A Food Lover’s Thailand: 3 Places to Visit

Writing: Heba El-Sherif

Travel Experience & Photography: Hoda El-Sherif

IMG_0040.JPG

There’s much to say about taking a trip to Thailand. The typical list includes a boundless variety of street food, picture-perfect beach spots and cheap shopping. But a few days in the north could offer anything from treepod dining and paragliding to massive water fights, awe-inspiring Buddhas and a multitude of perfectly preserved temples that in their entirety are a reflection of Thailand’s rich culture.

Below is an attempt at journaling the highlights of our trip.

BANGKOK

IMG_0019.JPG
IMG_0014.JPG

Chatuchak Weekend Market

From crafty silverware and antique light fixtures to trendy clothing and a variety of plants, Chatuchak is undisputedly the most extensive and exciting shopping experience in Bangkok.

About 15,000 stalls are set-up every weekend in the open air for vendors to sell their products, often priced lower than one would find at bigger shopping malls or markets, like the ones found around the backpacker’s hub Khao San Road. It could be disorienting for first timers, yes, but it’s this kind of competition that ensures prices are distinctly reasonable.

Visitors are a mix of locals and foreigners, and the market is easily accessible from the center of Bangkok. A first-hand tip: find a map ahead of your visit to get a general sense of which sections you would like to visit. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to a preplanned route, but the maze-like set up can have you going around circles, so it’s good to be prepared.

At the entrance of the market, we spotted a potbellied chef with a beret dancing in front of a large skillet. His specialty was paellas, the signature Spanish dish, and we later learned that he’s a well-known feature of the market. It was a charming encounter, although, at least for a moment, we were taken aback considering that delicious Thai food was available at every corner.

Food aside, we picked out a collection of precious handmade mugs and ramekins that we continue to use in our studio.

IMG_0041.JPG

IMG_0001.JPG

Damnoen Saduak

Navigating through the narrow canals that make-up Damnoen Saduak is a cherished tourist activity. Itself a collection of small floating markets located some 100 kilometers outside Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak is considered the most popular floating market in Thailand.

Every morning, the web of canals that make up the market is dotted with wooden boats weighed down by fresh produce. Farmers keen on catching early risers boast their treats as visitors pass by, gliding along the waterways in their long-tail boats. It’s a bustling affair until noon, where bargaining is permitted and snapping shots of the artful displays of fresh fruits and vegetables is a standard activity.

Even as roads continued to be constructed, particularly during the 19th century, the importance of Thailand’s web of khlongs, the word commonly used to refer to its canals, persisted, not only as a lifeline for farmers, but also as a nod to the country’s rich past.

On our visit, we passed by a woman in traditional clothing and a straw hat preparing Pad Thai. With a hotplate perched in front of her and a riot of aromas wafting about, she had laid out all the ingredients: noodles, bean sprouts, eggs, onions, coriander, peanuts, fish sauce. We also sampled some very yummy sticky rice with mango form a neighboring vendor, a rich local staple that can be savored at any hour of day.

IMG_0002.JPG

CHIANG MAI

 If Thailand’s south is famed for its islands, the north is the heart of its temples. In addition to a striking landscape, it’s recommended for those interested in cultural tourism or adventure travel.

IMG_0018.JPG

We planned our trip around April, so we were lucky to attend the Thai New Year Songkran while in Chiang Mai, the largest city in northern Thailand. Some of the traditions associated with Songkran have locals visiting temples to pour water on Buddha statues by way of washing away one’s sins. The spiritual cleansing spills onto the streets of Chiang Mai, turning the city into one giant, friendly water fight.

After a tour of some temples, we decided to grab a bite at a street restaurant, lured by the crowd waiting to be seated. We opted for barbequed squid, shrimps and a scrumptious grilled fish with sea salt and chili peanut sauce, followed by a drink of coconut water, which is a common offering in most street markets in Thailand. Pulled out of a chilled icebox, it’s the ideal beverage to quench your thirst after a long day of walking.

IMG_0012.JPG
IMG_0025.JPG

Our favorite coffee shop in Chiang Mai, Ristr8to, was set up by coffee aficionados who arrived in Thailand in 2011 by way of Australia. Its name is a nod to Ristrettoa traditionally short shot of espresso made with the standard amount of ground coffee but extracted with about half the amount of water used to prepare a regular espresso.

The setup is so inviting that we kept coming back to Ristr8to throughout our stay in Chiang Mai. Wood adorns the wall of the indoor section of the café, with large blackboards spread along the walls. Everything from the exact amount of caffeine in your coffee to the amount of milk used can be found on the menu, and that, coupled with a warm, friendly atmosphere, sets this place apart.

IMG_0015.JPG
IMG_0020.JPG
IMG_0030.JPG

PHUKET

Home to high-end beachside resorts and a buzzing nightlife, Phuket is also famous for its evening markets. Our highlight was this stuffed shellfish bonanza cooked in béchamel.

IMG_0029.JPG

HOME-COOKING 103

Photography, Recipes and Food Styling: Flavor Republic

- Mahy Megahed, Hana Shash, and Dina Oraby -

Client: Seoudi Supermarkets

it's been a while since we've put together a collection of your recipes, so we thought we would gather some breakfast, lunch and dinner inspiration for you! These are just a few from our recipe series exclusively for Seoudi Supermarkets.

Miso and Ginger Prawn Tacos.jpg

HONEY & GINGER PRAWN TACOS

  • 600g prawns, peeled
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 cm piece ginger
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 8 corn tacos
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 2 spring onion, sliced
  • ½ cup edamame beans
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • coconut oil, melted
  • 6 baby radishes, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, grate the ginger and add the sesame oil, honey, oyster sauce, and a couple of tbsp of oil. Add the prawns and toss to coat. Leave to marinate for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat the tacos and keep warm.
  3. Heat a pan with a little oil and add the prawns. Cook for about minute on each side.
  4. Fill the tacos with the prawns, carrot, spring onions, radishes, edamame, and top with the sesame seeds.
Use ginger in recipes, marinades, detox drinks and teas.

Use ginger in recipes, marinades, detox drinks and teas.


Braised Tomatoes with Burrata

Braised Tomatoes with Burrata

Heirloom Tomato and Herb Salad with Fried Chickpeas and Capers

Heirloom Tomato and Herb Salad with Fried Chickpeas and Capers

BRAISED TOMATOES WITH BURRATA

  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • 1 kg ripe cherry tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 8 small garlic cloves, smashed
  • 230g burrata cheese
  • Crusty bread, toasted

Directions:

  1.  In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes, salt, basil, and garlic and cover.
  2. Allow to braise for 20 minutes then remove lid and remove skillet from heat. 
  3. While still hot, set the skillet under an oven broiler at medium heat. Allow to broil just until tomatoes begin to char. About 5-8 minutes.
  4. In bowl, arrange burrata. While still hot spoon the tomatoes over the burrata and serve warm with crusty bread.

HEIRLOOM TOMATO AND HERB SALAD WITH FRIED CHICKPEAS AND CAPERS

Fried Chickpeas & Capers

  • 6 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or another high heat oil) divided
  • 3 tablespoons brine packed capers, drained and patted dry
  • ½ cup chickpeas (if from the can drained and patted dry)
  • pinch of smoked paprika
  • pinch of fine sea salt

Salad

  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons minced dill + additional sprigs for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons minced basil, + full leaves for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley + additional sprigs for garnish
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ½ pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Crumbled feta cheese for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the grapeseed oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the capers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown and burst open, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove them to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Carefully add the additional oil to the pan along with the chickpeas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas begin to brown and crisp up. About 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Sprinkle the chickpeas with a pinch of smoked paprika and sea salt.
  2. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey, dill, basil, and parsley. Drizzle in the olive oil and continue to whisk together until smooth. Stir in the salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on a large platter. Drizzle with the dressing and top with the fried capers, chickpeas and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.

Chilies - English.jpg
8.jpg

PAN SEARED FISH WITH TOMATOES & OLIVES

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 white fish fillets 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup pitted olives
  • 2 tbsp parsley or basil to garnish, chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Season both sides of the fish. Fry the fish until golden brown.
  2. Add in the onion and garlic, and fry until fragrant. Add in the tomatoes, lemon juice, and olives, and continue cooking until the fish has cooked through and sauce has reduced a little.
  3.  Pour the sauce over the fish and serve immediately with the herbs.

How about a snack?

How about a snack?

Beef and Horseradish Crostini .jpg

BEEF AND HORSERADISH CROSTINI

FOR THE BEEF

  • ½ kg beef fillet
  • 25g crushed black peppercorns
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Baguette, cut into slices
  • Radishes, sliced
  • Chives

FOR THE HORSERADISH SAUCE

  • 4 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp horseradish sauce
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. On a plate scatter the peppercorns and salt and roll the beef fillet in them so it’s totally coated.
  3. Get a pan smoking hot and add the oil, then place the beef fillet in the pan, turning so it’s seared all over.
  4. Take the fillet out of the pan and place in oven for 10 minutes (15 if you want medium doneness), remove from the oven and tightly wrap in clingfilm, then place in to the freezer for an hour.
  5.  Meanwhile, make the horseradish sauce by mixing the ingredients in a bowl and placing in the fridge.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, toast the baguette and top with the horseradish, then take the beef out of the freezer (it shouldn’t be frozen) and slice finely, draping the beef slices over each of the crostini.
  7. Finish with chives and the sliced radishes.

Blackberry Goat Chesse Crostini.jpg

BLACKBERRY GOAT CHEESE CROSTINI

FOR THE WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE:

  • 60g cream cheese
  • 230g goat cheese
  • salt and pepper

FOR THE CROSTINI:

  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 170g fresh blackberries
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 lime, zested

FOR THE WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE:

  1. Place cream cheese and goat cheese into the bowl of a food processor. Blend for 10 seconds or so, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Blend again for 10-20 seconds until cheese is creamy.
  2. Scoop whipped goat cheese into a small bowl and set aside.

FOR THE CROSTINI:

  1. Pour honey into a small saucepan.
  2. Roll the rosemary sprig around a bit with your hands or hit it a few times with the back of a knife to help it start releasing some of its flavor. Add rosemary to honey and stir to combine.
  3. Warm honey over very low heat – we don’t want it to simmer at all! – for 10-15 minutes to help it absorb the rosemary flavor. Remove from heat and set aside to cool briefly.
  4. Drizzle bread with olive oil and bake at 190C until bread is lightly toasted.
  5. When crostini is toasted, top each one with a bit of whipped goat cheese, then 1 or 2 blackberries. Sprinkle chopped basil and a pinch of lime zest.
  6. Finally, use a small spoon to drizzle a bit of warm honey on top. Serve immediately.

 

 

Seeing London in Color, Cuisine, and Culture

Writing: Nahla Samaha

Travel Experience & Photography: Hoda El-Sherif & Sherif Tamim

From a 1000 year-old market, to the birthplace of Punk, the sensory offerings of London are more than just visual. Now one of the top 5 food capitals of the world, London is a favorite destination for curious as well as discerning taste buds, history geeks, and photographers alike.

Borough market is where our London adventure begins, and a place we keep coming back to, each time discovering something new. This 1000 year-old market place is a foodie and photographer paradise. It is dynamic, exciting, constantly buzzing and always changing. London’s oldest food market is an extravaganza of smells, colors, tastes, accents, and more.

A true melting pot of cultures, and cuisines.

Perusing the food stalls while delighting our taste buds on some of the best food in the world is what we live for! Indulging in the powerful and seductive smells wafting from the food stalls, our olfactory capabilities are on constant high alert.

We love to accompany our food tasting with a bit of conversation: traders have immense culinary knowledge that they gladly share with market visitors.

Another favorite London spot for us is Camden Town. There is no place like Camden. Vibrant, fascinating, a cultural explosion of music and fashion; Camden is the birthplace of Punk, and haven of counter-culture.

Camden is home to the Camden market where cultures and colors clash, and cool is the name of the game. With its own architectural and cultural identity, Camden continues to fascinate us on every visit. The costume shops, the old buildings, the tattoo parlors, the entirely “Camden” fashion sense is something you won’t see anywhere in London. Anti-establishment is still the reigning theme here.

Notting Hill is home to the famous Portobello Market where you can hunt for cool antique finds and munch on something gorgeously delicious from one of its food stalls or trucks.

The charming colored doors of Notting Hill captivate us as we snap away at the explosion of edgy, modern color amid the neutral, classic buildings. Painted so to offer contrast against the normally gray weather in London, offering a visual awakening and sensory respite on cold rainy days.

Perhaps one of London’s many hidden gems, Neale’s Yard has a lot to offer in the way of food. Take Neal’s Yard Dairy, a magical place where all kinds of cheese live! The cheese is exposed (as opposed to refrigerated) and temperature is controlled in an old-school manner where water is sprayed at set intervals to calibrate the humidity in the shop.

One of the most striking things you’ll notice walking around anywhere in London are the shop signs. Incredibly original fonts used to create a shop identity with no images or logos serve as great conversation starters with any of the shop-owners.

A true cosmopolitan city where different cultures come to thrive, and not to blend in, bringing with them their food, music, and more; London is a photographer’s Panodra’s Box.

Rich in every sense of the word with plenty of culinary exploration already under our belt, we cannot wait for our next London visit, guaranteed to give us a whole new set of tastes, sights, and smells!

HOME-COOKING 102

Photography, Recipes and Food Styling: Flavor Republic

(Mahy Megahed, Hana Shash, and Dina Oraby)

Client: Seoudi Supermarkets

Need some breakfast, lunch or dinner inspiration? We've got it covered! Check out our latest recipe series launched exclusively for Seoudi Supermarkets.

GARLIC-STEAMED MUSSELS

● 2 tbsp olive oil

● 8 cloves garlic, chopped

● 2 small shallots, minced

● 1 ½ cup vegetable broth

● 3 tbsp unsalted butter

● 2 tbsp minced thyme

● Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

● 900g mussels, scrubbed

● 2 tbsp minced parsley

● Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook garlic and shallots until golden.
  2. Add broth, butter, thyme, salt, and pepper and boil. Add mussels and cook, covered, until shells open.
  3. Stir in parsley; serve with bread.

Get your dose of vitamins from all the fresh citrus fruits available during winter.

Get your dose of vitamins from all the fresh citrus fruits available during winter.


Put a twist on a classic recipe for a change!

Put a twist on a classic recipe for a change!

Stuffed Pigeons with Roasted Pomegranate - English.jpg

STUFFED PIGEONS WITH CORIANDER RUB & ROASTED POMEGRANATE 

For the stuffing:

  • 100 g rice

  • 50 g pistachio nuts, shelled chopped

  • ½ pomegranate, seeds removed

  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses

  • ½ tsp freshly ground coriander seeds

  • 10 g fresh parsley, leaves removed and finely chopped

  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the pigeons:

  • 6 pigeons

  • 1 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve

  • 1½ pomegranates, broken into rough sections

Directions:

  1. Make the stuffing by mixing all stuffing ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C. Snip out the pigeon necks with scissors and remove the very end part of the wings. Season the inside of the pigeons with salt and black pepper and stuff them.
  3. Mix the coriander and salt together with 1 tbsp of the oil and rub over the pigeons.
  4. Tie the legs loosely with twine. Place the pigeons in boiled water until rice is cooked. Then place them in a roasting tin and pour over 1 tbsp of oil. Roast for 25 minutes. Add the pomegranate pieces, drizzle again with 1 tbsp of oil and roast for another 10 minutes.
  5. Just before serving, squeeze the pomegranate pieces over the birds, and then drizzle them with a little extra olive oil and sprinkle with salt to taste.

What weekends are made of!

What weekends are made of!

RASPBERRY CREAM CHEESE FRENCH TOAST BAKE

• 1 white toast, cut into squares

• 1 container raspberries

• 1 block cream cheese

• 5 eggs

• 1 cup heavy cream

• 1 tbs honey

• ½ tsp cinnamon

• ⅓ cup sugar

• Powdered sugar

• Maple syrup, to serve

Directions:

  1. Spray a 22cm x 22cm baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
  2. Add half of your bread to bottom of pan and sprinkle with raspberries (reserving a few for topping) and cream cheese.
  3. Top with remaining bread and press down.
  4. In bowl mix together eggs, cream, honey, cinnamon and sugar and pour over top of your bake until covered.
  5. Cover with tin foil, pressing down again to smoosh everything together.
  6. Refrigerate overnight.
  7. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking.
  8. Preheat your oven to 170C and place covered bake in and bake for 30 minutes then remove tin foil and bake for another 30 minutes until tops turn golden and center is set.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool slightly and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with syrup.
Save our recipe cards for future use!

Save our recipe cards for future use!


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

1 ½ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp baking powder

¾ tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 and ½ cups whole milk

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 and ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

¼  cup fresh lemon juice

2 tsp lemon zest

For serving:

Maple syrup

Fresh whipped cream

Fresh berries

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; whisk well to combine. In a separate bowl add the eggs and lightly beat them with a whisk. Add in the milk, ricotta, and vanilla and beat until well combined. Stir this wet mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring just until everything is combined. Quickly fold in the lemon juice and zest, stirring until evenly combined. Be careful not to over mix the batter.
  2. Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a buttered hot pan or griddle, adding only a few at a time so that they do not blend together. Cook for about 3 minutes before flipping them over, or until small bubbles form on top. Cook on the second side until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Repeat with all pancake batter. Serve pancakes warm, with syrup or whipped cream & fresh berries.
For the freshest strawberries, always buy them in season.

For the freshest strawberries, always buy them in season.

SEVEN THINGS TO DO IN LUXOR

Writing: Heba El-Sherif

Travel Experience & Photography: Hoda El-Sherif

Luxor. An archaeological treasure trove ballooning with tombs and temples. Time and time again, travellers who set foot in ancient Thebes have hailed it as one of the world’s most grandiose open-air museums. The way the modern city has mushroomed among the ruins of ancient Egypt lends it a particular charm, and maneuvering between its sights makes you wonder about the different types of people who, thousands of years ago, occupied the streets that now lay in between.

As you walk through the city’s streets and marvel at the spectacular ancient temples, it’s easy to feel a certain connection to the past, and a solemn connection to the gods and deities that once looked over this enchanting civilization.

The Nile river, in its purest, bluest form, cuts the city in half. The Karnak and Luxor temples stand tall on the east side, like beacons of culture from a past life that have persisted amid the city’s contemporary landscape. Key sights on the east side also include the Luxor and the mummification museums, the latter a modern day iteration of the ancient ritual. Meanwhile, the west bank is home to Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, The Ramesseum and Tombs of the Nobles, among several other notable attractions.  

Last year, Luxor was named the capital of international tourism for 2016 by the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization, a much-needed recognition that we hope alleviates Egypt’s bruised tourism industry, and an ode to the city’s grandeur.


Here are our favorite activities to do while in Luxor: 

BANANA ISLAND

A banana plantation situated off the coast of Luxor. The island itself is home to a few hundred people and around 90 percent of its land bears bananas.

ALABASTER MAKING

Like their ancestors before them, contemporary craftsmen use hammerstones to morph the light-colored stone into small statues, obelisks, vases and ashtrays. Ancient Egyptians used the slightly translucent stones to create household items, objects used in religious rituals as well as the canopic jars that they buried with their dead. This stop makes for a great moment to buy souvenirs

FELLUCA RIDE

Catch the gentle waves of the Nile as they lap up against the thin, ubiquitous boats. It’s perfect for a sunset excursion, as hues of orange and purple mark the end of the day. In ancient Egypt, the Nile was the main artery that connected different cities together. Boat rides were used to mark the end of life and the beginning of a new, exciting journey -- the afterlife.  

VALLEY OF THE KINGS

Ancient Egypt’s royal figures are said to be buried in this stretch of land, known to contain a total of 63 tombs and chambers. It’s a world heritage sight and is home to Tutankhamun's tomb. 

RAMESSEUM

The memorial temple of Ramses II, with its wide gateways, vast courtyards and calm chambers. Despite restoration efforts, much of the temple is in ruins today. Still, it’s mesmerizing to stand among such spectacular ruins. 

MARSAM, A BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Situated on the west side of the Nile, this historical lodge is more famous as Sheikh Ali's Hotel. Artists, archeologists and researchers are said to have spent time here in the 1920s and 30s, and the hotel still prides itself as a meeting point for anyone passing through the city. The charming composite of rooms overlooks a small courtyard where you can come to have a quiet meal away from the hustle and bustle of Luxor’s center, even if you are not staying overnight. The hotel operates more than thirty rooms, some of which have air conditioners. 

LUXOR SPICE MARKET

The alleys that make up Luxor’s old market are loaded with different types of goodies. The spices section will woo you instantly with its colorful aromas, and although it’s not a place for solitude, it makes for an enjoyable evening stroll. 

Whether or not you are the organized-trip type traveler, spending a few hours at the market should make it on your list of things to do while in Luxor. You will likely be hassled by souvenir-sellers eager to weather their own economic woes, due to a steep decline in tourism. Be ready to bargain, because past their pleas you are guaranteed to find colorful scarves, miniature statues, papyrus illustrations and a vast collection of modern costume jewelry. 

The best time to visit Luxor is between October and April, when temperatures hover around the mid-twenties throughout the hours of day. So if you’re feeling adventurous or have a penchant for ancient civilizations, pack your bags and take a short trip to explore Egypt’s south. You can get there by either plane or train. Egypt’s railway authorities recently launched a revamped sleeper train, promising comfort and two meals throughout the journey, so be sure to check it out.