Pass the Peanut Sauce, But Please … No Spiders

When taking a ride on an elephant seems like a good idea, you have either had too much southeast-Asian sun, drank too many cactus colas or, possibly, in some extreme cases, both.

It is a long way to the ground from the back of the beast. Thank god they are friendly.

In Cambodia, the locals will grill anything. And I mean anything.

A buddy of mine was walking through a colourful, ripe-smelling market and looking for something recognizable to eat when he came across savoury grilled spiders. And not just little savoury spiders, either.

As he stood there, mouth agape, the stall owner assured him the spiders were quite fresh before grilling. He supported this disturbing revelation by reaching into a convenient covered bucket on the ground, beside him, and producing a large, hairy live spider with all manner of legs, which he shamelessly slapped onto my buddy’s shirt.

(And you thought Michael Jackson could dance.) I’d consider becoming vegan, myself, after an incident such as that.

If you are not afraid of peanut sauce, Thai food is for you. While in Thailand, it is popular for visitors to enrol in cooking courses (no spiders, thank you).

There are courses that last a few hours to a few days; and the food, which you yourself cook and eat, is fabulous. You need only to be careful with the chilies, which are an integral part of a lot of Thai dishes.

Which brings us to the much-ballyhooed subject of who makes the world’s-longest rice noodles.

The longest edible rice noodle in the world was 420.4-metres long and weighed 63 kilograms (I’ve seen pictures).

Now for the skinny: It took a team of eight chefs 15 attempts, using almost 5,000 kilograms of rice, cooking for an eight-hour shift.

Chinese rice-noodle history dates back to 386AD and the Song Dynasty, when rice ‘cables’ could be dried and given as thoughtful gifts. These noodles may be used in barbecued spaghetti, which we will discuss later – after the Luau Crustacean-Style Lobster, which does not normally use rice noodles, but could.

Back to Thai cooking …

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