Streetside quan oc shellfish and seafood in Ho Chi Minh City

Food, Vietnam

It was the basket of as yet unshucked oysters that caught my attention as we walked along a busy side street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s chaotic southern metropolis. Then I saw a granny perched on a tiny stool at the edge of the pavement, grilling various shellfish. Finally, I noticed the crowd of […]

Food Porn: Nasi Lemak

Evergreen, Food, Food Porn, Malaysia

This Malaysian breakfast staple is a favourite at traditional kopi tiam Chinese-style coffee shops – think rendang curry, coconut and pandan infused rice and plenty of crisp and crunchy accompaniments.

Food Porn: Somtum Hoy Dong

Bangkok, Evergreen, Food, Food Porn, Thailand

Another one to make your gut turn, if you’re so inclined. This papaya salad variety is a new favourite of mine, and I love it for its sweetness – but that comes not from palm sugar, as is the case with a bog standard somtum thai, but instead from the fermented cockles that are packed […]

Eight varieties of somtum papaya salad you just HAVE to try

Evergreen, Food, Food, Thailand

I admit it, I’m addicted to somtum. This ultra-spicy concoction, a salad of shredded papaya, fish sauce, a copious amount of chilli and a whole host of other ingredients depending on the type, is an assault on the senses hailing from the Isaan region of northeast Thailand and undoubtedly the national dish beyond all national […]

Food Porn: Gaeng Om Gob

Evergreen, Food, Food, Food Porn, Thailand

Go on, be a daredevil. You won’t find this exact bowl of gaeng om gob on the street because it was homemade just for me, but any Isaan food stall worth its salt will be able to whip you one up. It’s a herby soup from the northeast of Thailand loaded with dill (and chilli, […]

Bangkok’s best pad thai

Bangkok, Evergreen, Food, Food, Thailand

It’s not often that I rave about pad thai. That’s partly because, as a dish, it is over-hyped outside of Thailand to such an extent that you would be forgiven for thinking that it’s all the Thais eat, or that’s it the national dish. It’s not – in my view, that accolade easily goes to […]

Ice cream worth crossing Bangkok for

Bangkok, Evergreen, Food, Food, Thailand

There are some things worth a long bus ride across a city, and I include a bowl of awesome ice cream in that list. That’s exactly what I did at the weekend, having tried and failed on previous occasions to find Nuttaporn Ice Cream – which I’d been led to believe was close by to […]

A week in Instagram shots

Photo Essays

  Happy Wednesday! Here are a few shots from the last week or so, straight from my ridiculously overly-food-obsessed Instagram feed (follow me @chriswotton)

Food Porn: Gaeng Hed

Bangkok, Evergreen, Food, Food, Food Porn, Thailand

Gaeng hed is a death-willingly spicy, sour and citrus-infused soup laced with a variety of mushrooms, lemongrass, galangal and a heap of other fresh herbs, spices and leafy greens. It’s a taste of Isaan food you won’t forget in a hurry.

Mae Klong: Guide

Day Trips, Evergreen, Markets, Temples, Thailand, Travel Guides

  Samut Songkhram may be Thailand’s smallest province, but it sure packs in the punches. Yet despite being full of attractions genuinely befitting the tags ‘Amazing Thailand’ and ‘Unseen Thailand’, it rarely figures on the average tourist’s itinerary. In fact, an editorial in Thai Ways Magazine frustratingly dismisses the province, known locally as Mae Klong […]

Food Porn: Namtok Moo

Evergreen, Food, Food, Food Porn

Namtok moo, commonly enjoyed with other Isaan dishes like papaya salad and grilled chicken, is a mix of grilled pork, mint, spring onions, roasted rice and lime juice. A zingy and totally addictive treat!

Food Porn: Kanom Jeen Nam Prik

Evergreen, Food, Food Porn, Thailand

  Kanom jeen are Chinese rice noodles, served over a curry soup usually made with lots of creamy coconut milk. My favourite is nam prik, deliciously sweet with the distinct taste of satay sauce. Load it with fresh vegetables and enjoy – expect to pay around 30 baht for a regular eat-in portion. You can find […]

3 spots to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand

In Bangkok this Valentine’s and stuck for somewhere to wine and dine your loved one – or the one you want? Avoid the overhyped and overpriced hotel packages; here are 3 great ways to spend a romantic evening in the Thai capital. Steve Café & Cuisine This cute spot on the banks of the Chao […]

Food Porn: Khao Mok Gai

Evergreen, Food, Food Porn, Thailand

  Say hello to one of my favourite Thai dishes – khao mok gai. This southern dish, best described as a Thai version of a biryani, is made up of a hunk of chicken, beef or lamb, slowly marinated in a rich blend of spices including cinnamon, turmeric and bay leaves. The meat, ideally on […]

Food Porn: Kanom Tuay

Evergreen, Food, Food Porn, Photo Essays, Thailand

These coconutty parcels of deliciousness are without a doubt my all-time favourite Thai dessert. With a layer of sweet coconut milk and another layer of thicker, chewier, coconut cream, they are often also made with pandan leaves for extra flavour and a tinge of green. Sugary and sweet, they hit the spot every time. I […]

Food Porn: Kung Che Nam Pla

Evergreen, Food, Food Porn, Photo Essays, Thailand

Simplicity at its best, kung che nam pla is one of my favourite Thai seafood dishes. Marinated raw prawns are served with plenty of garlic, chilli and fish sauce based dipping sauce – bliss. Make sure you use the extra green vegetables to soak up the burning heat of the chillies! I ate this delicious […]

Food Porn: Prik Gaeng Pla Meuk

Evergreen, Food, Food Porn, Photo Essays, Thailand

While the street food staple for many Thais is pad krapao, mine is pad prik gaeng – like them, it’s what I order when I don’t know what else I want. I normally take my prik gaeng with pork – it is stir fried with red curry paste, a few vegetables and some kaffir lime […]

Best of the Rest: Friday 11 January

Food, Photo Essays, Thailand, Vietnam

    Each week, words fly around the travel blogging community in their millions. Here is my wrap on some of the most inspiring, interesting or just plain beautiful stories and photos that have caught my attention of late. If you see something I should include next week, just tweet it with the hashtag #tuktuk. […]

Ultimate relaxation: 3 of Malaysia’s finest spas

Evergreen, Malaysia

    If all of the skyscraper city action that Malaysia’s sprawling metropolis cities have to offer gets just a little too much, and you need to soothe those aching bones, what better way to do so than with a trip to one of the country’s leading and trend setting spas? From massages to manicures, […]

Pulau Tioman – an island retreat

Evergreen, Malaysia

    A world away from the bustle of the big city and yet just a few hours from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur lies Tioman Island, or Pulau Tioman in the Malay language. This small island makes the perfect antidote to the stresses and strains of everyday urban life. Stunning views are common currency […]

Discovering Malaysia’s best local markets

Evergreen, Malaysia

    Like elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Malaysia has more than its fair share of local markets – some low key, others less so. For lower prices, a great selection of goods and interaction with real locals in an authentic Malaysian atmosphere, this – rather than the admittedly impressive glossy skyscraper malls – is the […]

Malaysia: hunting out the best nasi lemak

Evergreen, Food, Malaysia

    Rendang may be popular internationally, but if there is one dish that defines Malaysia for those who have visited, it is nasi lemak. This incredible dish, somewhat of a ‘tasting platter’ and a mix of tastes and textures from soft, fluffy white rice, through to hard-boiled egg, meaty chicken and crunchy nuts, is […]

Discovering Kuching: Sawarak’s sleepy capital

Evergreen, Malaysia

    Eastern Malaysia’s Kuching, capital of the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo, is worth a visit if you’re in search of a slower pace of life than you find in the nation’s other sprawling metropolises like Kuala Lumpur. Lying alongside the Sarawak River, it was originally known as Sarawak before becoming […]

Penang: discovering Georgetown’s local markets

Evergreen, Malaysia

    There is no better way to discover a destination than to rub shoulders with the locals and get some retail therapy under your belt in the same way that they do – at their local markets. Like many places in southeast Asia, Malaysia boasts markets aplenty, selling everything from fresh fruits, vegetables, meats […]

Escape to the country: Malaysian rural getaways

Evergreen, Food, Malaysia

    Malaysia isn’t just about city skyscrapers and glistening white beaches – though it doesn’t sound as though it would be so bad if that were all it had to offer. But the nation’s expanses of luscious green countryside also plays host to plenty of spots to get out and take in some fresh […]

Perhentian Islands: Resort Round-Up

Evergreen, Malaysia

    Malaysia’s Perhentian Islands in the South China Sea, around ten miles off the northeastern coast of western Malaysia and just forty miles south of the border with neighbouring Thailand, offer that picture perfect image of paradise you may have dreamt about – endless stretches of fine white sand, clear blue sea and an […]

5 not-to-be-missed Malaysian festivals

Evergreen, Malaysia

    Malaysia’s impressive multicultural society means the country is forever playing host to different cultural festivals and celebrations. With many faiths living alongside each other, at any one time there is usually something – or more than one thing – to celebrate, and up and down the country there are numerous chances to see […]

Drink chic: discovering the hottest hotel bars in Malaysia

Evergreen, Malaysia

    In a country where the lights glimmer as brightly as those of Kuala Lumpur’s famed Petronas Towers, the only difficulty about finding somewhere to wine and dine is choosing from so many fabulous options. As a popular destination for both well heeled locals and foreign tourists, Malaysia caters well to those looking to […]

Penang: 5 must try dishes in Georgetown

Evergreen, Food, Malaysia

    The sheer clash, collision and blend of cultures on the island of Penang, near Malaysia’s northern border with Thailand, make the food in this part of the country simply phenomenal. Here Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and Thai influences come together to create something really rather special, and with Penang being an island, seafood […]

24 hours in Ipoh

Evergreen, Malaysia

    Historically known for its valuable tin mining industry during the time of the British Empire, Ipoh is probably better known today for its Hainanese chicken rice dish. That said the tin connection remains to this day – the name of western peninsular Malaysia’s Perak state, of which Ipoh is the state capital, means […]

24 hours in Kuching: laksa and orangutans

Evergreen, Malaysia

    Any popular destination in Malaysia offers more than enough to keep visitors entertained for days and make for an extended trip, and squeezing the best of a city into just 24 hours is no mean feat. Kuching is no exception, but if you have only a day to spare – and this in […]

Why Ramadan is the ultimate time to eat your way around Malaysia

Food, Malaysia

Malaysia’s street food is good at any time. A simple walk along any road can present you with the choice of an array of dishes that all represent a specific part of the country’s culinary heritage. What’s more the vendor you buy from is no doubt a culinary expert who has been making that single […]

Rafting on Malaysia’s Sungai Selangor

Evergreen, Malaysia

    There is very little in the way of adventure activities anywhere to match up to the adrenaline-fuelled excitement of white water rafting. And while Malaysia might not be your obvious choice of destination for this often extreme water sport, for both novices and seasoned pros the Selangor river – crucially, in easy reach […]

My travel wish list

Photo Essays

    I frequently reel off many places as ‘number one’ in my travel desires, and ‘it’s on my list’ is perhaps one of my most used phrases – because, in truth, I have many, many places I still want to visit (if not everywhere). Here’s my current wish list: Italy Cuba New York Burma […]

Review: Jika Jika Coffee House & Canteen, Bath

England

  Jika Jika looks small from the outside – step in and that illusion gets flipped on its head right away. It is perhaps this size and sense of space that means it is able to get away with calling itself a canteen; in fact it lends itself pretty well to the concept. Whoever was […]

5 cookbooks from my shelf

Cambodia, Evergreen, Food, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam

  As I add another stunning cookbook to my collection, five recommendations for titles that should fill your shelves too. Call me superficial, but the initial attraction of most of these books was their pretty covers! It just so happens that what’s inside is pretty good, too. If you are looking to buy and fancy […]

How to cheat at Christmas

Opinion

    This isn’t some Delia-style preach to use ready-made mashed potato. There are only one and a half shopping days left, but it is still not too late to get a good deal on gifts – they key is to be cheeky. At this late stage you’ve got no chance of getting online orders […]

Scouring the seashore

England, Evergreen, Food, Foraging

There are not many stereotypical ‘childhood memories’ used by writers that I can relate to, which is quite natural – not everyone is going to have had the same experiences as a kid.

A whistlestop foodie tour of Banglamphu

Bangkok, Evergreen, Food, Food, Thailand

    I’m bleating on about Banglamphu again, Bangkok’s backpacker-popular old-town district. As I mentioned in my recent post on getting away from here, its plentiful array of fantastic Thai street food actually give you ample reason to want to stay. Here’s a (by no means exhaustive) rundown of my favourite places to grab a […]

Wat Ratchabophit – an oasis in Bangkok

Bangkok, Evergreen, Temples, Thailand

    The Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Pho – the same Buddhist temples get all the tourist glory when it comes to Bangkok. And while these are undoubtedly architecturally and religiously stunning temples worth the scores of visitors they attract, their popularity ironically draws away from them possessing the calming, meditative atmospheres that they […]

Lose yourself in Phu Lang Ka

Evergreen, Phayao, Thailand

    There isn’t a whole lot to do in Phu Lang Ka, it has to be said. This remote hilltop village in Phayao province is known more for its beautiful vistas than anything else – but those vistas are in themselves worth writing home about. Perched up in the hills on the provincial border […]

Cultivating a khao soi addiction

Chiang Mai, Evergreen, Food, Food, Thailand

    Thailand’s northern cultural capital of Chiang Mai has much to offer – stunning temples, mountain views, massage and language courses and a seemingly endless supply of coffee shops come local art galleries – but its biggest and best contribution must be its infamous local dish, khao soi. Khao soi is a brothy noodle […]

What’s the best way to get out of Banglamphu?

Bangkok, Evergreen, Thailand

    It’s not just first-time-to-Thailand backpackers who stay in Banglamphu, and there is more to the area than Khaosan Road. Temples and other sights, great street food and a general feel of an older Bangkok are all reasons to call the area home for a while – and all of this plus the location […]

Why Cambodia still leaves a bitter taste

Cambodia, Evergreen

    It is raining outside, heavily. Very heavily. We have done little really but travel for the last couple of days since leaving Bangkok, and now we are in Sihanoukville there is little to do because of the weather. So to say we are not having the best time is a bit of an […]

Bangkok’s Talat Rot Fai

Bangkok, Markets, Thailand

    I love a good market, and so much the better if it is of hippy, alternative persuasion. Even better still if, despite being in the middle of Bangkok, it is practically tourist free and very much the real deal, an authentic slice of Thai shoppers’ paradise. So to say I was happy to […]

Recent travels – part one: France

France, Photo Essays

    A long time since my last post so, in an effort to get up to date and make space for the many pieces I want to write now I am back in Asia, a selection of short photo collections for your delectation, from my recent travels around France, Croatia, Switzerland and Germany.  I […]

Stick to the rules or just don’t bother

Evergreen, Opinion

    This is a post that I meant to write just after I last flew with Ryanair from Nantes to East Midlands. It is, perhaps surprisingly, not a rant about Ryanair. It is instead a rant about the inconsistency of airport security checks, and in particular their approach to liquids and gels (or LAGs, […]

Thailand Highlights – Photo Essay

Photo Essays, Thailand

    Extended highlights from another amazing trip to Thailand. I really struggled to choose between all my shots, so there are quite a few to share – including total overkill on Sangkhlaburi’s wooden bridge, for which I apologise in advance (but it’s an impressive, and totally, photogenic, sight to behold).

Thailand’s Got Talent

Thailand

    A very brief post because I just have to share this video clip with you, from Thailand’s Got Talent – the warmth and acceptance reminds me quite how much I love Thailand. I’ve got goosebumps right now. Thailand’s Got Talent

Spot the difference – what a hotel says and what it means

Khon Kaen, Opinion, Thailand

    Compare these two pictures. One is from the D’Ma Hotel’s web site, showing a plush, pleasantly decorated room. The other is the reality, the hotel in the flesh; nowhere near the most grotesque I’ve had the misfortune of staying in, but really nothing special either – just your slightly below average budget Thai […]

Asia’s calling (again)

Malaysia, Thailand

    I write this post from around about 40,000 feet up in the sky. The last time I looked out of the window it was broad daylight – half an hour of My Family and an hour of Hustle later and it’s pitch black; a bit of a surprise, but then it is now […]

Are the French stupid?

Evergreen, France, Opinion

    From time to time I come to think that the French aren’t a very intelligent people. I am not one to stereotype, but here it is just too easy. Take today – after spending the afternoon battling for my sanity with vacant-headed pupils who don’t (or refuse to) understand the simplest of instructions, […]

The road to Saint-Nazaire

France

Between 35 and 50 minutes by train from Nantes, Saint-Nazaire makes for a pleasant coastal getaway from the city, and is definitely worth a drop-in on any visit to the area. While not immediately striking as being overflowing with character or the usual charm of French seaside towns, it has its appeal in a long, […]

Across the river: Trentmoult, Nantes

Evergreen, France

Taking a trip to Trentmoult doesn’t make you feel as though you’re going very far. And in truth, you’re not – it’s just across the Loire from the centre of Nantes. A ten-minute ride on the ‘Navibus’ ferry (included in my monthly tram pass, which also gets me bus and train travel – bargain!) dumps […]

Paris – times two

Evergreen, Food, France

  I am no longer a Paris virgin; the city of romance is the latest to be knocked off my ‘yet to get to’ list. In fact, while a month ago I had still not been, I’ve now already made two short visits. And, stereotypically, I have fallen in love with the place. Visit one […]

The language of Eurostar

Evergreen, France, Opinion

    I am beginning to feel like St Pancras is my second home, such is the frequency with which I am seem to be travelling by train from Nantes to London of late. But there is one part of a Eurostar journey that is still very bizarre – the not knowing whether the woman […]

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

England, Evergreen, Opinion

    ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ So I was reminded by a friend last night as we caught up on six and a half months of gossip, not having seen each other since June last year, over a couple of glasses of wine too many. Never has this saying meant more to me […]

Photo Essay: Beautiful Nantes

France, Photo Essays

    It looks a lot less like this at the moment, what with a snowy grey sky (yet no snow) that, together with a truckload of fog a few mornings ago, didn’t look dissimilar to a post-nuclear scene. But I wanted to share a few pictures from the blue-skied sunniness of a few weekends […]

The terrorists have won

England, Evergreen, France, Opinion

    Dear oh interested one, I write from the battlefield of several personal and professional crises. Hapless ex-employees, broken cash cards, impossible-to-access bank accounts; I have been afflicted by all of these and more over the past few weeks. But it isn’t these problems themselves which bother me – it’s the fact that, everywhere […]

The Girl Outdoors

Opinion

    Another quick plug for someone else’s blog – I’ve just discovered The Girl Outdoors, run by the lovely Sian, who I worked with on the Student Impact newspaper at Bath University. Now I’m neither a girl (well not completely) nor outdoors much at the minute, but it’s a lovely little blog all about […]

Public urination and handshakes

Evergreen, France, Opinion

    About time for some more thoughts on the French, now I’ve been here five weeks. First up, pee. Yes, pee. What is it about the French that makes them think it is okay to pee up walls, into shrubs and so on? I can forgive the occasional widdle at the side of the […]

My son is gay

Opinion

    I’ve just come across this heartening blog post and wanted to share it with you. And doesn’t the kid look awesome in his costume?! http://nerdyapplebottom.com/2010/11/02/my-son-is-gay/

Culture rage

Evergreen, France, Opinion

    The French must have some of the silliest opening hours in the world. I’ve just got back from an attempted trip to do some washing, having watched the clothes pile up for weeks – I must have more clothes than I think, because it’s the first load I’ve done in my three and […]

A morning at Talensac

Evergreen, Food, France

    I did try to get to work this morning, honestly. Not like yesterday, when strike-caused disruption to the buses was in truth only part of the reason I got to school more than half an hour late (the other half being the fact that I couldn’t quite pull myself out of bed on […]

My Big Fat French Life

Evergreen, France

    It’s been a funny couple of weeks since I arrived in Nantes. Having extended my stay in Thailand, I had arrived back in the UK with only a week before I needed to leave again – meaning that, by the time I went, I was still reeling from having left behind my beloved […]

Discovering Isaan

Chaiyaphum, Evergreen, Food, Khon Kaen, Thailand

    This post comes from high above the Thai skies, as I fly back from the second of my two-pronged first stab at the northeastern Isaan region. Having kicked off in the small provincial capital city of Chaiyaphum, I am now on my way back to Bangkok from Khon Kaen. Khon Kaen was one […]

On Koh Pha Ngan

Evergreen, Islands & Beaches, Surat Thani, Thailand

    I remember returning home after my first trip to Thailand, and looking at an atlas to pick out the places I had been. Thinking I had been all over the country, I was a little disappointed to see that, in fact, the places I had visited were all within rather close proximity to […]

Returning to Sangkhla

Evergreen, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

    Three months had passed between my visits to Sangkhlaburi. I was last here in April and, returning at the start of July, the contrasts could not have been starker. The cool, dry season that was coming to an end then was now well and truly gone, the crisp brown roadside growth now a […]

Kanchanaburi – a town with many faces

Evergreen, Kanchanaburi, Opinion, Thailand

    I am finding Kanchanaburi difficult. I have been here before, but only for a few hours at most – a quick glimpse of the Death Railway, en route to Erawan waterfalls or transiting to Sangkhlaburi, further west. In fact, it was only yesterday as I wandered aimlessly around the Bridge over the Kwai […]

Catching Up

Opinion

    My summer of updates on this blog didn’t go quite as planned; in fact, it didn’t get further than Bangkok’s Lumpini Park at the start of July. I did write a collection of posts while on the road during my fantastic three-month trip around Thailand, but somehow they never made it online. But, […]

An oasis in Bangkok

Bangkok, Evergreen, Thailand

    Let’s face it, Bangkok doesn’t have a reputation for being a particularly green city. Undeniably, it has its positives as a city – the food, the shopping, the nightlife (though even that becomes questionable as to whether the negatives outweigh the positives) – but if there is one image that lingers of Bangkok […]

World wide wonders

Opinion, Thailand

    A bit of a techie post from me for a change. You see, I’ve got a bit of a split personality. I am not only a person with a love of travel but also a languages student back home in the UK – and, more crucially for this post, I run my own […]

Home-grown escargots

Evergreen, Food, Foraging, Thailand

    As I write this, I am on the eve of harvesting my second batch of home-grown snails, ready to be cleaned and boiled and served up with heaps of tasty garlic butter à la France. What started out more than anything as an amusing way to gross out a few easily shocked friends, […]

P Guesthouse, Sangkhlaburi: Thailand’s Wild West?

Evergreen, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

    P Guesthouse has easily the best views in Sangkhlaburi, no question. A deceptively sprawling complex, with restaurant terrace and its biggest and most expensive rooms at the top and a pathway through its grassy little gardens right down to a wooden jetty on the lake itself, the place has a somewhat Flinstones-like feel […]

On Sangkhlaburi

Evergreen, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

    Over the past four days in Sangkhlaburi, I have thought time and again about how I would start this piece – where usually I might be stuck for a catchy, witty or insightful introduction, here they are aplenty, such is the power of this place to really affect you, and to have you […]

How cameras have changed travel

Evergreen, Opinion

    As I walked home on Friday evening, a strange thing happened. I stopped, as I often do, to take a photo or two as I walked down the steep hill from the University’s campus – struck by an especially pretty skyline over Bath’s city centre, the Abbey’s side gently illuminated and a million […]

When a city sucks you in

Evergreen, Germany

    So, I’ve done it. I’ve made my first capital city stop in Berlin and, in the process, fallen utterly in love with the place. Berlin is a strange one, to be honest. It’s by no means a pretty city – sure, there are gorgeous buildings scattered here and there, but it’s difficult to […]

Shock Revelations

Evergreen, Germany, Opinion

Two things strike me as I begin to get more and more excited about heading off to Berlin next week. I’ve not been to Europe since 2002 and, more shockingly, I’ve never been to another European capital city.