Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Meal in a Teak House

Everyone has a dream house. The one that you might be able to get after slaving away in the workforce for about half your life, or just marrying rich. My current list of dream dwellings include: (1) a well-lit house on a secluded, tourist-free beach, (2) a large mansion with a ballroom resembling the interior of San Francisco City Hall, and (3) a traditional Thai teak house.

I had the pleasure of staying in a teak house in Nonthaburi, a province in central Thailand. Teak is an extremely dense hardwood that is resistant to water, fungus, insects, and many chemical agents. The wood is also strikingly beautiful and elegant. Unfortunately, urban modernization and intense logging of teak trees mean that these houses are rarely found in Thailand now.

The teak house I stayed at had two levels. The guest rooms were on the second floor, which made me feel like I was sleeping in a fancy tree house.

Open your windows...

My guest room. I loved the color of the bedding!

Exotic but natural at the same time

The kitchen, dining, and lounging areas were on the ground floor. The open-air style of the architecture allowed for natural ventilation, so we had a nice breeze throughout the house.

A great place to eat

The host family of the house also prepared a great meal for us! Pictured below -- the best spring rolls I've ever had, amazing curry, pork broth, and stir-fried vegetables with shrimp.

I tried to ask for the spring rolls recipe, but like most great recipes, it was a family secret.

And for dessert, we had tako, a traditional Thai dessert. Pandan (screwpine) leaves are washed, dried, and folded into cute square "cases" to hold the dessert. The bottom layer is filled with a mixture consisting of green peas flour, pandan juice, and chopped water chestnuts. The "cases" are topped off with a white layer of green peas flour and coconut milk, and then chilled before serving. The result is a pudding-like snack in a neat little package.

So I guess when I have the money, I'll be in the market for a teak house, where I can make spring rolls and tako to my heart's content. And maybe I'll get that beach house too.

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