Chillies + Cheese with red rice = Ema Datshi, Bhutan’s national dish. Yums

Oishī (おいしい) - Kansai Food Delights

The Kansai Region (関西地方) situated in Honshu’s south central part is well know for it’s culinary delights.  However my foodie adventure here started out with only some humble convenience store sushi… stuck at the airport.

After I got out of the airport, I started out simple with some Chicken Katsu at a shokudō (cheap set-meals eatery) in Kyoto.

How could I not have deserts such as this nice green tea cake with coffee and green tea in a tea house / desert / cake house near Nara Park.

Snacking is also easy in Japan with all the street vendors like this one rice flour balls with special source.

Nara has their own style of sushi where, rice is wrapped into fresh wasabi leaves top with salmon or grilled unagi. Delicious! never had anything like this before.

Going vegetarian at Mount Koya with Soba (buckwheat noodles) and yuba (tofu skin) followed by some refreshing tea.  

Green tea and some rice cracker before meditation at Mount Koya’s revered monastery.

Love my soba, taste great with mackerel too at a restaurant in Arashiyama.

Man, those Soba don’t last long gotta snack some street vendor fish cakes on sticks while I explore the woods of Arashiyama.

Gotta have some deserts too right.  This is Sakura Mochi, red beans filling in glutinous rice flour wrapped in sakura leaf.  Try it! your taste buds will thank you for it.  The leaves are salty/sour while the ball is sweet and the filling is sweater.

To end a perfect day at Arashiyama, I had a yummy green tea ice-cream…

Back in Kyoto city at the food court on top of the train station, I had my first Okonomiyaki & Takoyaki combo.  Both regional specialties of the Kansai region.

Of course everyone in Kansai will tell you the best Okonomiya is from Osaka! Like this one from Yukari in the Ohatsutenji-dori shopping arcade.  Best okonomiyaki restaurant in Osaka.

Basically this is a flour batter pancake with a variety of filling, you can choose from tuna to potatoes to bacon top with a sweet source and mayo.  Add herbs and bonito flakes liberally.

How could something so simple be soooo delicious…

I seriously dream of eating Okonomiyaki from time to time LOL

With a side order of dikon radish salad.

You’ll never go hungry on the Dotombori strip in Osaka, Takoyaki joints are everywhere.

More green tea ice-cream on my last day in Osaka.

Osaka also has its own take on sushi.  The specialty here is block sushi or oshizushi where block shaped wodden mold are used to produced this culinary delight.

Last but no least some porky goodness at Kansai Airport, a restaurant specialising in everything pork.

OK I love Japanese food and I won’t mind eating the food in Kansai Region everyday!

Kin k̄ĥāw (กินข้าว) : Nothern Thai Specialities

Northern Thai cuisine is quite different from the rest of the country.  Some of them are influenced by neighboring Laos and Burma.  In addition there are also ethnic hill tribe cuisines

This is Gaeng Kae Gai, a combination of local green vegetables and chicken curry.  Kinda similar to Or Lam, a Laos specialty from Luang Prabang.

Had this at the Night Bazaar & Food Court in Chiang Rai, complete with cultural dance entertainment.

Karen Pumpkin Curry is another example of northern curry that uses more fresh herbs and chilli peppers rather than thick curry paste and coconut milk.

Apparently the Karen people love to cook with pumpkins, this is from the River House Restaurant in Mae Sariang.

The Shan people from Burma are also a prominent minority here, you could find many restaurants offering Shan cuisine.

This is Shan Herb Chicken from Fern Restaurant in Mae Hong Son.

A refreshing lime juice at the Salween River Restaurant & Bar, a Shan Cuisine specialist in Mae Hong Son.

I’ve had my share of papadoms at indian restaurants but I’ve never tried Shan Papadoms until I got here.  It has a more fishy taste and thicker, scrumptious with the special dip.

This is Chicken Casserole, Shan style. A little too tomatoey for my taste.

They do make an effort for the ambiance :)

This is another version of the Shan Herb Chicken from the Seven Elephants Restaurant, Soppong.

Of course you eat almost everything here with  k̄ĥāw (rice).  Every dish here is serve in the traditional Thai Caladon ceramic ware.

Shan meat balls.  Whether it’s Italian, Chinese, Turkish or Shan, meat balls are the best!

Shan pad thai. A more exotic version from the rest of the country.

Rice noodles with bean sprouts, tofu, peppers and meat.

Probably the most famous Northern Thai cuisine is the Khao Soi. Noodles with a spicy coconut milk broth mix that resembles curry.  Shallots and other vegetables together with lime are also provided to your taste. 

At the NorthWest Restaurant, Pai.  

There are two types of noodles in this dish, boiled and fried egg noodles.

There is a saying that you have not truly visited Chiang Mai until you have had your Khao Soi.  Khao Soi from De Naga Restaurant, Chiang Mai.

I really like the flat noodles with the fried egg noodles here.

Chiang Mai is also famous for their sausages like the Sai Ua.  This is the Chiang Mai Platter with nam phrik at De Naga.

Not to be left out, Sukhothai also has its own special dish, the Sukhothai Noodle.

The rice noodle used is called the Khanon Chin.

Kinda resembles the Vietnamese Pho, it is a blend of chicken or crispy pork, peanuts, coriander and peppers in a clear broth.

Sukhothai noodle is delicious, cheap and can be found all over town.

Last but not least is a very Laos or Isaan style dish called stir-fried morning glory.

The collection of Northern Thai cuisine is truly an extension of the well known delicious Thai cuisine that the everyone loves.

Kin k̄ĥāw (กินข้าว) : Western and Fusion Food Thai Style

You don’t have to consume Thai food all the time in Thailand, no matter how delicious they may be.  There is a vast varieties of western or at least the fusion version of it easily available.  I mean even Asians or Thai people don’t eat Asian food everyday!

The most common form of western food in Thailand is of course the breakfast.  Scramble eggs, toast with butter & marmalade, pathetic vegetables to pass as salad and of course a good cuppa coffee.  They are either complimentary to your room or cost around 800 - 150 bath.

Classic example below from the River House Restaurant in Mae Sariang 

Rather than pathetic salad I really much prefer a local fruit platter such as the breakfast at the Seven Elephants Cafe, Soppong River Inn.  Fresh bananas, mangoes and watermelon.

Freshly ground coffee.

The usual western breakfast suspect.  To be honest its much heartier than a bowl of noodles (shhhh…)

Was kinda bored with scramble eggs, so I ordered this waffle with fruits and yogurt at Charcoa Restaurant, Chiang Mai.  This comes with a cup of orange juice and a great cup of coffee, of course.  You gotta eat healthy while you’re traveling (well as often as you can). 

Charcoa Restaurant also serves western lunch and dinner such as this fish & chips which sadly does not taste that good. Still a great cafe restaurant though.

This fusion food below I really like! Grilled chicken in tamarind sauce with chips and vegetables.  TipTop Restaurant, Chiang Mai.

A fusion gone wrong would come next in the form of fusilli pasta in tom yam kung soup.  Two strong cusisine that didn’t mix too well for me at the Black Canyon Cafe, Chiang Mai.

Italian cuisine should be “pure” like this Hawaiian Pizza LOL.  This was from a really nice French owned pizza place Da Mamma Restaurant, Soi Kasem San 1, Bangkok. 

Of course Thailand can make a mean cup of mocha anytime! @ Chacoa Cafe

Whether you are home sick or sick of Thai food or just a pizza eating traveller, Thailand can surely accommodate your taste buds.

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