“Pursuit of the Golden Lily” is a new novel by R. Emery, inspired by her father's WWII POW diary. Initially documenting the author's journey to return the diary to Thailand where it was written, the Blog now follows her experiences as she self-publishes, launches the novel and reflects on topics woven into the narrative.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Food & Lodging on the Journey

Fried Green Papaya Salad
My favorite dish, hands down! The only place we found it though, was at Zab Zab restaurant in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Frequented by locals, this simple establishment is always packed. If you are in Kanchanaburi, do yourself a favor and go for a meal. The food was great and inexpensive. 
One of the things we loved on our journey was meeting entrepreneurs - we met quite a few, including couples running their businesses together. The Ten O'Clock Cafe, also in Kanchanaburi was one such establishment. 
Mr. and Mrs. Ten'o'clock
This small cafe satisfied our early morning coffee cravings, not to mention our lust for good deserts!
But there was one special dish at Ten O'Clock that captured our hearts. So much so, that the owners allowed us into the kitchen to see how it was made!
Omelette on rice with prawn.
The Chef                    
A blend of omelette, shrimp, mushrooms and rice covered with a divine sauce flavored with coconut and kaffir lime leaves - a signature ingredient in Asian cuisine.
Of course, what would a trip to Thailand be without tasting the ubiquitous Pad Thai prepared in its native land!
 The best Pad Thai I experienced was at the Green Tiger Vegetarian Guesthouse in Chiang Mai - which, by the way, is also a fabulous place to stay. The owners & staff were wonderful!
Roxy and friend
Mrs Green Tiger
Then, there was Vietnam! The food and hospitality in Vietnam were also incredible. First off, we stayed on the beautiful Cat Ba Island... at the Cat Ba Island Eco Lodge.
Nestled in luscious green hills, this modest but comfortable lodge was just what we needed!  Plus, the island is known as the island of butterflies! There are hundreds of species there, we were astounded at their beauty. On the food side, we were treated to some cooking classes and learned how to make fried spring rolls.
Oh.. did I mention that their breakfast mango pancake was amazing....
... and that all the food was presented in a beautifully unique way!

We even got to sing karaoke with our fun hostess and the chef!
After Cat Ba, we were booked on a three-day, two night cruise and home stay through Indochina Junk Boat Cruises. Everything was impeccable, from the boat....
...to the five course meals, to the cabins... and let's not forget the views! One of the loveliest places I've ever visited on this earth.
Our home stay, in the village of Yen Duc, Vietnam, was a truly meaningful opportunity for us to engage in village life, learn about traditions and.... yes, enjoy authentic Vietnamese food. Our host Mr. Shan welcomed us into his home...
Our gracious guide Nah, was both knowledgable and delightful.
We learned about rice .... a mainstay of village life in Vietnam...
  The women showed us the traditional process of cleaning the rice.
 All the food that Nah and her assistant made for us was grown or raised in the village... from the delectable morning glory vegetable, to the fish and shrimp, farmed right there, and the assortment of vegetables that we hand picked with them. Nothing like 'local' food! Wouldn't have missed this part of our journey for anything.
Finally, what would the trip have been without a mention of 'street food'. Our first night in Hanoi, we wandered up the road from our amazing Old Town Hanoi Hotel (well worth the visit - the staff are amazing, especially Mina) and found a fantastic array of street food...
...along with some sweet characters to welcome us!
From dinners held on a floating bungalow at Khao Sok Lake...
.... set against the backdrop of southern Thailand's mountains...
.. to simple home-assembled breakfasts,

     prepared at our bungalow on Railei Beach, Thailand...
... our journey offered up some of the best culinary feasts I have ever experienced... and we got to stay at a fantastic array of small hotels - mostly very inexpensive - but always clean, welcoming and friendly! Cheers to Southeast Asia... and by the way, I didn't even get to our adventures in Laos, or Malaysia... that's for another time!

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