Phuket, Day 16

BeforeandAfterEveryone slept in pretty late New Year’s Day, but we were up in time to get our big plans for the day in motion. It’s probably no surprise that our plans for Jan. 1 revolved around food. Once we were all up and at ’em, Chao made a trip to the local seafood market to get some supplies for:

The First (and Probably Only) Mike and Chao Chow Thailand New Year’s Day Extravaganza-Palooza Dinner and Party

Someone suggested we go with a more concise title, but we wanted the party to have a bit more weight to it. Our last dinner experiment was pretty awesome, so we wanted to see if we could recreate it–in a different country.

We should take a step back: we couldn’t have imagined how incredible it would be to wake up on New Year’s Day to perfect weather and this outside your window.

THE MENU

Fresh lobster with eggs

Pork belly with garlic, black pepper & cilantro

Fried rice

Pad siew stir fry noodles
with chicken & soy

Crab

Papaya salad

Steamed fish in a special, homemade broth

Grilled squid

Dinner

So, back to business. We had several friends coming over, one of which happened to be a self-proclaimed chef and would be helping Chao out with the meal. You know the phrase, “Too many cooks in the kitchen”? We were about to test that out, literally.

The cooking begins: Chao hit the grill first to get the lobsters/crabs going, but returned to the kitchen to see that our friend the chef (Maew’s her name)┬áhad taken charge of the kitchen like nothing we’d ever seen:

Everything was going so smoothly–the aroma from the pork belly wafting as the steamed fish started to cook, while she finished up the papaya salad (which looked and smelled amazing).

Chao’s initial reaction was to start asking questions, but a few moments in this completely under control kitchen, filled with such beautiful, savory and sweet scents and he relaxed. He leaned in to taste one of the dishes, wondering if everything would taste as amazing as it smelled, and was once again rendered speechless.

pork-belly-being-marinated-in-some-special-thai-sauce

Pork Belly in Special Thai Marinade

You can imagine how incredibly entertaining this all was for Mike and the rest of the guests to watch. Every now and then, Chao stepping in to make a suggestion or change something, only to be immediately countered by Maew, firmly establishing herself as the not-to-be-questioned head chef of the evening. And Chao? Well, Chao took a backseat.

Chao-and-Friend

Was that difficult for Chao? Perhaps. It certainly helped that she was more than gifted in the kitchen, and that everything came out looking/smelling/tasting perfect. We all set the table, grabbed some dishes, and sat down for our first major meal of 2011, a year we hope will be filled with many more evenings of delicious food and good company, just like this one.

Dishes-in-Phuket

A few more highlights from our dinner: If this whole blog thing doesn’t work out, we definitely think we have the beginnings of a killer children’s book: “Chao the Chef”? “See Chao Eat”? We did a little storyboarding for you (below). To all you publishers, you can hit us up on Twitter if you’re interested (@mikeandchaochow).

Chao-and-The-Lobster-StoryAnother star of the evening: Peter. The sign of a true friend and bartender is always coming prepared (also the sign of a good Boy Scout, right?). Well, Peter always travels with his supplies, so he had a fresh mojito bar set up in the kitchen in no time. The fresh mint and the cool refreshing taste were just what our dinner needed–washing down our tasty meal and relieving any inter-chef tensions. Overall, our first party in Thailand was a success, largely thanks to our up-and-coming local friend who showed us how to do it up right, Phuket-style.

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