 December 2008

A real giant

Wat Pho is an amazing place and, although high on every tourist's list, it shouldn't be missed. Also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is the oldest Buddhist temple in Bangkok and houses the largest Buddha in Thailand. 

On a recent visit, we also learned that is home to more than 1,000 Buddha images, more than any other temple in the country. After removing our shoes, we entered the temple. My daughter jumped back in fright at the sight of a huge towering person looming overhead while my son said, with a tone of awe, "A real, real, real giant." Two different kids, two different reactions to a truly awe inspiring sight. 

After walking around the Buddha (who takes up the entire interior of the temple), visitors can make a donation and receive little cups of coins to toss into brass buckets lining one interior side of the temple. By tossing the coins into each of the differently sized containers, you create a sort of mysterious melody that echos throughout the temple. When you initially enter the structure, you are a aware of the haunting sound but can't quite recognize what might be making the noises. It isn't until you walk the full length of the Buddha's body and round his feet that you gain an understanding of the vessels creating the music. My daughter spent several minutes earnestly tossing her little pieces of baht and satang into the containers and was enchanted by the echoing ting-ting-ting she added to the room.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 28:
Coconut Popsicles
These are an unusual concoction of simple Thai flavors. Try serving them as a pallette cleanser between courses, for dessert or even as a passed appetizer. And, forget waiting for a warm day, the intense flavor makes for a great lick no matter the season! I recommend using the smallest size popsicle mold that you can find (or even an ice cube tray with beautiful ornate toothpicks as the handle), since they are rich.

1 cup of Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
dark chocolate, optional

Mix the above ingredients and pour into a popsicle mold. Freeze until hard. If using the chocolate, melt it over a double broiler and dip the popsicles quickly half way. Place on a greased cookie sheet and return to the freezer to harden again.

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