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ChiFlyer

Shopping, shopping, shopping to turn up an ex-pat kitchen

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ChiFlyer
Posted (edited)

I am an American. Before moving to Thailand last September, I would almost always cook at home in the US. I am an amateur home cook, but somewhat skilled within that category. I was going to return to the US to finish up matters and bring over some more of my cookware. Hello covid.

Speaking of the change to how we now live, I have begun cooking from home more often now and am in the process of turning up an ex-pat kitchen.

I thought I would begin recording my experiences and soliciting input from others who have experiences with this.

For a starter, I really do not like electric stove tops, but this is the only game in town. I currently do not have an oven, but that will change July 1st when we move to a condo with an oven in the kitchen. Looking forward to that, as I can begin to add some items to the dinner lineup such as a meat loaf recipe or finishing things in the oven to cut back on the amount of oil being used.

I like shopping at Villa Market. They have a very good quality of produce, seafood, and meats. They also carry many more American-centric items. Not the cheapest place in town, but I usually find what I am looking for. As an example, I like cooking with bone-in chicken thighs, primarily because they are hard to eff up. Many places sell only hind quarters.

Villa also has a decent lineup of spices. I do not like buying McCormick quality spices at a grocery store because of the uncertainty of the shelf time. In the US I would order spices from a specialty store in Seattle. The difference in quality is very noticeable. For now the Villa Market option will do.

I was a little surprised by some of the things I could not find at the VM.

They did not have cornstarch. I asked the store guy for help and we did some translation app stuff. They carry corn flour (not the same thing), but not cornstarch. I was able to get cornstarch (Argo no less) from Lazada. I use this ingredient frequently in Asian stir fries and also in some American comfort food dishes. Usually I use it as a sauce thickener or a breading for something that I want to fry to be very crispy.

They did no have Sambal Oelek. This is a unique Asian garlic red chile sauce that is very popular in the US and it has a flavor that I really like. I was able to get thru Lazada. Same story for Chinese 5 spice.

They had the Japanese style panko bread crumbs, but they were much coarser than I would see in US. No problem. Put them in a plastic bag and go medieval on them for 5 minutes with a metallic measuring cup or something like that. Note to self -> buy a meat pounder thing.   

They did not have crushed red pepper flakes and neither did Lazada. I use this often for a little base heat in Italian dishes. I suppose finding a heat substitute in Thailand will not be that tough. :)

All in all, I am looking harder to find things (usually because they are packaged differently than I am used to), but I am finding them.

Starting to look into cookware. More later on that topic.

 

Edited by ChiFlyer

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ChiFlyer

After talking to an expat today -----

Crushed red paper flakes (what we are used to seeing in the US) are seldom if ever sold in that form in Thailand. Instead they granulate the red pepper and sell it as more of a powder. This is reported to be at a similar heat and taste level as the US version. One should probably cut back a little on the measurement as the granulated form will likely be more concentrated. For my purposes (adding a little heat to a sauce base) this should work fine. For those that like to top their pizza with a little, probably not so good.

With regard to more western herbs that can be hard to find here, it can be possible to grow your own out on the balcony, providing you have a balcony that gets a little sun. What got me started talking to this particular expat is that he was carrying a couple of young Flat Leaf Parsley plants. Providence. He says you can buy plants like this at Makro out on Sukhumvit. I might try this after I move, although the new condo is on the shady side of the building.

 

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jimboh

Any tips on growing herbs on balcony, thinking of giving it a whirl.

My balcony is shaded till noon, then gets sun full on till sunset.

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ChiFlyer
17 minutes ago, jimboh said:

Any tips on growing herbs on balcony, thinking of giving it a whirl.

My balcony is shaded till noon, then gets sun full on till sunset.

I did some container herb growing back in the states. Sounds like you have sufficient sunlight.

Buy a large enough container and good potting soil with a little fertilizer in it. Keep the plants watered, but do not drown them. Most species need to have the flowers trimmed back or they will go to seed and stop growing.

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Atlas

Hey mate,

Other options to try to find what you want:

BIG C Pattaya Klang (it seems to have more then the one on Pattaya Tai)

Tops (Tukcomm)

Friendship (Pattay Tai)

Foodland (Jomtien)

Makro 

I am sure there are others, they even stock Vegemite and Weet Bix for us Aussies :D

 

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Cheetos
Posted (edited)

Typical purchases for me is potato, cilantro, green onion, red onion, white onion, garlic, carrot. I buy chicken wings, pork ribs, and ground beef. I experiment cooking with all of them. 

Helpful appliances I purchased either from Lazada or 5th floor Central Festival include a Instant Pot pressure cooker, a Phillips Air Fryer, a Vitamix blender, stainless steel wok, cast iron frying pan, and a bread machine. All of these items are more expensive than in California but they fulfill the electricity requirements.

 I am following with interest this thread. Thank you 

Edited by Cheetos

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bangsaenguy
Posted (edited)

Villa normally carries cornstarch, Argo brand. Sometimes other brands. Check their online website. Crushed chili flakes can be found at some local outside markets. Lazada has carbon steel pans. I am a foodie as well and been around awhile. Sometimes I hit 3 or 4 supermarkets to fulfill my shopping list. Corn meal is a necessity for me. Southern boys need cornbread. Sometimes not easy to find I buy cracked corn at the feed store and chuck it into the blender. Works great but takes a good blender.

https://shoponline.villamarket.com/villaselectitems/selected/product/?form_key=NI6bhs43c5jzKew5&k=cornstarch

Edited by bangsaenguy

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ChiFlyer
1 hour ago, bangsaenguy said:

Villa normally carries cornstarch, Argo brand. Sometimes other brands. ....

yep - I checked with the stock guy and he looked it up and it is as you are saying, but they were out of all cornstarch on this particular day.

Although they remain pretty well stocked, I am noticing some gaps in the shelves. The selections in the canned soup section (good for a quick light lunch) have diminished number of choices wise. Same over in the lunch meats.

My number one item for a supermarket is the quality of their produce, seafood, and meats. Villa gets pretty high marks from me. Some of the other stores (Big C, Central Festival,  and Tesco Lotus) also do well in this regard, but they tend not to have the coverage that Villa does with regard to Western dry good choices. Going to try Makro on the way back from Bangsaray tomorrow.

As fussy as I am, I still prefer to do single store shopping when I can. I am beginning to conclude that with regard to spices, oils, and vinegars that my most efficient option is probably Lazada.

Still thinking through the pots and pans stuff. I greatly prefer Lodge for cast iron items and they seem to be available through Lazada for about the same price as in the US. I had a Le Creuset Dutch Oven in the US and will likely replace that at some point, but that is an expensive item. Some other expensive items that I would like to replace at some point are the All Clad stainless steel pans. Those will have to wait for a while. Need things like a food processor and small slow cooker first. Need to manage the counter space as well. 

Nuff to keep me busy here.

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ChiFlyer
Posted (edited)

I have an Extra Virgin Olive Oil brand that I have been using in the US for a number of years. I am quite fond of this brand. I would categorize it as a mid-range EVOO, but really good for that price range. I am referring to  California Olive Ranch.

https://californiaoliveranch.com/

It is not available on Lazada, but I see I can have it shipped to me via a service called iherb.

https://th.iherb.com/pr/California-Olive-Ranch-Fresh-California-Extra-Virgin-Olive-Oil-16-9-fl-oz-500-ml/32167?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6brvovjM6QIVCKmWCh3VigMBEAQYASABEgInXfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Anyone ever use these guys? I certainly would not make a practice out of using them as the shipping charge makes the product almost absurdly expensive. It comes to 773 THB for 16.9 fl oz. In the states I would pay under $15 or 450 THB and that is a Whole Foods price. Still I would only be ordering this a few times a year, so I am willing to pay up on this item because I like it that much.

I have been using Bertolli so far for an EVOO and I have nothing bad to say about it, but compared to California Olive Ranch it is not as clean tasting and has some bitter notes.

Edited by ChiFlyer

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ChiFlyer
14 hours ago, Cheetos said:

Typical purchases for me is potato, cilantro, green onion, red onion, white onion, garlic, carrot. I buy chicken wings, pork ribs, and ground beef. I experiment cooking with all of them. 

......

Did you say pork ribs? :)

I love good pork ribs, but currently have no where to cook them. July 1st we move into a new condo with an oven. Most of my pork ribs recipes call for rubbing a powder into the ribs, warping the ribs in aluminum foil with a white wine based Liquid, slow cooking them, using the Liquid to create a sauce, paste the ribs with the sauce and finish them off under a broiler.

I have seen rib products around town, but then again not what I would call Baby Backs. I am from Chicago and we prefer those to Spare Ribs. Where do you buy your ribs and what choices are there?

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Cheetos

I usually purchase the pork ribs at the Foodland Supermarket inside Terminal 21. Seems very fresh. I marinate them with spicy Korean BBQ sauce and place in the air fryer. Delicious.

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jimboh

How long in the air fryer? Sounds great.

Do you make the marinate yourself?

Would it be possible to do ribs in a slow cooker?

Edited by jimboh

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Cheetos
1 hour ago, jimboh said:

How long in the air fryer? Sounds great.

Do you make the marinate yourself?

Would it be possible to do ribs in a slow cooker?

Cooking time is usually half hour on medium heat for approximately half a kilo of pork ribs. I purchased the Korean bbq marinate at Topps Supermarket in the basement of Central Festival. I purchased the pork ribs at Foodland supermarket butcher shop in Terminal 21, North Pattaya.  You can try any BBQ sauce.  I am certain you can prepare pork ribs in the slow cooker but I have not tried. I think too much moisture will result. Good luck.

Edited by Cheetos

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ChiFlyer

Made it over to Makro on Sukhumvit this afternoon. Wow !!

The fresh produce section has just about any Farang thing I would want (celery, snow peas, wide variety of mushrooms, Italian parsley). The seafood section is really good. The GFs eyes lit up like silver dollars. Turned the corner into the deli area and it is very well stocked with meats and cheeses. Did not see Fontina Cheese, which I like for my Chicken Parm dish, but maybe I just missed it.

Turned the corner into the meats area. It looked to go on forever. The only thing I did not notice was a beef chuck roast offering, but beef has always been harder to find in Thailand.

Spices galore, just about anything I could think of, except crushed red pepper flakes. Only drawback is the volumes being sold are more than I want, but I can live with that.

Looks like I have found my go to place. I will probably supplement it with a few others from time to time.

 

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ChiFlyer
4 hours ago, Cheetos said:

.... I purchased the pork ribs at Foodland supermarket butcher shop in Terminal 21, North Pattaya.  .......

The butcher shop in Terminal 21 sounds interesting. I will have to get over there some time. Do they have some standard US type beef offerings, such as Chuck Roast and Brisket that one would not normally see in a Thai supermarket?

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ChiFlyer

We should have some food pics in a food thread. This is something pretty simple that I put together a few days ago. This is a pork loin chop (in the US midwest we would call this an America's Cut) that was breaded in panko crumbs after being dredged in a beaten egg. The chop was allowed to come to room temperature before cooking and was lightly salted (coarse salt) and given a light dusting of some Cayenne Pepper before the breading process.

It was then slow fried (sauteed at a medium heat if you will) in a small amount of butter and EVOO. It went about 9 minutes per side. I temp most meats before finishing. I was looking for about 145 F on this item. The veg is broccoli topped with some grated Parmesan Reggiano. All items were purchased at Villa Market. The GF loved this dish and declared it my number 1.

Requesting a pic of @CheetosKorean bbq pork ribs next time he makes them.

IMG_2617.thumb.JPG.998e087a0c2074eadec5aa1e02ba73af.JPG

Edited by ChiFlyer

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Cheetos
On 25/05/2020 at 23:55, ChiFlyer said:

The butcher shop in Terminal 21 sounds interesting. I will have to get over there some time. Do they have some standard US type beef offerings, such as Chuck Roast and Brisket that one would not normally see in a Thai supermarket?

I do not know, sorry 

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jimboh

Anyone know where I could get some wholemeal bread flour in Pattaya?

Edited by jimboh

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ChiFlyer
11 hours ago, jimboh said:

Anyone know where I could get some wholemeal bread flour in Pattaya?

I think I saw bread flour in Villa Market, but am not sure if it was wholemeal or what wholemeal is for that matter.

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freedom42

Friendship has good prime rib. I bought some from there, Sous Vide for 28 hours at 150 then use a butane torch to sear it. Horseradish available there as well. The nice thing with a sous vide immersion cooker, you get a bag full of "au jus". I have used it to make a beef gravy for french fries and shredded cheese (would love to find curds here to make a poutine). Friendship also has good quality pork spare ribs at a decent price. I have found the Makro on Sukhumvit to be less hygienic than the one on Pattaya Nua. However at Nua the other day the chicken middle wings had already yellowed on the skin. I always do a sniff test on them to see if they are rank. I had bought a 5 kg bag once and upon opening the bag, the stink would knock the maggots off a gut cart. Straight outside to the bin. I have a small chest freezer bought off lazada to store large amounts of frozen food. I saw large (about 1 kg I would guess) bags of chili powder at Makro today. I know that John over at Bronx Pizza has american style chili flakes. You can pop in and ask where he gets them. Big C on Klang also has good prime rib. I have bought in the past there. I know the butcher section there was farang managed, and had decent quality meats there.

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SirL
On 24/05/2020 at 04:24, jimboh said:

Any tips on growing herbs on balcony, thinking of giving it a whirl.

My balcony is shaded till noon, then gets sun full on till sunset.

I grow herbs in pots on the roof terrace of my house near the Mediterranean (not Pattaya).  In late spring now its about 20C and sunny every day, and in summer it gets up to the high 20'sC and very sunny, so it is not as hot as Pattaya.

Here, the full sun now is just about too much for delicate little herbs, so I use a beach umbrella open over them in the middle of the day to shelter them from the full sun.  I close the umbrella mornings and evenings so they get full sun.  In the summer the heat unsheltered would be just about too much for herbs.  Tomatos are different from herbs, and the toms here love full sun, as much sun and water as they can get, and they grow like on steroids.

IMGP0266.thumb.JPG.e73b1011ddf8d58afb447dec623eb1d7.JPG

Based on that, I reckon shaded till noon then full sun until sunset in Pattaya would be close to too much sun and heat for delicate herbs, and you might choose to find some umbrella-type shade arrangement in early afternoon.  Shade in Pattaya on the dark side of a building might well work better (though the plants would grow fairly slowly) than full sun on the light side of the building.  I reckon the full Pattaya sun would evaporate the water in earth in pots fairly quickly, so you'd have to be quite fussy in how often you watered the plants - watering is always more fussy in pots than in open ground.

Edited by SirL

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ChiFlyer

Time for another food pic. One of my go to dishes back in the states was Linguine and Clams. Secured most of the necessary ingredients today at Makro today and substituted a couple as well. It turned out pretty well. I need to tune it a little more for the available ingredients, but all in all it turned out well. The Thai GF said that it is very good farang food.

1357239186_Home-LinguineandClamsB.thumb.jpg.70d8f9f527c4f35d49a4a9ab4cc24d3c.jpg

 

1814614863_Home-LinguineandClamsC.thumb.jpg.07b3dea8d4aebde58fc03ff435f6a5fd.jpg

 

Here is the base recipe that was sort of followed.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/spicy-linguine-with-clams-and-mussels-recipe-1922146

 

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ChiFlyer
On 28/05/2020 at 04:19, freedom42 said:

......

The nice thing with a sous vide immersion cooker, you get a bag full of "au jus". I have used it to make a beef gravy for french fries and shredded cheese (would love to find curds here to make a poutine). Friendship also has good quality pork spare ribs at a decent price. .......

Interesting about the immersion cooker. One of my favorite cooking TV shows ever was Alton Brown's "Good Eats". He did a reboot of that last year and in one of the episodes he covered emerging cooking techniques. In that episode he spoke to immersion cooking

https://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/good-eats/episodes/immersion-therapy

 

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ChiFlyer

Stopped in at Villa Market today looking for anchovies. I did not see them. I bought a bottle from Lazada instead. The Lazada option is a little expensive on this item due to only a large bottle being available, so I would like to find a supermarket that carries them. I do not use them very often, but I have a few recipes that they are needed in (Pasta Putenesca, Beef Bourguignon). Some anchovy paste would be nice as well.

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forcebwithu
2 hours ago, ChiFlyer said:

Stopped in at Villa Market today looking for anchovies. I did not see them. I bought a bottle from Lazada instead. The Lazada option is a little expensive on this item due to only a large bottle being available, so I would like to find a supermarket that carries them. I do not use them very often, but I have a few recipes that they are needed in (Pasta Putenesca, Beef Bourguignon). Some anchovy paste would be nice as well.

Siamburi's on the Khao Talo may have what you're looking for.

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