Siamese Star Sausage

Nothing can beat the company of fish cookies, papaya salad and sticky rice with mango. That’s why I love Thai food markets so much. Last year I fell in love with a food market in Chiang Mai, North Thailand: Talat Thanin. Tropical fruit in abundance, huge bowls with red, green and yellow curries, stir-fries with mussels and the funky stuff this market is famous for. Such as small pancakes – in Dutch: poffertjes – filled with squid and  mayonnaise on top. The highlight of my visit to this market/Chiang Mai was my encounter with sai ua or Chiang Mai sausage. Minced pork meat, garlic, red chilli peppers, lemongrass, galangal (a kind of ginger). Three words: very well seasoned. This grilled sausage is the king of all Asian sausages. Two weeks ago I traced his royal highness at the Thai Food Café in Amsterdam, the relaxed, friendly and affordable enterprise of two Thai street food aficionados: Céderick and Steven. The sausage is less spicy than the original one, but is very, very tasty. It’s made according to the recipe they got from a Chiang Mai butcher. The appetizer is served with tomato chutney and tastes even better with Singha beer on the side.

Thai Food Café
Chiang Mai sausage, one portion, €4.00
Oranje Vrijstaatkade 66, East
+31 (0) 20 233 53 64
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-1am, Friday-Saturday 11am-3am, Sunday 11am-1am

Stuff Thai People Like

OOKAANOn the island of Koh Chang I met a couple who had come to Thailand to sell bratwurst, German pork sausages. They had a motorbike that doubled as a means of transportation and a mobile shop. ‘How ‘bout your target group’, I asked them. ‘We will sell to tourists, but we will also conquer the Thai market. Mind you, there are no other bratwurst sellers in Thailand.’ Guess why, I thought, but I didn’t say that. I didn’t want to be a party pooper. To be honest I thought their business proposition was crap. Why Thailand? Maybe some tourists long for a bratwurst, but locals? It’s not that they despise Western food, but they are just very much in love with their own food. Obvious to see why: it contains lots of superb items. A bratwurst has to compete with local sausages such as sai ua, pork sausages seasoned with finely chopped herbs and galangal (a root with a citrus scent). It also has to compete with snacks like tod man pla, fried fish cakes including four flavours: sweet (palm sugar), sour (lime leaves), salty (fish sauce) and spicy (curry paste). Try one and it’s bye bye bratwurst. Friendly restaurant and takeaway Kratiam Thai in Amsterdam serves similar cakes: perfectly balanced flavours, a firm texture. Eat one, remember the German business proposition and render a verdict.

Kratiam Thai
Tod man pla, one portion (3), €5.50
Bos en Lommerweg 199, West (Bos en Lommer)
+31 (0)20 750 81 13
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 3pm-10pm