Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Thailand Winter Getaway Series 2017: Khao Yai 3D2N Itinerary for Families (with kids)

It's that time of the year again, when I build upon my Thailand Winter Getaway Series. I have a feeling you will like this one man, especially if you are planning a trip to Khao Yai for your family. What I am going to share is the exact itinerary of my recent trip which involved a 'small' group of 21, ages ranging from 0 to 84, so if we managed to do this, so can you.

This was taken on the 3rd day, everyone still beaming with delight.

Before you decide to embark on a trip to Khao Yai, there are a few things to take note:

  1. A car is a must. The area is huge and there is no public transport, whether you take van or drive yourself, you need to ensure you have your own form of transportation for the trip to work.
  2. Do some research. There are too many places to visit, have a rough idea of where you would like to visit to have a more efficient trip.
  3. To get the most out of the Khao Yai experience, try to go when it's cool, which means December-early January. Even then, the days might still be scorching hot while it gets really cool at night. I can't imagine enjoying Khao Yai properly during the rainy season (June to September).
DAY 1:

Tung Buachom Floating Market

I wanted to leave this out, because there's really nothing interesting. We left home before 9am and arrived slightly after 10am. You can consider this a toilet break, and for the kids to have fun feeding the ginormous catfish, who have obviously enjoyed too many feasts over the new year break.

Fish that are bigger than duck?

Rai Suwan Corn Farm

Absolutely nothing to see, or rather we didn't find out whether there was any farm tour available. This initially-underwhelming visit ended up giving us the best food we had throughout the entire trip, their boiled corn. Fresh, sweet and slightly salty, you will struggle to find more delicious corn anywhere else in Thailand. The corn milk is a must-try as well. It runs out really quickly so come early.

World-class boiled corn and corn milk.
Hands-down the best thing I ate during the entire trip. 


It's my 3rd time there and most things remain similar so I will direct you here and here to enjoy seeing me looking slightly more like a young man. That's not to say there are no changes at all. I was happy to see more English being incorporated into their tour, though 90% is still conducted in Thai (don't worry, it's pretty engaging even though you might not understand the commentary). The animal show has also been scaled down into a brief dog show and the animal feeding stations have been moved outside the farm (meaning you can feed animals without buying tickets to enter the farm).

Little E dressed for the occasion.

Spend 155baht on their burger, it will leave you more satisfied than the steak, which is a lot pricier and always a let-down.
Don't forget their ice-cream and milk, if they are not sold-out yet.
If you have kids in tow, I highly recommend the 2-hour tour, which you will do well to book in advance from their website. It's not the most exciting tour in the world, but it's likely to be your kids' (and yours too) first time in a real, proper cattle ranch, observing how cows are milked, bred, how milk is bottled and enjoy some antics from cowboys. There's also a pretty extensive dragonfruit plantation, if you haven't seen one before.


Before moving on to day 2, I would like to emphasize the importance of the choice of your accomodation. There are countless possibilities in Khao Yai, ranging from farmstays, resorts, hotels, European-style villages and lodging close to the National Park. We chose the glamping route, giving our children a comfortable yet semi-real experience of staying in a tent. However well-equipped it is, with just a piece of canvas as protection, we were still vulnerable to the unpredictable forces of nature.

Hanging bridge leading to the tents.
Picturesque surroundings.
Fully-furnished tent, complete with a bathroom.
What I woke up to every morning.
Noah enjoyed his surroundings so much he started doodling a tree.
The footpath, and many more. That's what the experience is all about.
The view from our tent at night.

DAY 2:


I have been to sunflower fields before, but this is easily the best of all. It's HUGE, and quite a sight. I would personally make a day trip just to see this.

Yeah, not kidding. It's unreal. Wah Lau Eh!
Unfortunately we only managed to take a family picture at a part of the field where most flowers were droopy.



Now that Ellie is more than ready, we had to bring her here, because it is where some of our fondest memories were made, when we only had Noah. Furthermore, it's only open for barely 2 months every year, so the window to visit isn't big at all.

One of my favourite pictures this entire trip.
Noah attempting to mill rice.

To update, everything has remained largely the same since my previous post. The farm tour is still split into 4 parts - pumpkin patch, Isaan village, life cycle of silkworms/silk manufacture and finally the huge merchandise area. If you are a fan of their products, this is a wonderful place to find a large variety and snag a bargain or two. Oh, and they have quite a beautiful patch of sunflowers too!



This is a magnificent building reminiscent of castles built during the medieval ages in Europe. We came here after dinner for some drinks. 

Ellie posing nicely in order to get some ice cream.
Beautiful, no?
Is this place just an enormous themed restaurant though? I struggle to figure out any other point of the building. Then again, it's worth a visit, as it has ample seating, live music, playground and a unique ambience that takes some beating, especially on a cool midwinter day.

DAY 3:

I will call this the day to "visit all the other places before shooting back to Bangkok".


This has to be the most satisfying new find in Khaoyai. It's not the most straightforward location, but please take the trouble to spend a casual morning here if you can spare the time. I wish I had the stomach to try their food to give you a more complete review, now I can only say that the drinks are decent.

Finally found it.

Please Don't Tell Khaoyai

Colourful drinks served on the longest coffeebar I have ever seen.


One of those places where I got highly-polarising reviews from friends. Again, we didn't dine here. The chocolate wafer lollies we bought for the kids were quite a delight though.

Christmas spirit still very much alive deep into the first week of January.
Right when the clock strikes 12 noon, millions of little bubbles are dispensed from a couple of bubble machines in the open area outside. It's a pleasant surprise for adults and children alike.



This is one of the interesting choices of accomodation in Khao Yai. But if you do not stay here, you must visit especially during the weekend. 

The Birder's Lodge Weekend Farmer's Market.
I will most definitely come by again, even if it's just for the weekend Farmer's Market. It's not a big place, but some of the produce I managed to get my hands on, I have never seen in Bangkok.

A surprisingly-good crowd at the market.
Just some of the produce that might only be found exclusively here.

I have been told the cafe is good, but it was simply too crowded that day for 21 of us, so we moved on. This will not be the last you see of me here.

Grand Finale: Dairy Home Farm Shop

Dairy Home is one of the most popular milk brands among expat mums in Bangkok, as they produce organic milk from grass-fed cows.

Sky turned gloomy when we got here.
Tree house that made the kids really really happy.
Unless you are buying milk in gallons, don't expect to get a bargain even though you have traveled the distance. 

Must-eat in Khao Yai!
Instead, don't leave without their excellent ice-cream, which was lauded as Haagen Daz-quality by one of my companions. 2 scoops plus any one of their cute cups will set you back only by 80THB. In terms of price vs quality, this could be the best ice cream deal in Thailand.

***********

Phew! This post is quite epic isn't it. For those who are still scratching their heads wondering why I didn't recommend any restaurants throughout the post, I have to tell you the truth. After a long thought process I decided to leave them out, as they were one disappointment after another. I can only assume they are still suffering from the new year hangover to make myself feel better.

All in all, I believe you can see for yourself that Khao Yai is more than worth a trip. Just manage your expectations, because while the hardware here might be world-class, the software, be it service standards, food quality etc., still has a long way to go before Khao Yai can become the ideal getaway location.

That said, no place is perfect. Let's embrace Khao Yai as it is. Hope you will find this year's winter getaway instalment useful for your future travels.

PS. I live in Thailand, thus I am lucky enough to have my own car to travel in Khao Yai. I am afraid I will not be able to help you with van/car rental contacts, should you need any. Apologies in advance and thanks for your kind understanding.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Melaka/Malacca 2D1N Foodie Trip for Beginners (with kids)

Last week, I made one of the most spontaneous road-trips ever with my sister-in-law's family to Melaka over the new year weekend. There were many risks involved, as we had oldies (my mum's generation), first-time traveler (8-month old baby), a rainy end-of-year and potential jams at the causeway to contend with but we just went ahead anyway, and you know, sometimes the best things come along when you don't think about them. It proved to be quite a trip. It's amazing how 2 families can draw so much closer after just 2D1N together.


Melaka is a UNESCO Heritage Town 3-hours drive north of Singapore, thus there is lots of history to explore and experience. However, with 3 kids who cannot appreciate architecture and museums in tow (the oldest being a ripe old age of 5), the trip technically became a simple staycation for everyone to relax and some sort of a food hunt.

The breakfast area of Puri Hotel, which looks and feels exactly like the little gardens in Europe.
In the usual spirit of the Stranger in Bangkok, I will only share the locations which I have personally experienced. They might not be the best restaurants, but they are the fruit of research and recommendations from more experienced travelers, so bear with me as I share the restaurants I visited during my Melaka Foodie Trip for Beginners (with kids).

PERANAKAN FOOD: KOCIK KITCHEN

Many friends/relatives who visited Melaka recently warned me that the Peranakan food there is very underwhelming. When I arrived, I was quite stunned to see Peranakan restaurants literally everywhere. It is just impossible to know which to go to. We settled with Kocik Kitchen as it's just a stone's throw away from our hotel and was highly-recommended by a friendly auntie working our hotel's front-desk.

Just a small part of our spread.
Surprisingly, the food was pretty good, in fact it's the favourite meal of the senior member of our party. We went with the set meal for 5pax, and I particularly loved the pineapple curry shrimp and the chicken braised in fermented soy beans (which was sadly not pictured at all). The desserts were the most outstanding. I don't think I will enjoy another chendol anytime soon.



CAFE: THE DAILY FIX CAFE

If anyone here is waiting eagerly for inspiration for a #cafehopping trip, I'm sorry, I can't even say I visited a cafe. We wanted to, but despite the rain, it proved to be an impossible wait for a seat at The Daily Fix Cafe. A group with a 8-month old and a fixed lunch reservation will struggle to wait an hour-and-a-half in unexpected weather. The beauty of the place and its incredible popularity convinced us to pack some drinks and cakes back to the hotel. We are looking forward to revisiting it already to finally try the Pandan Pancakes.

[First Impressions] The Daily Fix Cafe Even though it was the last Sunday of the year, we thought we could get lucky at this popular cafe as it was raining. Alas! There were 10 groups in the queue before us and even taking away the famous pandan pancakes would result in a half an hour wait. Rough luck then, but we managed to take away 3 cakes that were readily available in their display, as well as some drinks. Durian cake was really nice, brownie moist and satisfying too. Drinks were good, not great, the only let-down was the generic ice cream that came with the brownie. My brief encounter with the cafe convinced me that they have done most things right and deserve their success, hope to be able to taste their menu offerings proper next time. #thedailyfix #thedailyfixcafe #jonkerstreet #melaka #melakafoodies #melakacafehopping #cuppa #strangerinmelaka #strangerfirstimpressionmelaka
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SEAFOOD: RESTORAN TONG SHENG

The most memorable part of this expedition was the queue. We waited 2.5 hours to get a table. If not for the comfortable cafe nearby which allowed the girls, the old and young to chill the wait away, I don't think we would have survived. The review of this restaurant did not come easy.

It's not that the food's not good. Dishes like cheese beehoon and cream crab are uber creative and didn't taste too shabby, but I really can't imagine waiting so long for them again.

If you are interested, I recommend you to try calling in to make a reservation days beforehand, it might save you a lot of time.



NYONYA CAKES: BABA CHARLIE NYONYA CAKE

This place divides opinion, some say it's the best while others didn't want to take another bite after their first. Truth be told, I only ate 4 out of the huge assortment of nyonya snacks I bought, and hit the jackpot twice. The ondeh-ondeh and nyonya rice dumplings were both exquisite, but the layer cake was quite disappointing.

Then again, with its interesting setting, variety of cakes and convenient take-away model, I still recommend it as a perfect place to pack some Nyonya cake back before you leave Melaka.

[Nyonya Kueh in Melaka] Baba Charlie Nyonya Cake This is basically just a house that sells nyonya cake, but you can consider it your one-stop shop for all you nyonya cake cravings in Melaka. I recommend you go early as it's very popular and only opens till 3pm. I went just before lunch and many items seemed to be running low, though I don't know whether the trays will be refilled. I did not try all the cakes, so I can't tell you conclusively how good all the cakes were. I highly recommend the ondeh ondeh and nyonya rice dumplings, they are excellent. Didn't fancy the layer cakes so much as they were harder and drier than what I am used to. Everything felt more old-school than exquisite, which is actually a good thing. All in all, though, a must-visit I feel, to take some traditions of Melaka home at the end of your trip. #babacharlie #nyonyacake #nyonyakuih #strangerinmelaka #melakafoodies #melaka #malacca
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SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST: TEO SOON LOONG  RESTAURANT

This Teochew-cuisine institution that used to have only 4 tables is so famous that they now mostly only take reservations, so it's not a place where you can make a last-minute decision to dine at, even if you are ready to queue.

Lots of dishes hit the spot here, especially the hard-to-find stir-fried meesua and the seductively-herbal braised duck. The fried shrimp roll is also one of the best renditions of this common dish I had ever eaten.

[First Impressions] 潮顺隆餐馆 Teo Soon Loong Restaurant Someone told me this is the best restaurant in Melaka. They are so popular they usually do reservations only, with 2 seatings per meal. We booked our table during the 2nd seating for lunch at 1.30pm. While waiting for our table to be prepared, our order was taken and the food was served promptly upon seating. I loved a few dishes, especially the stirfried meesua and herbal braised duck. The fried shrimp roll too, was excellent, full of succulent, crunchy huge sea shrimp. What everyone orders is their fried noodles with oyster. Some of my companions liked it, I felt it was ok, fell a little short of my expectations as it was a little fishy and lacked wok hei. Our order of stir-fried bittergourd with eggs was wrongly written as the braised bittergourd with pork ribs, which happened to be their signature dish. I liked it very much. As this is a traditional teochew restaurant, we had to order their steamed fish. It was light, fresh and tangy. Best restaurant in Melaka? Maybe. It certainly didn't disappoint. #潮顺隆 #teosoonloongrestaurant #melakafoodies #strangerfirstimpressionmelaka #strangerinmelaka #teochewcuisine #teochew #teosoonloong
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BONUS LOCATION: MAMEE JONKER HOUSE

This is for big boys like me, who might have grown up munching this crunchy noodle snack. This place evokes memories buried deep down inside and sells exclusive merchandise that are both happily-coloured and of good quality. Conveniently-located right on Jonker Street, you can't miss it.

Mamee and #thekawayiis
SUMMARY:

Melaka feels like a place doing its best to keep its charming identity, but is gradually overwhelmed by an increasing number of tourists over the years.

A lot of the food from the most popular places tasted good, but somehow I felt that given more focus and time, they would have done a much better job,which I assume they did many years ago. It felt more like enjoying potentially-excellent dishes than eating great food.

What I appreciated most is that the service staff in Melaka stand out as friendly and approachable even if most of them are drowning in their work, and that even though there are way too many visitors, most of the tourists are from Malaysia/Singapore, which thankfully keeps the local character of this little town.

Do make a trip there before even more undesirable changes happen. If I can do it with such a big group, you can too.

PS. You can easily access all this information on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #strangerinmelaka. I would love to hear from you if you do manage to visit some of these recommended locations.






Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A different kind of Father's Day

For those who don't know, the 3rd Sunday of June is not Father's Day in Thailand. Thais celebrate their fathers together with the birthday of the recently-deceased King Rama IX on the 5th of December (I guess it's appropriate that they did not change the day despite his passing).

As a result, we often celebrate Father's/Mother's Day twice a year here, following both the international and Thai occasions, because being a parent engulfs the lives of my wife and I completely every single day. I actually look forward to Father's Day most of the time, because it seems like a celebration of the one job I feel I might excel the most at (I do not know others who have watched me up close will agree or not). I find it a reason to do something nice for myself, to give myself a pat on my own back.

This year feels different. Circumstances that led up to this day have been quite sobering. It is more like a reminder that I cannot and should not take being a father for granted. It is a blessing and yet a huge responsibility.

It has been a tough year. Work has consumed me more than ever in Thailand. I am one year into what people consider the best 10 years of a man's life. Coincidentally, I feel a window opening up to push my company to brand new heights, albeit a small one that will not be there for long. It's now or never. I have a team in my office waiting for inspiration everyday from one they see as their leader. I have a supportive boss who I cannot disappoint. I have understanding family members in Singapore and Malaysia who I have neglected. Friends - let's not even go there.

Things have not been plain-sailing (but can they ever be?). Nothing has gone to plan this year. Stuff that have actually yielded decent results were achieved in the most laboured roundabout ways, others are still not right despite monstrous efforts to do so. Things that have gone wrong always seem to have been my fault somehow or another, whether at home or out.

Back to being a father. I wasn't supposed to even be in Bangkok to celebrate Father's Day this year, but I am. A lot of poor decisions initiated by yours truly caused this, and I have nowhere to hide. I have been abruptly-reminded that we cannot take something like fatherhood for granted. Sometimes we are too used to the daily routine that defines us, that we forget what it takes to play our roles well. It takes a lot of disappointments, sacrifice and decisiveness to be the leader of the house. It's just as well that I am here, because this is a time my family needs me the most. This Father's Day is not the time for celebration but a moment for the father to show up.

And then, there's this:

My girl made this from school. XOXO

And a brilliant walk at the magnificent Suan Luang R.9 Park

I finally enjoyed a couple of nights of really, really good uninterrupted sleep.

My wife is making me breakfast as I am typing this. The fragrance is irresistible. Can't wait to tuck in.

Life is good.

Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Could this be the last Goodbye?

This morning, as usual, I helped Noah put on his bag straps and asked him to go to his classroom by himself.

I planted a kiss on his cheek in the accompaniment of a tribute song for King Rama 9 (I haven't gotten bored of the songs yet btw), playing in the background. It's been like this for best part of a year, as the entire country prepares to bid farewell to their father figure tomorrow. This could be the last morning I hear this song in school.

As I watched Noah walk away from me, it was hard not to feel emotional.

For as long as I can remember, I have been waking up every morning, preparing things properly in order to say goodbye to my family. First, my wife, then my son, and finally my daughter, before zooming away into my 'enviable' alone time to fight battles that my family will never know took place.

One of our frequent wefies on the way to school, pictures I hold dearly to my heart.

Noah turned back one last time and waved to me.

What if this was the last goodbye?



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Follow the Chef: Pongcharn Russell, young man aiming for the Top

If you are following my Facebook and Instagram feeds, you will realise that I have been frequenting a restaurant called Freebird. It has a menu that combines brilliantly, comfort food with dishes you can only find in fine-dining establishments, at an impeccably-designed space which gives customers no rules at all, meaning I can go there in my berms and slippers, little kids in tow, and still feel welcome.

That said, foodie friends tell me they didn't like the food at all when Freebird just opened, and all these improvements (in the food) were recent, after the promotion of a certain young sous chef to take over the kitchen, and this man is the Pongcharn Russell, more amicably known as "Top".


Incredibly, Top just turned 27 (he's almost a whopping decade younger than me), it baffles belief how someone so young can cook so well and seamlessly take over (and improve) an entire kitchen. It turns out that Top has already been cooking for 10 years (even I, being so much older, cannot consider myself to have honed a specific craft for that long), at various Michelin-starred restaurants in London (Pearl and Sketch) under the tutelage of household names like Alexis Gauthier, Jun Tanaka, Jason Atherton and most notably the legendary Pierre Gagnaire. And all of a sudden, the excellent food he churns out doesn't feel so unbelievable anymore.

Last week, he showed off his full artillery on his first ever personal showcase as head chef during a one-night-only special dinner, and even though my table-full of industry experts were all nodding their heads in unison at most of his dishes, I personally felt that he was capable of doing much better in more than one of them. That's how highly I regard him.


Culinary skills aside, the trait I appreciate most about Top is his willingness to share. I cook at home myself, a lot. Whenever I need suggestions, I will ask him because I know he will always come up with useful advice. I strongly feel that for anyone to rise to the next level in any craft/job, one must open his/her heart and be willing teach, train and share. This is the only way up-and-coming juniors can improve and take over what you do, releasing you to take up bigger better things. At a ripe young age, Top has already achieved this, and that is why I feel he is able to take care of a full kitchen team that's made up mostly of staff older than him.


The picture which I feel most represents Top, showing his team how things are done.
So, Foodies in Bangkok, keep this name in mind, Pongcharn Russell aka Top. Go try his food, follow his IG account (he shares a lot about his dishes and how he came up with them) because as his name suggests, he's on the up and destined for the top.



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"Follow the Chef" is a new blog series where I sit down face to face with chefs and help them tell you what they want to say, in their perspective. My inspiration for this series stems from the fast-changing dining landscape in Bangkok, which is both exciting yet confusing for consumers like us. Do we follow the restaurants, or follow the chefs? I hope I can help you make a better decision.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Birthday Letters from Daddy: Ellie is 3!

Big Brother more excited than birthday girl
3 years on, sometimes it still feels like a dream that you are among us. 

Daddy grew up in a family full of boys. I have never understood how it feels to have a little girl in my house. Little girls are pretty, sweet and angelic isn't it? Well, you have proven to be all of that and more.

Unlike your brother, who considers his every action carefully, you are a little daredevil with no care in the world. He spent a best part of 2 years crying in the morning when I send him to school, you protested for hardly 2 weeks, and you barely even look at me when I leave you every morning. So independent, yet so close to Daddy's heart. Whenever I slump at the front door, dejected, you will always appear to give me some hugs, as if you knew I really needed them.


情人United!
If you can turn into a little genie and be so kind to grant Daddy 3 wishes, first, I wish you will be less picky with your food and start eating more fruits and vegetables. The world of food is so amazing, and your Daddy is spending much of his free time telling the world how fascinating food in Bangkok can be. It disheartens me sometimes to see my little girl rejecting almost every green thing on the plate.

Noah joins in!
Secondly, I wish you will be kind to Noah in all situations. I know he's possessive and sensitive and drives us crazy sometimes, but he wouldn't even think of hurting you. Those screams, shrieks, pushes and scratches are totally unnecessary. Your big brother loves you to bits. Remember, he will be the one who will accompany you for the best part of your life, not Daddy.

I am in love with this picture. Credit: Aroimakmak
Last but not least, I hope you will continue to love Mummy with all your heart. Since the day you were born, Mummy has given nothing but her very best for you, 24 hours a day, everyday. I have not seen her make a decision that doesn't have your well-being as the ultimate priority. Love mummy, make life easier for her. That's the least she deserves. 

I shall not use any of those wishes on myself because you are already perfect. The untidy free-spirit hidden under the covers of your flowy dresses. The sweet, considerate darling bursting out of Noah's boyish old outfits. You delight and surprise me at the same time.

I love you Ellie, you complete our family with all of your kiddy witty ways. I hope you stay healthy, happy and free of worry. 

Happy birthday.

Love,
Daddy


Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Nicest Durian Vendor in Thailand!

Today, I am going to talk about the most misunderstood local fruit in Thailand - the durian.


Honestly, growing up eating durians from Malaysia, I was a hater as well, but after many years here, I gradually realised that things are not what we make it out to be. Firstly, we need to accept that local palates are not the same as ours. For example, I wouldn't walk into MK to have their hotpot even if you beg me to, but last I checked, they have 433 branches in Thailand, so who am I to say they don't know their stuff?

Giving another example, 5 years ago, I brought my staff to Singapore for a business trip. He spent some time scrutinizing some pre-packed durians which were sold for 10SGD per pack. He then looked at me with a perplexed face, "Eddie, why do they sell these durians so expensive? They are rotten." This came from a Thai man on his first-ever overseas trip, and ate Thai durians for 31 years.

I gradually understood that the difference (note that I didn't use the word problem) lies in the fact that Thai durians, unlike Malaysian durians which fall from the tree, are harvested way before they are ripe. That's the way Thais like it, unripe durians with a slight crunch, just mildly sweet and doesn't smell pungent (there is only a light smell when you chew). 

However, trust me when I say that Thai durians are sweet and creamy when they are fully-ripe too! Thai durians have been misunderstood, because even for our palates, they are very respectable taste-wise when ripe. The most commonly-found Monthong is sweet and creamy, but less rich and bitter compared to the most popular variants in Malaysia. It does taste a little boring, so if you are looking for a Thai cultivar that tastes closer to what we are used to in Malaysia/Singapore, go for Chanee or Puang Manee. I haven't tasted Kan Yaaw before to give a verdict on it.

All said and done, I must admit I have faced difficulty explaining my preferences to durian vendors in Thailand. Like us, they completely misunderstand our durians as over-ripe to the point of being rotten. I have even been spoken to with an air of disbelief and contempt by durian vendors when I explained the kind of durian I wanted. Why can't we just agree to disagree and get on with life?

That's why I got so inspired to write this piece after meeting the nicest ever durian vendor last week (I featured a taxi driver too here). He didn't understand why I wanted 'over-ripe' durians, but opened durian after durian after durian in search of one that's most suitable for me, telling me not to worry and he's not going to charge for the ones I rejected. 

Such nice people!


The nicest durian vendor in Bangkok and maybe Thailand!

It got to the point that I asked him politely to stop, and purchased the ripest one of the lot. The durian was not perfect of course, but for me it was the tastiest sweetest durian I had ever eaten.

Oh, if you have never seen a Thai durian vendor break a durian apart, it is quite a sight (watch video below).




Disclaimer: I was tempted to do a thorough research on Thai durians online before writing this, but decided not to, and share what I personally feel about durians in Thailand through my years of personal experience. If there are any inaccuracies, let me know in the comments!
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