holiday

YumNua Yang, ยำเนื้อย่าง Thai beef salad

Thai beef salad recipe with authentic aromatic flavours and an enticing complexity of sweet, sour, spice and heat combined with grilled marinated meat. This dish is one of our family & friends favourites.

Quick and easy to prepare, serve the salad as a starter for lunch or as a side with other complimentary dishes together as Thai dinner theme. The recipe as always retrieved from my memory vault with all the ingredients and steps but no good food photographs.

I couldn’t have a better excuse to make this dish today. Usually, as soon as the dish arrives at the table it disappears to late to make any snapshots. Prepping the dish received much enthusiasm of my better half he replied: “Somebody got to eat happily to help :-)”.

The family loves salad and Thai beef salad ranks on top of all time favourites in our house. We actually moved and lived in Asia for more than a decade. Taiwan became our second home but Thailand was very close sharing the same position, both destinations were foodies paradise.

Thailand

I visited Thailand for the very first time by invitation to come along with friends. My husband couldn’t accompany me so my sister joined as a travel companion. We both thoroughly enjoyed our sister’s holiday and Thai cuisine.

Of the many dishes we devoured, YumNua Yang a.k.a. Yum Neua was among the first plates of much more to come. We re-visited Thailand on many more occasions travelling through all the regions. The roadside street food stalls, night food markets or restaurants beautiful plated and served local style.

The heart of this dish must be a good piece of beef, sirloin or steak cut. Cheaper cuts like a skirt or flank steak after grilling let it rest (10min.) before cutting. Next is the authentic fresh made dressing of fish sauce, garlic, bird’s eye chilli, palm sugar, lime juice, coriander, Thai/Chinese celery. Mint and lemongrass (optional).

marinated pan-fried rib eye steak

marinated pan-fried rib-eye steak

Thai flavours

To create Thai flavours, you have to look at the ingredients and some of them just can’t be ignored or simply substituted, the basis is fish sauce, just buy a small bottle don’t think for a minute to easily replace this with vinegar or soy sauce.

Vinegar only has acidity no umami (savoury taste/flavour), I love soy sauce but it will not do justice to this dish, same counts for palm sugar if you don’t have then rather use brown or cane sugar it adds more depth than white sugar.

Lime or lemon juice it is just a subtle contrast but when you grate the rind it will release essential oils, the scent enables you to tell and smell the difference. Coriander is an essential herb as is celery and lemongrass add fragrance to the whole dish bringing it all together to the next level.

They are actually irreplaceable if left out everyone will notice something is missing even while you have a good steak on your plate. The dressing needs to have the complexity of sweet, sour, spice, heat and fragrance to make YumNua or leave it bland and that would put the dish to shame.

In this recipe, I have marinated the meat beforehand it is worth the wait and effort to add this step, use a bit of fish sauce with black and white pepper and a dash of Chinese cooking wine (optional).

YumNua Yang ยำเนื้อย่าง Thai Beef Salad

You will find the recipe in the recipe box here below, enjoy this wonderful dish. Try and enjoy your own home-made YumNua Yang, Thai beef salad!

YumNua Thai Beef Salad ingredients

YumNua Thai Beef Salad ingredients

Update 20th June 2017

With every summer this recipe is trending on our Instagram and FB Page as a popular recipe easy to make and enjoy. For dieters following Keto, Paleo diet based on LCHF or Type 2 diabetes  this dish is perfect with the following dietary adjustments.

In Thai cooking Palm sugar is often used and advertised with health claims having low glycemic index, however, this does not directly apply for sweeteners. For Bulletproof fans “Coconut palm sugar is not Bulletproof period“, click the link for a post by guru David Asprey.

I recommend Lakanto all natural sweetener, a product of Chinese Luo Han Guo aka monk fruit sugar to replace standard sugar.

Monk Fruit or Luo Han Guo (Siraitia Grosvenorii) is a rare perennial plant cultivated mainly in the mountains of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China. Unlike most fruits, whose sweetness comes from fructose, Monks Fruit’s sweetness comes from natural mogrosides that are 300 times sweeter than sugar. Modern research shows that Monk Fruit extract does not elevate blood sugar or insulin. These fruits are powerful antioxidants and contain no calories

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the healing properties have been known for centuries. Luo Han Guo is native to southern China and northern Thailand.

You can easily buy this fruit in dried powdered form at larger Asian supermarkets and fresh when the season arrives, they are exported and available for a short period to eat or use the fruit in cooking.


Shingen-ko Samurai Festival travel to Japan

Every year, the Shingen-ko Festival celebrates the legacy of Yamanashi’s famous warlord, Takeda Shingen, with the roars of samurai and folks people, delicious food and materials at stands around the station and the castle park with cherry blossoms in full bloom, and a variety of stage shows and performances!

Unrivalled view of the past, before Shingen’s army, headed off to battle more than 1,600 infantrymen from all over his domain would gather and march through the streets of Kofu. If you have travel plans or searching for information for your itinerary, bookmark this event to visit during Spring time in combination with many other Cherry Blossom events.

Shingen-ko Samurai Festival Photo credit: Yamanashi-kankou

Shingen-ko Samurai Festival
Source courtesy and Photo credit: Yamanashi-kankou

This year’s festival will be held from April 4th to 6th. The main highlight is the Koshu Battalion Deployment, which is World’s largest re-enactment of warriors. Around 1,600 locals dress in traditional samurai and commence on a march around Kofu.

For more information visit the official Tourism website of Mount Fuji in Yamanashi prefecture “Home of Mt. Fuji”; sightseeing website, information on festivals, culture & Resorts Hot Spring resorts.

Map photo credits: www.mustlovejapan.com

Map photo credits: www.mustlovejapan.com

 

Tripadvisor NL 300x600

This is by far the most popular samurai festival in Japan. The participants spend the entire year practising for their roles in this event that imitate the battle of Kawanakajima. The armour was worn and the equipment carried is spectacular and accurate. This event would probably be the most recommended event to witness, especially for anyone interested in Japanese samurai culture and Takeda Shingen. The festival is held by Takeda Shrine. To help plan your itinerary and ideas for sightseeing, places to visit, things-to-do visit the video travel guide to Japan; Watch Japan in Motion by Must Love Japan.

To get more ideas for suggested itineraries try Japan the official guide as another source to help to find your destinations or just for more insights all mentioned websites are in English. Visiting Japanese Onsen is a relaxing must and absolute worth to consider and plan as a destination,  Japan the official guide has a listed overview of all Hot Springs here.

Traveltip Chinatowns in The Netherlands

Lonely Planet published in travel tips and articles category, some of the World’s best Chinatowns. The Netherlands most famous Chinatown is located in the former Red Light district of capital city Amsterdam, a major tourist attraction for decades. Amsterdam is also featured in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel: Top Ten Cities.

If your making plans to book a holiday to Europe, come and visit have a glance at what the City offers in promising upcoming cultural events and more. Click this link of “I Amsterdam” and download the Amsterdam 2013 Newsletter for news and Programme highlights.

Amsterdam renowned for its creativity and innovation – photo copyright ©IAmsterdam

Important events to watch:
People and their historic houses tells us more about their culture, this theme will be central to the World Interiors Event 2013 “Past, Present and Future of Interiors”

While here visit Den Haag, Chinatown in The Hague take a peek at this album of Chinatown Den Haag website. It has followed the example of Chinatown London with a Chinese Gate. A significant entrance of Chinatown connecting directly with The Hague City Centre shopping area and historical sights for leisurely strolls. It has many events during the week and weekends to visit and engage, lots of top attractions, landmarks and tours. I recommend to sign up for the guided tour at famously Binnenhof where the Dutch Prime-Minister resides in the turret at the corner of the Hofvijver. For a concise overview of sightseeing highlights read the info on the holland-hotel link.

Renowned port of Rotterdam saw its first Chinatown located in Katendrecht which in local slang was called “de Kaap“. An initiative instigated by the celebration of the 100-year presence of Chinese in Dutch society saw Erika Blikman and Yuen Han Lam teaming up. Together they brought a young group of enthusiast designers, artist and cultural professionals together, with the ambition in 2011 starting  China op de Kaap (website is only Dutch yet, but gives a clear view featuring an ongoing program). The project received overwhelming enthusiasm and support, de Kaap now represents an eclectic mix of arts and heritage of Chinese community set up by first immigrants arriving in this neighbourhood.

De Westkruiskade is located in Rotterdam city centre and conveniently near Central Station, due to the neglect of city planning in the past Katendrecht saw most of its proprietors move out due to loss of business customers and visitors. New entrepreneurs started their business closer to the city with a new Chinatown named Kruiskade, however it is delusive next to Chinese this neighbourhood also includes Dutch, Antillian, Suriname and African residents with many Oriental shops, restaurants and supermarkets catering to multi-cultural shoppers and attracting visitors on City day-trips.

Enjoy great Chinese and other Asian cuisines in Chinatowns explore Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. Discover these Cities and have a great time with their offerings!

Note: Featured image source Chinatown Den Haag copyright ©Arnhem.nl

Boon Guer eatery Al Fresco

While relaxing your days at the beach or sightseeing you might consider to visit the local Thepprasit Night Market, just hop on one of the local transport Songtel bus-taxi (song=two and tel=benches). They will drive and drop at the intersection where the street begins for transfer. From this corner (near bus station & Foodland Market) it is still a long stretch so this is where you switch over to another Songtel, or if you like the exercise it’s about 5km walk (could easily be more).

However on the left side about 30mtrs from the corner is “Boon Guer” a very good local casual food place located with a garden/al fresco kind of dining, as soon as you sit down they will bring over fans to cool you down. Instead of me pronouncing it wrongly, thought it might be best to post a picture of their neon street signboard easy to find and use.

Authentic Thai food restaurant

 
We’ve frequently enjoyed our dinners here it still services the same quality as our very first visit. We brought company along friends who decided to join us on this trip to get up close and personal encountering Thai flavours and hospitality. Alas too much chilli and not yet settled, they took it down a notch however Thai food is not always spicy, so we ordered different dishes easy on the palate and tummy. The menu; stir-fried Chicken with Cashew, minced meat with Thai fragrant basil, Dou-Fu soup with glass noodle, stir-fried greens with oyster sauce and we were waiting for our steamed Fish in Lemon Sauce. It is their dedicated fish and seafood preparation where they have build a solid reputation on, loyal customers even us holiday visitors keep coming back for more.

Thai-style stir-fried dishes and dou-fu soup

 
Well this picture doesn’t need any under-script, another “Happy Meal” with cheerful dinners!

Enjoying another Thai dinner

Nongmaii beach Pattaya

Nongmaii Beach Cafe

Pattaya Bay is located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, about 165 km southeast of Bangkok, a beach resort popular with tourists and expatriates. Pattaya an ordinary small fishing village, it all changed during the 60’s when American servicemen arrived during the Vietnamese War for rest and relaxation, changing life forever as in sin-city. While wiki pages states it developed into a family-orientated seaside destination it wasn’t until some legal action was undertaken to enforce changes in the sex industry and child prostitution. The Government is now re-branding Pattaya with a master plan as mentioned in the  NewYork Times post in 2010 A Thai City of Sleaze Tries to Clean Up by Thomas Fuller. The sex industry is still at large but with the growing wider exposure of foreigners and locals exposed in illicit affairs, the government is undertaking action to make changes for the better.

As a visitor I do share a critical view of sex tourism in Thailand, will write post in a separate entry. For now I’d like to share my positive observations visiting friends and places we have patronized over the years and still experiencing unwavering Thai hospitality. This and following posts will be about vacation in Pattaya as we have come to known and like it.

Pattaya Boulevard is located central with a very popular small stretch of Beach with at one end the infamous Walking Street. On the very opposite side south of the Bay you will find Jomtien Beach both well known spots, with Dongtan Beach centred in the middle being closed off for cars. Ideal for joggers along the beach or on the pavement visited by beach guests, strollers and bicyclists. Away from the noisy centre it’s not as crazy over crowded like popular tourist spots can be.

While still being popular it is quiet, last few years coastal area business has seen quite a dip due to environmental problems, political and economical unrest. Pattaya’s view changed too by rapidly build constructions, condo’s and many high-rise towers all along coastal line. Without increase of sales potential, lack of tenants or buyers most housing remain unoccupied instead becoming concrete walls of what once was lush greens.

Nongmaii beach residents

But some things and spots remain the same, such as Nongmaii Beach Cafe. Introduced by friends more than a decade ago we keep coming back for outstanding service, the warm hospitality by the proprietor Mrs. Latana’s family and her helpfull staff. This is a great place to relax, chat, occasionally keep beach office as I like to do while observing local wildlife big and small. These chipmunks have been entertaing us during our Autumn stay just before high season starts here.

Office at Dongtan Beach