The horrible heat is finally over, the rains are here to stay In Nong Khai. This is good news for the farmers who now can plant the staple food of Asia: Rice. Many plants in our tropical Botanical Garden are waking up and prosper again, but we have one huge victim at Discovery Garden Nong Khai: Our oldest Avocado tree fell down. Consolation is drawn from a delicious fish dish Tonno Tonnato which contains home made mayonnaise.
Sala Keoku or Wat Kaek is a must for any visitor of Nong Khai. Giant fantastic concrete sculptures, inspired by Buddhism and Hinduism, are assembled in this unique theme park. The monuments are up to 25 meters high and its creator, Bunleua Sulitat, sadly died after a fall from one of his creations. Was the artist a mad man or a saint? Time for the arguably best noodle soup of the world as long as we are still alive.
Many Thai faithfuls believe Buddha was born under a Cannonball tree. But that is nonsense. This unique and beautiful tree can be found in many Thai temples though due to this misconception. Hans Fritschi remembers seeing his first Cannonball tree in Rio de Janeiro. It took him 14 years until he could plant one at Discovery Garden Nong Khai. A virtual trip to Rio de Janeiro and Zurich.
The Tasadej, the famous Nong Khai Indochina market, is slowly reopening after the long lockdown. This unique market at the shores of the mighty Mekong river offers many interesting products from Laos, Vietnam and China. Hans Fritschi has only eaten his last beloved Servelat salad six weeks ago and is therefore suffering of acute withdrawal symptoms. But at said Indochina market he finds an alternative product that can be turned into an Asian-Thai sausage salad that may even be more delicious than the original Swiss Servelat salad.
Figs are not very common in Thailand, but widely grown at Discovery Garden Nong Khai. Hans Fritschi shows how easy it is to propagate fig plants. He uses sweet figs to prepare his version of a tropical Muesli, consisting of local products only. The original Muesli was invented by Maximilian Bircher-Benner, a Swiss physician (1867 – 1939). It contained oats, apples, nuts, honey and lemon.
The European yellow lemons are not widely grown and used in Thailand. Once hailed as a remedy against scurvy, there are many culinary uses of yellow lemons with fish and poultry. They can easily be turned into delicious Limoncello which is a well known Italian digestive.
In the beginning of the Corona crisis Hans Fritschi built up strategic reserves of durable goods. But now that the supply chains obviously have not broken down he starts using them up. A nice frozen pork collar is turned into a Rosemary roast pork accompanied by mashed potatoes containing delicious nutmeg from a Thai garden.
Black, white and green pepper all derive from the same tropical plant, it is a question of processing, what you will get. If you boil and dry green pepper, that is black pepper. If you dry and peel ripe green pepper aka as red pepper this is white pepper. And do not forget to use purifying salt, if you want to preserve meat in a very tasty way.
Now is Mango season in Thailand, this delicious fruit is being sold in abundance on all markets, prices plummet. The problem is, how to conserve perishable Mango without freezing their flesh? Hans Fritschi explains how he makes a mouthwatering jam: He adds sourish Passion fruits that bring in a slightly sourish nuance to the predominant sweetness of the Mango. In the end that delicious Passion Mango jam will last outside the fridge for at least nine months.