Have returned from a couple of nights on Doi Tung, a mountain of the Thai-Burmese border, where there is a royal project focusing on improving the lives, or livelihoods, of the ethnic minority peoples who call the mountain home. Friends are there, working with the schools, and they took care of our eating needs during our visit. And oh, what a contrast to the execrable Whole Earth restaurant that was!
The first night they took us to a restaurant that had formerly been a rehabilitation centre for opium addicts, overlooking a brightly lit Burmese town, though our eyes were more often on the stunning harvest moon that night. And the food was extraordinarily good, made from the freshest ingredients, many, I suspect, organic produce from the project. But there’s a problem for me in trying to say what we ate, regrettably, ‘cos so much is unfamiliar … one memorable dish, though, was fritters, crisp exterior, creamy interior, made primarily from pumpkin tendrils & tofu, with a plum sauce on the side. Another, rounds of translucent marrow stuffed with minced pork.
It’s not necessary to travel to this relatively remote spot to eat well, however. There’s also a restaurant at the Doi Tung centre, where we ate several times. Unprepossessing appearance, and distinctly ordinary breakfasts, but then American breakfasts are pretty unexciting affairs at the best of times. The Thai food, however, was very very good. A couple of dishes … thinly sliced pumpkin, pieces about the size of a memory card, with egg … tender pieces of chicken with macadamia nuts, produce of the project. All these dishes new to me, and so terribly good. We were fortunate, of course, to have our meals ordered for us by someone who knows Thai food … Perhaps others wouldn’t have quite the same experience. But I’d happily return to Doi Tung. Tomorrow. A beautiful spot, even without the food to recommend it.