Food Miles, Southeast Asian Style

Buses stop at the Nam Ou River in Muang Khua, Laos. Tiny town it is, but it sits on a major trade route linking Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. I’ve been thinking a lot about the journeys my dinners endure. The more I read, the more I learn, the more trouble I have shaking the numbers: […]

What’s the Trouble with a Little Smoke?

Roasting chiles for market, Bangkok. A lot, in terms of health. Fire by far constitutes Asia’s most popular cooking method, and with good and practical reason. Smoked foods taste great. Fire is easy and accessible. But the long-term health and environmental effects are vast. A massive “brown cloud” covers much of Asia, and researchers are […]

Guest Cabbage

There was a time, a while back, when I was finding cabbage everywhere I looked. Reader Jessie kindly sent me an addition to my unintentional series of cabbage shots. The above photo was taken at the Museum of Sichuan Cuisine in Chengdu. It’s been too many years since I visited Chengdu; might have to make […]

The Rosi Recipes #3: A Silk Road Gourmet Meal

I’m getting behind in my Rosi posts, and this one is out of order. But I wanted to write this now, to give you right now a glimpse of Laura Kelley’s fabulous new cookbook, The Silk Road Gourmet (available soon through Amazon and Barnes & Noble; have a look at Laura’s website for further details). […]

Beyond the Tachileik Gate

The vast majority of travelers who cross from Mae Sai to Tachileik see little of the Myanmar side beyond the big market selling cheap music and movies (great deals) and pretty much anything else a person could possibly want from China. Indeed, most Westerners get their stamp on the Thai side, another on the Burmese […]

The Olympics Afterword

Remember the visa fiasco? This just in from my Beijing buddy (who happens to be a very respectable journalist): More tomorrow on the Olympics, except to say that I totally know why your visa got denied. Food safety was one of the number one most sensitive things at the Games and they didn’t want people talking […]

Farming with Cluster Bombs

A young boy named Poey clasps his ears as a clearance team detonates a bombie in his family’s farm field. Poey’s father had risked considerable danger by moving the bomb to a tree so Poey and other children would not find the bomb. On May 30, 111 countries adopted a treaty to ban cluster bombs. […]

Brighter Horizons: Eating at Vilaylac’s

Vilaylac Thepvongsa, at home, at work What a tragic month for Asia: Burma. China. The price of food. I’m listening to Melissa Block breaking down as she describes the search for bodies, the stench of death, in China’s earthquake rubble, and I’m having flashbacks to the 2004 tsunami. When does it end? Today, I just […]

Singapore Slurp

Well, this is one way to get at the marrow of the matter: diners in Singapore’s China Town use straws to suck out the goodness of their bones. Bone marrow is everyday fare in many parts of Asia. In some anthropological circles, scientists have debated whether early humans were scavengers who extracted the marrow from […]