Samui Wining & Dining
Megabytes
January’s ‘Thai Culinary Website of The Month’ is www.chef-a-gogo.com.

 

MegabytesThis website is as much a voyage of discovery for the reader as it is for the site’s author. I happened upon it by chance and spent a good hour browsing through it and learning more about Chef Shane and his culinary adventures. And the more I read, the more I liked the guy.         

His background information is a story that many of you will relate to and even admire. And his recipes, photographs and love of food will both inspire you and perhaps even create a little jealousy. He was born and grew up in New Zealand and then spent nearly 20 years in Australia working as a chef and raising a family. In 2004, he decided to break-out of his comfort zone and has since worked in Dubai, Thailand and is currently in Da Nang, in Vietnam. He’s also travelled widely in South-east Asia and his website is all about the amazing food he’s experienced from street stalls to fine-dining.

 

On the homepage it has his latest blogs and photographs, and they can range from recipes and market visits to tales of his latest culinary trips. Down the right-hand side of the page there’re several sections to explore. One gives more information about Shane and another has archives of all of his blogs going back to March 2009. They’re well worth browsing through and in his blog from the 4th of February this year he mentions that, in his opinion, coconuts from Samui are the very best available anywhere in the world. A third section has more than 30 topics categorized so that you can get straight to the subject matter that most interests you. These range from hawker food and insect cuisine through to modern cuisine, fusion, Northern Thai, regional and local, Thai food classics, Thai condiments, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, vegetarian, and a whole lot more.

 

Click on ‘Thai food classics’, for example, and you get some very detailed recipes. And not just the usual fare either. The first one is for a curried Thai stingray dish from the north of Thailand. Shane explains about the ingredients, goes into depth about the preparation and cooking methods and has some excellent close-up photographs of the different stages of how the dish is made. Another recipe is for pla neung manao – steamed whole fish with lime dressing. It’s one of the most popular fish dishes served in Thailand and many of the restaurants here on Samui have it on their menus. And not only does Shane have an easy recipe for it, he also talks about a recent restaurant experience he had when ordering the fish and gives some good tips on how to eat it.

 

Jump to the ‘Path less travelled’ section and scroll down a bit and there’s a wonderful recipe for a homemade Thai green curry chicken pizza. The photographs are mouth-watering and from his recipe and descriptions you just know it’s a winner. And in the ‘Hawker food’ link, again scroll down and he relates a story about another special dish from the north of Thailand. His sous chef is from that area and whilst Shane and his wife were on a road trip from Myanmar to Laos they passed through the Golden Triangle region and found the dish that the chef had told them about. It’s a whole freshwater fish, seasoned with crushed galangal, turmeric and chili, wrapped in fresh turmeric leaves, stuffed into a hollow bamboo cylinder and then barbecued over charcoal. The juices stay inside and a fantastic aroma wafts up when the fish is unwrapped. There’re some pictures of the dish and some beautiful photographs from the banks of the Mekong River where they ate it.

 

This is a brilliant website about Thai and Asian food. Shane writes it how he sees it and, as he’s a very experienced chef, his descriptions and recipes really come to life. If you’re interested in the cuisines of South-east Asia and want to try authentic regional recipes then this site is the perfect place to start.

 

Johnny Paterson

 


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