Friday, November 1, 2013

Bangkok Night Market or how to make a special Cappuccino

Getting everything together for the Cappuccino
Today I like to tell you a bit from my travels on the ships. I have seen many corners of the world and tasted many foods, but sometimes one has experiences that are extra ordinary. I spent a lot of time on the different markets in the individual ports we went, for one of course to get some fresh goods, but then of course as well to educate myself more on local fruit and vegetables and often I saw new fruit, bought it and then we tried in the kitchen new dishes.
Having a smile at work
One of the funny experiences happened when we sailed to Thailand. We were actually docked in Patthaya, not too much I want to tell you about that port.........but our supplier suggested that we maybe should pay a visit to one of the big night markets up in Bangkok, one of the markets that is there for the restaurants, so not really open to the public, even so it is not closed so everybody can just walk in. Of course I said yes, I would love to go and then was able to invite some of my fellow chefs to come with.
Adding loads of coffee, sugar and powdered milk
He collected us at 1.30 in the morning, we needed a good hour to drive up to Bangkok and arrived just in time when the market was hustling and bustling. It is an amazing place to be, I had no idea where to start so we just followed our supplier. He was a great guide, coming from Denmark and married with a Thai lady, so she was there too and helped with translations.
The system is actually quite amazing. One goes through the market and if one wants to buy something, everything is of course only sold by box or crate, one negotiates the price. Then one has to pay and give the car registration number and the more or less direction where the car is parked. Then the food will be brought to the least that is how it was explained to me and amazingly it worked. When we were back at the car every single box of fruit and vegetables we bought that night was safely stored.
Pouring the coffee in the ice bag
Being on the market made me absolutely happy, we learned the finer things that make a difference, we tried Rambutan from the North and the South of Thailand and tasted the difference in sweetness, yes the one from the South is superior. We even tried really has to love the taste... When the Durian is young it very much tastes like raw onions, but has a lovely yellow look. When the Durian gets ripe....ooohhhhh boy, then the flesh looks lovely like vanilla pudding, it smells and tastes like rotten eggs, caramba, what an experience and no, I am no fan of Durian.
Our take away "Cappuccino"
After all the walking and tasting the idea came up of having a cup of coffee, it was nearly 5 AM and we would be heading home soon. So there was a stand selling coffee and we ordered 5 Coffees. The question then was if we like it hot or as ice coffee. Ah yes, a ice cold coffee would be great, so the ladies started to work. One went away to get crushed ice in bags, the other one put 5 spoons full of Nescafe instant each cup, then 5 spoons of sugar and the same amount of milk powder. Wow, I could not imagine drinking this coffee, it will be so strong that it must be nearly thick. But of course this was not the end, she added the hot water and then just after a little stirring simply poured the piping hot coffee into the ice filled bags. Then she looked at us, smiled and asked if we like Cappuccino? Yes, why not? So she took a tin of condense milk and poured a swirl onto each bag of coffee. A straw in bag and voila the Cappuccino was finish and believe me, it tasted just great.
Having coffee with the chefs and supplier, next to me Chef Tai, Chef Raf and Pastry Chef Wolfgang
We had an amazing night on the market, after having all worked a good 12 hour shift, having a couple of beers in the crew bar, then driving to Bangkok, seeing all these amazing fruit and vegetables, having a super coffee, we walked around a little longer and then at around 6 am went back to the ship in Pattaya. We had one more stop for a great breakfast consisting of Tom Yum and more, and then around 9 AM we were back, quick shower and starting another days work.........having an experience we all will never forget

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