You don’t find spring roll pastry in Sainsbury’s let alone green papaya for Som Tam. The same goes for M & S and this says a lot about the retail market in the UK.

No problem if you are looking for ready made and frozen meals.

Imported Thai food products Portsmouth, Hampshire the south of England

But if it is going to be home cooked you need to know where to look. In Portsmouth, if it’s Thai you are after, you want to find the Thai & Asian Food Mart. Around the corner from the Fratton station. Besides green papaya they stock almost everything you might need. Although I am not sure whether they have the spring roll pastry.

Thai cooking ingredients Portsmouth, Hampshire the south coast of England

Scratching through the fridge crammed full of fresh ingredients I found small trays of Sadtaw. A bitter young bean like seed which blends perfectly with into a hot Thai curry. Which when bought in a village market, come in a long, flat and wavy, over-sized, bright green seedpod which are usually bound together with a rubber band.

Fresh Thai vegetables in Portsmouth, Hampshire the south east of England

Pak bung, wild morning glory water spinach and cha-om which is a ferny young leaf shoot. A well-loved herby vegetable that is cunningly secreted into Thai omelettes to hide those spikey bits which you get even in the tender tips. Not to forget to mention the short stocky Thai bananas which I think are called gluay nam wa.

Fresh Thai fruit in Portsmouth Hampshire the south coast of England

But with fifty odd different varieties of banana in Thailand you can never be sure which is which. But if it is Thai there is a good chance you can find it. Jasmine rice, sticky rice, black rice, rice noodle sticks in the three prescribed sizes. Oyster sauce, mushroom soya sauce and fish sauce. Bottles of all sorts, tins of coconut milk, jars of palm sugar and packets of dried chilli.

They even stock Birdy iced coffee in cans, bottles Oishi teas and the notorious Mama instant noodles.

Traditional Thai Hospitality

Sampran Riverside, Nakhon Pathom

Traditional Thai Hospitality riverside accommodation Nakon Pathom

About an hour away from Bangkok, covering 70 acres the Sampran Riverside is a family-run eco-cultural destination in Nakornpathom on the Ta Chin River. Visitors can experience authentic Thai hospitality and traditional food using organic ingredients. Visitors are accommodated in an antique Thai house and are invited to participate in cultural workshops or to visit local farmers who supply the kitchen with organic produce.

Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew

Next post overdue 27/04/2020

Situated in Khun Han of Sisaket Province, Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew or the Million Bottle Temple was built to draw attention to the need to recycle and adopt a sustainable lifestyle.

Recycled beer bottles

Work started in 1984 after the monks invited locals to help collect empty green Chang and Heinekan beer bottles. First came the temple and one and a half million bottles later a crematorium, water towers, sleeping quarters and and ablutions. Bottle caps were also used to create mosaics and Buddhist designs inside this unique temple.

Na Ta Po

Ban Rai is a small unassuming town in Uthai Thani which most busy tourists simply bypass. And by tourists I am referring mostly to cyclists. They are the only ones I know of who venture this far off the beaten track in Thailand. But they are always peddling to get to the next town and seldom stop.

Coffee shops in Ban Rai Uthai Thani

But there are reasons why Ban Rai is both a destination for local tourists as well as a second home for city types looking for an escape.

Good coffee in Ban Rai Uthai Thani

It is also home to the Na Ta Po weaving and cultural centre which is tucked away off the main road behind the Ban Na Fai Bueng Ta Pho school. They produce and market exquiste handwoven fabrics which are marketed through OTOP and sold at upmarket shops in Bangkok. They also have a small fabric museum which is one of those special places I never tire of.

Handwoven cotton fabrics Na Ta Po Ban Rai Uthai Thani Thailand

Termite mushrooms

Every year at the end of the rainy season, the villagers in Nong Prue go in search of the termite mushrooms. These are then sold from stalls lining the road, to buyers who will drive from Bangkok for these rare and sought after delicacies.

Termite mushrooms Nong Prue Kanchanaburi

They germinate in the organic matter left behind in termite nests after the ants  swarm to establish new colonies. They can be found in Phetchaburi, Kanchanaburi and the more mountainous areas in Suphanburi. But the best, the sweetest mushrooms are found in Nong Prue where they can fetch prices in excess of B600 for a kg.

Cleaning termite mushrooms Kanchanaburi

Seafood in Pattaya

In reverse order of excellence in the Pattaya area:

‘Nang Nuen’ on ‘Walking Street’ is good and, if you are just passing through Pattaya something of a show.

Mum Aroy in Narklua, excellent sea food, but getting rather pricey.

In Jomtien, ร้านอาหารสุดทางรักพัทยา, this is not a place with live fish to gawk at and choose, but the seafood is sublime.

To the south of Pattaya towards Satthahip Phreecha, I’ll not argue with anyone who claims this to be the best seafood restaurant they’ve ever eaten at. (and yes live fish, prawns, cabs etc).

To the North of Pattaya near Chonburi at Saen Suk, Wang Muk sea food restaurant – There is no better sea food in Thailand and the reason why I would not argue with anyone saying Phreecha is the best is because I’d know they’ve never been to Wang Muk.

Sea food markets of note:

Narklua market (at the back of the old market nearest the sea)
Wang Muk sea food market
Ang Sila sea food market – really really superb.

For the past 9 years I have lived in SEA port cities and Bigal1’s advice is the best. Go to the fish market at the harbor and buy the best fish, have it cooked for you in a small place nearby and be happy.
In Thailand really good seafood costs as much as in the west. Check for Seafood Market in Bangkok. Good place but not cheap at all. The places mentioned by persona are ok but nothing mind blowing, standard fare serving the Thai middle class.
Yes, people do fish in Thailand but the catch is limited and mostly reserved for export or privileged consumption. The tons of shrimps, baby lobsters, crabs, snappers etc. you find all around have never seen the sea. The romantic belief that fishermen go out in the early morning, bring in a colorful fish and you have it for lunch and at a bargain is tourist industry image. Resellers wait with their cellphones in the harbors, check the catch, and get immediately limits from their patrons in the capitol or Japan. If the harbor is close to an airport, the good quality is within hours in Tokyo. Only rejects enter local wholesale or those ordered by places like the restaurant above which charges a premium.
Islands order wholesale frozen farmed fish. I have seen it on Koh Samet and do not think other places are any different – this applies also for fish restaurants in Pattaya. Difference here is that the farmed fish is delivered alive to the better places – but again this is not a catch from the sea.
I do not eat fish away from places like Bigal1 described. The danger of formaldehyde (causes cancer) and other forms of manipulation is just too big. Shrimps are another long story. Just take a look at the farms north of Ayuthaya (that’s not on the sea).
In sum, if you are not at a good place and islands are not, if you do not go at the right time, and if you are not willing to pay a realistic price for the product you wont get good quality. In my place it is either at dawn or dusk and it is rubbing shoulders with locals and being prepared to pay a dollar more than them.


Luxury riverside hotels

These slow-life waterside stays near Bangkok are perfect for your summer holiday
Why stick to the beach?

By Lily Kittisrikangwan | Mar 27, 2017

These slow-life waterside stays near Bangkok are perfect for your summer holiday
Buddy Oriental Riverside, Nonthaburi

It’s only a seven-minute boat ride away from the slow-life island of Koh Kret, known for its Mon community. This Apr 1 they’re also launching a brand-new riverside restaurant called Fahprapha, with a special sunset promotion of B499 for free-flow drinks from 6-9pm daily.
Bangkok Tree House, Samut Prakarn

How about a last minute eco staycation? Only a short ride from BTS Bang Na, this lush Samutprakan hideout runs a weekday promotion for its Tree Top Nest room at B2,999/night including breakfast for two, available through Apr 7. It’s also only a 10-minute bike ride away from Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market.
Sampran Riverside, Nakhon Pathom

About an hour away from Bangkok, you can indulge in a cultural stay by Ta Chin River at this 70-acre oasis, enjoy art and craft workshops at its Thai Village, take cooking classes, shop at the weekend farmers’ market, tour the on-site Sookjai Organic Farm, or just enjoy Thai cuisine by the river. Their Organic Living Weekend package is only B1,800/person, inclusive of workshop activities.
Parndhevi Riverside Resort and Spa, Nakhon Pathom

Parndhevi is home to the mega popular Riva Floating Cafe where you can just dip your feet into the Nakhon Chai Si River (if you can get the good tables). After all these years it’s still the go-to place in Nakhon Pathom. The resort has recently launched a new, tres-chic riverside eatery called Nava Tea Terrace, serving afternoon tea from 10am-8pm every Wed-Mon. B3,000 for a one-night stay plus breakfast and a 1.5-hour aromatherapy massage for two.
Asita Eco Resort, Samut Songkhram

The Green Award winner of the Thailand Boutique award 2016/17 is one hour away from Bangkok and 10 minutes from Amphawa and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Asita’s 22 villas are all eco-friendly, and you can even watch fireflies at night from your private porch. The Songkran holiday package is B3,500, inclusive of breakfast and a boat trip for two guests.
Weara Waree 2499, Samut Songkhram

Amphawa’s new riverside hotel offers an idyllic rural retreat

An idyllic rural retreat sitting on the banks of Mae Klong River, this charming hotel is actually a wooden house which dates back to 1956. It’s far away near Don Hoi Lot, and you can still explore the rivers or even do an overnight fishing trip for a unique experience. Rooms are B2,000-2,500/night.
Sala Ayutthaya, Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is probably not the first place that comes to mind when you think of summer. But these sala Ayutthaya rooms are just to die for. Prices start from B4,500 for a riverview Deluxe room, inclusive of breakfast by the Chao Phraya River at the eatery and bar, which arguably has some of the best views of Phutthaisawan Temple. Free bicycle rentals if you want to tour the ancient capital at your own pace.
The Legend Maeklong, Samut Songkram

Constructed during the reign of King Rama 6, this boutique vintage hotel combines Thai architecture with a colonial touch. It also has a super chill riverside restaurant that comes with unobstructed view of Mae Klong River.
Baan Pong Tara, Ratchaburi

Suan Pheung isn’t all about faux-European resorts and Thai music festivals. This low-key lakeside resort is only 800 meters away from The Scenery, while still being able to maintain the tranquilty and greenery all year-round. Prices start at B2,200 for the Baan Rim Naam lodge.
Villamoreeda, Ratchaburi
Situated next to Lum Pa Chee River, Villamoreeda offers a super serene getaway across a private one-rai area of pure nature. These cute modern rooms start from B3,200 during Green Season, but check with the resort directly for special deals.
Floathouse River Kwai, Kanchanaburi

Sure, it’s a little bit of a trek trying to get to Float House as you can only reach it via the local long-tailed boat from the Phutakien Pier, but trust that these Thai-folk style floating villas, all equipped with aircon and wifi, will be worth it. There’s currently 25% off on all River Kwai overnight tours, applicable for bookings from now through Oct 31.
X2 River Kwai, Kanchanaburi

All 22 rooms face the spectacular views of Kwai Noi River. Said to be the most beautiful resort in Kanchanaburi, X2 River Kwai’s new XFloat Cabins come with an upper deck that will allow you to make the most out of the view from sunrise till sunset. There’s also a really tempting deal B8,500/night on weekdays that includes three meals, a one-hour massage for two guests plus late check out at 4pm.

Kwai Tara Riverside Villa, Kanchanaburi

The latest floating villa resort to open right on River Kwai offers a free boat ride along the Kwai Noi river daily. Their 10 modern villas are 80 sq meters, and all come with a hammock right at the front porch by the river. Special B1,000 discount applies right now during the soft opening, which will set you back at B4,000/night for a Canal Access Room, and B4,500/night for a Floating Villa, inclusive of breakfast.

– See more at: http://bk.asia-city.com/travel/news/waterside-boutique-resorts-summer#sthash.udXOcWur.dpuf