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ImportFood

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  1. You can buy live chickens every Saturday in Enumclaw at the Sales Pavilion, (360) 825-3151. Take them home and butcher yourself, not difficult, and you get good chickens of the size you like. Chicken sale start at 11:00 AM, pigs and cows after noon. This is one chance to see agriculture market in a disappearing form, the old guy Ron still runs the show. Sit down in the wood seats it's like stepping back to 1940 (or perhaps this style of community agriculture will have a revival someday--in which case it's like a window to the future). They have a Branding Iron cafe with fresh eggs, hash, etc. You can also get live chickens at Kepplers in E Renton.
  2. There are bins of sweet Kent Valley corn for sale at Carpinitos on Central Av, and a farm stand at the farm on W Valley Hwy and 272nd (across from Smith Brothers). Probably only available for a week or so. Currently $0.40 per ear. Lots of local squash there too and a big pumpkin patch (u-pick).
  3. Hi. My friend is from Moldova (little country near Romania), and he's planning to go back there to visit his family. I was wondering what kind of American alcohol I can buy for him, say in a pint bottle, that his friends back home might like to taste. I am not much of a drinker so I don't know what to choose, but something that says Kentucky or Tennessee on the label would be nice. There is a local liquor store that has a lot of choices (the store in Seattle near Safeco Field on 4th has a big selection and I am going to be near there tomorrow). Thanks in advance for any ideas.
  4. Contact your local DHL office and ask them how much it cost to ship 35-40 lbs from Singapore to your address in USA. At least then you will have an idea of the cost. If you want to proceed, contact the manufacturer and tell them you will have DHL come get 1 case--assuming you know the manufacturer name, these days you can look up their phone number and call them. They might agree to ship you a case, and pay with your credit card, or they can give you the name of a merchant in Singapore that will do it for you. Just double-box everything. Box size will be about 15" square, if you need a box size for your DHL quote use that as a rough idea. You can prepay your local DHL office the fee then ask them to go to the factory or shop directly and fetch the parcel. You are looking at probably $300+ for this but I could be wrong. Whatever DHL charges, any other method will cost about the same. Highly unlikely you can get it done for under $200 using DHL. I have never seen that sauce but it looks interesting. It seems that around here we get Yeo's from Singapore but not much else. Good luck with the Sin Sin.
  5. Hello. I spent a great deal of time with a walk-behind tiller and turned over an area about 50' x 20' but it's not productive because the grass on top is only going under a relatively small depth, and just that took about 6 hours but it was done fairly well. Since I have at least 30,000 more sq ft pasture that need to be tilled up I have to find someone locally who will come bring equipment to deep-till it with those big circular rings, so the top layer is turned 12" under. The soil is just perfect for growing, no question about that. Lots of sun too. If someone can recommend a service that will do that I would really appreciate it. Perhaps Snohomish or Enumclaw areas. Our bee colonies are thriving by the way, producing tons of honey already. Not sure if bees can help root vegetables. Thanks.
  6. Hello. We have about 4 acres of level, flat pasture in Issaquah. The soil here is good, but we have not used it for gardening (except a tiny plot). The last few years we've had cows eating the grass, prior to that horses, so I believe the soil is well-fertilized. One acre is fenced off (cows have no access to it) and I've pondered turning that acre into a large garden. If that works, I'll likely work more of the land in coming years. A couple weeks ago I moved two honeybee boxes onto the field also, and they've been doing ok but not flying much due to the cold weather. I have a Kubota L-series diesel tractor, a real workhorse, and I can borrow a neighbor's tiller attachment. The problem is I have very little experience gardening, but I can wing it. I'd like to get this underway soon, I am sure it's not too late. We planted carrots, corn, onions, squash and a few other things two years ago in a small garden area. We had the best luck with carrots. A friend told me that money can be made with organic lettuce, selling to local stores, but I am not sure what it takes to be called "organic" then sell to stores. Not many farmers left these days and I would like to start up some kind of enterprise. Two able-bodied kids (10 and 11). All suggestions are highly appreciated.
  7. Hello Shaun, I hope your bee endeavors have thus far been successful. Yesterday I got my first hive and can relate to your comment about how tame the bees are. So far so good. I got started after a friend of mine from Moldova (tiny country between Ukraine and Romania) told me about both how easy it is to care for bees and how much honey they produce. I'd heard of the plight of the missing honeybees, have a nice piece of land, and figured I might enjoy helping out a little bit while at the same time improving pollination of my apple trees. It seems Romanians in particular are experienced with bees, perhaps a bee supply shop would confirm that most of their customers are Romanian (?). A lot of people in my friend's tight-knit community are bee enthusiasts now, and grew up in the "old country" raising bees. As for my friend, he drove from Seattle to Portland to pickup a hive for me and due to small hole in the packing, a bunch of them escaped and were flying all over his van as he drove along the highway. No stings though--imagine this guy and his wife for 3 hours in a car with a few hundred loose bees and they were just calm. After the bees settled down a bit we unloaded the hive, me with a hat/net and gloves, but he was just bare-handed and in a t-shirt. No stings at all. I also ordered a hive from a company in Auburn WA called Trees n Bees, and will go get it today. As I understand, generally people in the Pacific Northwest have to reserve bees in Jan/Feb then they are trucked up from California in early April.
  8. Hi, I believe the "ancient method" of making fish sauce is still fairly common in Thailand, not sure about Vietnam but probably so. My understanding of how it's made is slightly different than the quote you provided, although this could be due to some regional variation or change in modern process. First of all, to make the finest quality fish sauce only anchovy fish are used, not shrimp. Perhaps some people made fish sauce using shrimp along with other fish--not sure about that. But I've visited a fish sauce manufacturer in Rayong, Gulf of Thailand, who does things using the ancient method and I took photographs of the tanks and process, so you are welcome to see at link below. They put the anchovy fish in a concrete tank, adding salt so the salt content is 27%. This mixture of salt prevents any impurities or bacteria from entering the tank, even though the cover is not airtight, it is loose-fitting (your quote mentions "airtight"). The fish sit for 12 months (or more) and become totally hydrolyzed in the process. What's left is just sediment that falls through a raised filter in the tank, and I believe that sediment is not used later. The pure fish sauce is pumped out, filtered again, and bottled. http://importfood.com/how_fish_sauce_is_made.html As for shrimp paste, not sure if what is called belachan today (same as "kapi" in Thai, and commonly used in Thai cooking) was once the remaining sediment of fish sauce. Maybe not? As far as I know, to make shrimp paste now, only tiny plankton shrimp are used, and the process starts when the shrimp are freshly caught. The shrimp are mixed with salt, put in a tank and left to sit for 2 days. Then the mixture is put under sunlight for a day or two, pounded up and pulverized, and put back in a tank to ferment for 6 months. If you follow the link above, near the bottom of the page is a link to shrimp paste info & photos as well.
  9. Hi, Thanks for asking. ImportFood.com prepared this sidewalk guide for people like you. The small food shops in this area have a higher regard for quality and overall cleanliness. Many have been in the same place cooking the same thing for 3 or 4 generations. Please see the guide at link below and print the map, it's in English and Thai, any taxi can take you right there. You will not be disappointed. http://importfood.com/saochingcha_guide.html In another week or so the guide will have an expanded section dealing with the Sukhumvit Thong Lor area as well, another spot for outstanding sidewalk food, but in our opinion nothing beats Saochingcha. We put a lot of time into assembling the info, hope you like it!
  10. Hi Chefky, Sounds like fun. If you don't find a chef to cook at your place in front of you, the guy at link below does special catering of all sorts. His kids might be able to help explain the food and serve it properly but I don't think the old guy speaks English. It's not farang food at all--this is as local Thai as it gets. There is a map on how to find it, Udom Pochana, worth a trip just to eat the food around there--loads of great places to eat in the vicinity. http://importfood.com/thai_vendors/street_...dompochana.html
  11. ImportFood

    red rice

    I did not see the episode but it might have been "red cargo rice". There are a few varieties of rice grown in Thailand that create colored water broth. There is a nice variety called Sinin which is my favorite but it's not exported to US due to the limited crop and extended paperwork required to import specialty rice into this country. You have to buy it when you go there. You can likely Google sinin rice and learn about it, I think it's the superior variety of all unpolished rice varieties because of the sweet velvety taste, and the color is more lavender than red. Aside from sinin rice, one of the next best unpolished rice for flavor is red cargo rice which is at the link below http://importfood.com/nrct0501.html
  12. This place opened up a few months ago in a location where the last two restaurants promptly failed. After noticing a steadily rising number of cars parked there, checked it out recently with my wife and kids. They cater to Chinese clientele and I believe the food is authentic. There are signs in Chinese at the entry and everyone inside was speaking Chinese so this might be "the real thing" in terms of preparation. Most of their tables are round with the lazy susan in the middle, and every table was taken when we were there, so they must be doing something right. It is Hong-Kong style food, and it was quite fresh and tasty to me. They had a special of whole baby birds when we were there but we did not try those. They also serve a lot of duck. I asked about black chicken, something I like quite a lot but don't often find--the guy said no problem if you order in advance. We had a seafood fried rice, seafood noodles and a hot pot. Prices are not high at all, perhaps that contributes to the crowds here, but the food overall was good. Mai Place Asian Fusion Bistro 3152 NE Sunset Blvd. Renton, WA 98056 (425) 228-6388
  13. Hi Peter, Hope you enjoy eating the street food there. Thanks for your note. I am not sure about the Golden Pig statue but this year is the Pee Moo Thong (Year of the Golden Pig). From what I heard, the Year of the Pig comes along every 12 years but the year of the Golden Pig is only 2x in 60 years. Perhaps it's something to do with that but I'm not sure.
  14. Hi, Bangkok is so big and there are loads of places to find great food of all sorts. Hard to give much specific advice because I don't live there any longer, but some places I enjoy going back to are: Landmark Hotel. Thai owned and operated hotel with classic elegance and Thai style, 3 star hotel I think (?) with great food in their Thai restaurant! Not outrageously-priced either. I know they have a cooking class as well, never tried it but I read about it, and looks good. Love the Landmark. Seems like a lot of high-end food is Chinese or a mix of Thai/Chinese. We used to find a lot of good food on Thonglor, Sukhumvit 55, but it's been a long time. I know that area is still very popular but have no specifics. Recently I found so much good food in the Siam Paragon shopping complex, basement floor. I think locals will certainly regard this as a great food destination, though not particularly fancy. This is easily accessible by skytrain or taxi. One place is called "Spices" and they have good flavorful food, very fresh and delicious. But there must be 20 different small restaurants there and I think all of them offer good quality. Just skip wine in Thailand is my advice, though I am not a big wine drinker anyway. It's not something a lot of locals drink. Have one shot of Johnny Walker over ice, in a tall 12 oz glass balanced with the soda water everyone offers. Or beer with ice. My father in law used to take us to Goong Luang, found info online: 1756 Pinklao-Nakorn Chaisri Road, Telephone: 02-423-0748. Quite good Thai food of all sorts and a bit of a "fine dining" place. A really tasty restaurant chain, I believe at least 70 years old, is See Faa (in Thai it means Blue Color). They have a distinctive logo of a blue pot, and very good food. Love See Fah, never miss it. Personal favorite for Thai food was at Bang Saen, right on the beach and just 1-2 hours from Bangkok. They have so much good food there, and great nightlife right on the beach. I used to stay at Bang Saen Villa Resort, now it has a new name but still there as of last month when I was in town and drove by. At the very northern part of Bang Saen, between Bang Saen and the next village to the north, there is a string of very famous Thai seafood restaurants which are usually packed with Bangkokians every weekend. If you have an extra day to go out of your way I'd suggest Bang Saen but there are likely other places outside of Bangkok with equally good food. Street food I was always a bit leary of, probably more than most. On one hand in US we have strict enforcement of every possible circumstance that may cause foodborne illness, and the Thai street scene offers no enforcement of anything including dust, soot and filth which would form 1/4 inch thick every day on my balcony. But I found one place where every street vendor is different--the food, floors, tables and everything else very clean! I posted a separate report about that in this forum a few threads down. Be sure to try that area and let me know what you think. What about your name--Kai, it means egg in Thai. You are khon Thai or not? One other thing, if you have a lot of money and some time to travel outside of Bangkok, checkout Chiva Som Resort over by Hua Hin, I have heard from a good source that the food is very, very exclusive, quality out of this world. Most or all of it grown at their organic garden. Along the same lines but far more reasonable in cost is Comsaed Resort, though this is also at least a 2 hour drive outside of Bangkok.
  15. My wife and I went to Porcella late last summer and we loved the food and the way you can see the kitchen. Excellent dessert and coffee too. This location offers a bit of romance too. You can walk down the sidewalk afterward, toward the lake, and across the street is a very good middle eastern supermarket. It starts with a Z, don't recall the name. After that we drove just a 1/2 mile or so to the little waterfront park which was still open after dark. There is nice parking and you can walk down to sit on the park benches at water's edge. Our favorite restaurant in Bellevue is Calcutta Grill at the Newcastle Golf Course. The food is very good, and they are family friendly so we can bring our kids with no problem at all. All summer long they have a bagpipe guy who comes out at about 8:00 in Scottish dress and he puts on a bagpipe show. They also serve excellent cocktails which we get after dinner. More about the bagpiper. http://www.newcastlegolf.com/subcontent.aspx?SecID=434
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