26 May 2009

Bottoms up

Always with the best intentions to enjoy the quirks and charms of Bangkok, my husband and I share an enthusiasm for exploring side streets and checking out new restaurants when we have an evening to ourselves. So, armed with an appropriate sense of humor, a recent evening led us to a stroll down Bangkok's infamous Soi Cowboy. Our chosen restaurant was just a few blocks away from the soi and we were a bit early. With time to kill, this was a perfect opportunity to observe the supposedly crazy wilds of Bangkok's Red Light district before it would turn to nightfall and become "not our scene." 

With the exception of a giant neon cowboy riding high over the alley-like road and the city's ever present motorbike taxi drivers careening around pedestrians, Bangkok's red light district looked pretty tame compared to other cities similar neighborhoods. After an uneventful stroll past bars with the names playing on various versions of The Dollhouse, we were still a bit too early for our preferred dinner hour. So, we ducked inside a bar proud to be one of the few places in Bangkok to serve Guinness on tap (sort of). 

Within no more than a minute, the "draft" Guinness was set on coasters before us. Now, let it be known that I am not an expert on beer. My consumption habits are pretty much limited to Irish Pubs, tropical beaches or, in this case, a Dutch bar on Soi Cowboy in Bangkok. However, thanks to the help of my husband, I know that a good Guinness takes more than a minute to pour. So, uncertain of what was actually in my pint of espresso-colored, no foam, lukewarm cup labeled Guinness, I proceeded cautiously. Thankfully, it wasn't long before it was time to head to our real destination of the evening, just a few blocks away.

It has been quite awhile since I've enjoyed delicious Vietnamese cooking and I had hoped that the darling greenery covered restaurant in front of me would provide relief from my draught. Dressed in white linens and traditional blue enameled plates, with gorgeous artwork and a continuation of the outdoor's beautiful greenery, my heart started to palpitate at the overall experience that might await us. As quickly as the palpitations occurred, I flat lined when our chosen beverages approached the table. Two completely naked women, breasts bubbling over with the drink's foam, were placed on the table. From a tame Soi Cowboy to an elegant Vietnamese restaurant serving in vessels disguised as naked women! Unable to control the humor that the night presented, my husband and I attempted to hold in belly laughs, clinked the breasts together and winked, "bottoms up!"

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 51:
Candied Coconut Cashews
Take a break from Bangkok bar hopping, stay in, cook up a pizza and whip up this version of a bar snack. Just be forewarned that Candied Coconut Cashews are addictive. I take no responsibility if  you find yourself tiptoeing to the kitchen at midnight to make a new batch.

1 cup fresh raw cashews
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons unsweetened finely grated dried coconut

In a saute pan, add the sugar, salt and cayenne pepper. Turn the heat to high and stir the ingredients until they just begin to melt. Add the cashews, mix to coat and continue to stir until the sugar is well caramelized (about 2 minutes). Allow the nuts to stand for a moment to "roast", but don't allow them to burn. Remove from heat and add the coconut. Stir to coat well. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy while warm.

Yield: 2 snack sized servings


  1. Oh humperdink! Just what I needed, another tasty snack to pad my hips before my trip. Today was the day that I was to get serious and stop eating "the junk". What happened at noon? I got a serious hankering for your curried popcorn. Now you've gone and given me a treat using my second favorite snack, cashews. Hello, treadmill.

    By chance were you at Le Dalat Indochine? I think that it is near Soi Cowboy. We're serious pho lovers and were going to check it out this trip.

    My husband and I ended up on one of those "types" of streets one night while waiting for our favorite noodle soup vendor (on Soi 11) to set up. The ladies must take lessons in diversity as I was even offered a good time.

  2. BTW - I like that Foodie Fights! encouraged you to start posting photos.

  3. YUM! The cashews look great. I love your recipes. Are you a trained chef or someone who has a really great pallette and creativity? You seem to have a good sense of what goes well together and proportions of ingredients within your food. I've tried quite a few recipes off your web and they are all so well balanced with flavor.

  4. Bottoms up! Clink. LOL


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