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16 May

We’ve been away from home  for more than six months, almost thirty weeks.  Six months of never staying anywhere longer than two weeks, with most rooms only being home for a few days.  We’ve done different things every single day, and rarely eaten in the same place twice.

It’s may not be the most exciting place.  But after over six months of perpetual motion, it’s nice to have somewhere to return to again and again.  Last week we were in Chiang Mai.  Just down the end of our lane, and across the busy road is Sailomjoy, open for breakfast and lunch.  They serve a range of travellers standards; banana pancakes, porridge, mango shakes, spaghetti bolognese.  Useful for children who are fed up with rice. They also do Thai staples, like papaya salad, that tastes like it’s supposed to, and real coffee.  It’s clean and tidy and the staff are friendly. That’s pretty much the pinnacle of my ambitions.

Oddly, Ned moaned every time we went back after our first visit.  He liked the food but thought we should be trying something new.  I, on the other hand, loved having somewhere familiar to go, if only for a week.

At the end of this week, we’re heading back to Chaing Mai for a couple of days.  I know where we’ll be having breakfast.

Eating bugs

11 May

Ned’s always been a good eater, ever since he was tiny, he used to lunge at whatever we were eating and shove it in his mouth.  So it wasn’t a huge surprise when he developed a taste for insects aged about four.  Selfridges started selling candied scorpions and the like, and I bought one thinking the children would all run screaming, but Ned just looked fascinated and asked if he could try it.  He pronounced it crunchy and polished the whole thing off, sting and all.

Ever since, he’s talked about eating insects and a browse through a book about creepy crawlies is inevitably accompanied by the question, is it edible.  We knew that a trip to Northern Thailand would have to involve some insect eating, as this is one of the few places in the world where bugs are a prized foodstuff.  We’ve tried fried crickets, bee larvae omelette and bamboo worm, all of which were actually really nice.  I promise.


This post was written for Wanderfood Wednesday.  For other, slightly more conventional, travel food ideas, head on over…

Coffee kaya butter toast

13 Apr

You can eat all sorts for breakfast here, and we have.  Fried octopus, steamed buns, noodle soup, yam cake.  But my favourite thing is coffee and toast.  The toast, is always cooked over charcoal (see above), as all toast should be, and it’s served with the crusts cut off and spread with butter and kaya.  Kaya is like lemon curd, but with coconut instead of lemon, and is slightly green in colour.  It’s doesn’t taste coconutty, just sweet, but goes nicely with the salty butter.  The coffee is fiendishly strong, brewed in a cross between a sock and a butterfly net and served with a dollop of condensed milk.  Just the thing to get you going after a long night spent swatting mossies and refereeing arguements between bed sharing children.


This post is a contribution to Wanderfood Wednesday.  Head on over for more travelling deliciousness.

Ice cream, Queensland style

17 Feb


19 Jan

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We ate them on the beach of course.  And they were sweet az.

Man versus food

6 Dec

We’ve not watched much TV, well the children have, but the grown ups haven’t. Partly it’s because we’ve not often had access to a TV in the evenings because the children have been asleep, and partly because we’ve only had the free channels, which aren’t terribly good.

Special mention has to go to two programmes, The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills, which satisfied my I’m a Celebrity longing for a couple of evenings, and Man Versus Food. The latter basically involves a man, can’t remember his name, visiting restaurants around the USA and being challenged to eat gargantuan quantities of food in one sitting. The world’s biggest burger, that kind of thing. Man usually wins. As a format it gets tired pretty quickly, but for keen students of American culture, it has a lot to recommend it.

Today is our last day in America. I made a request that we go out and have a proper American breakfast. Steve chose a restaurant in the less fancy of Waikiki’s two Hiltons because it’s pancakes got a good write up in the Lonely Planet.

We arrived and looked at the menu, $15 for pancakes seemed a bit steep, but we were there and we’re used to sharing our food as portions are so big. Then we noticed the little announcement on the menu, “as seen on Man vs. Food”. We could not have chosen a more fitting venue for our last breakfast.

We just ordered one portion, the Elvis, with bacon, banana and peanut butter. It seemed only right.

Well. Apparently the record for one person to eat a stack of the Hilton’s pancakes is 15 minutes. He didn’t have to pay his bill. There was no way on earth we’d have achieved that. Each pancake was the size of a large pizza. Have you ever tried to eat a pancake the size of a pizza? I can confirm that it’s not easy. We struggled manfully for about 20 minutes with the delicious but ginormous portion, then our friendly waiter offered to box the rest up for us. It was without doubt the most entertaining meal we’ve had in Hawaii, and also the best value. $15 is a steal round these parts. And we’ve still got more than enough for tea.

PS picture above not actual size.

Dickon and the chocolate factory

30 Nov

We have been staying in the arse end of nowhere this week, down a dirt track in the jungle. While it has it’s good points, it’s meant a lot of driving. So we’ve started listening to audio books on our many trips up and down the volcano and to and from the capricious lava flow.

We’ve heard all of the BFG and have just started on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  The latter generated lots of conversations along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be cool if those trees were made of sugar?” and “Look! That’s just like a giant gobstopper.”

This morning, as part of our Auntie Mabel goes global programme, we decided to visit Big Island Candies, a biscuit shop that according to the trusty Lonely Planet, has a window onto the factory floor. As it’s Sunday, we assumed that the factory would be shut, but at least the shop would be open. And it’s in between the waterfall and the beach, so why not?

As we got out of the car, Dickon said, “I hope they have free samples”.  He wasn’t disappointed.  We opened the doors to be greeted by a sight of Christmassy wondorousness, with sparkly red decorations dangling from the ceiling, trees covered in bows and red and white striped paper chains everywhere.  And a friendly lady handing out samples.  We wandered over to look through the large windows into the factory and were happy to see a small production line of ladies dipping all manner of things in chocolate.  “It’s just like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!” Dickon gasped, and it really was.  Except the staff weren’t knee high and orange, but other than that…

And then we noticed the samples.  On the shelves, next to each product, was a bowl with samples.  We tried everything, as you do, and there was very little we didn’t like.  Minty brownies, lavender biscuits, shortbread in every guise, macadamia popcorn.  They were all good.

There was a section for products aimed at the many Japanese tourists who visit Hawaii.  These didn’t look quite so appealing, chocolate covered dried squid would be particularly challenging I think.

After trying everything once, Dickon went back for seconds and started emptying bowls, so we left before we were chucked out, but only after buying some minty brownies.

In the car on the way to the beach Dickon said “that is the best place in all of Hawaii.”