Monday, January 06, 2014


Hopped into a new outlet of Baan Ying Cafe & Meal on the third floor of CentralWorld Mall (บ้านหญิง Cafe & Meal; on IG as @baanying). Tried the refurbished 10-year-old original (after it was torched by political clashes in 2010), called Baan Ying Signature. There's also another new outlet at Terminal 21, but that mall bored me within 12 minutes. At least CentralWorld holds two music shops in all-rounder Music Concept, and posh The Guitar Avenue that has gorgeous custom-shop-guitars at better prices than what London offers, at reasonable mark-ups closer to US pricing. Otherwise, I've little reason to step into a mall.

Fixed lunch at Baan Ying CentralWorld. Nicely decorated with new yet still-conservative-fusion offerings on the menu. Spotted a 'spicy ant eggs salad' (nยำไข่มดแดง) the menu. The man was thrilled. Ordered it immediately. Totally love this Isaan-style dish. Appreciated that there was no pork or chicken within. The white bean-like eggs were creamy. Delicious. One could spot the ants in the dish of course, but there wasn't any more unique flavors to them because once cooked, those were lost within the spices, onions and coriander.

Salad of ants' eggs or 'yam khai mot daeng' (ยำไข่มด).

Entomophagy. Why not? Most of Southeast Asia do it. Before you go 'eiowwww', think about it, It's just as horrifying as ebiko and mentaiko. Cooked ants, grubs and bees are like prawns and shrimp; soft shell crabs, cockles and sea cucumber. The biggest reason why I avoid crabs, besides the allergies, is how horrifying they look. My gawwd, have you seen hairy crabs?! The element of the unfamiliar makes eating it less comfortable, but not less tasty. Eating insects seems certainly more sustainable, although it wouldn't be less cruel. But that's a difficult loop to argue. We live in Asia. Offal is routinely eaten, along with congealed blood. Insects as food shouldn't feel too alien. Remember how we used to eagerly watch the food segment in 'Fear Factor' and call them participants wimps?

And I'm that one guest at your dining table who would appreciate being served ants and their eggs over chicken, lamb or pork. I can do bees, tiny grubs, larvae, grasshoppers and crickets. They've never sent me running to the toilet in crushing agony. But I draw the line at cockroaches and its look-alike- water bugs (แมงดา). Google images of 'edible water bugs Thailand'. Then keel over maybe. That's when I go eiooww.

At another restaurant. Edible flowers and leaves deep fried.
Nothing too adventurous since these are like vegetables to most.
Remember how as children, we used to pluck pistil off ixora to suck the nectar.

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