SLIDE SHOW: Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand

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Jarrett Wrisley


My trip in the south began with a feast at a friend's home, where we ate a pig whose parts made their way into curries, stir-fries and soups. No part was spared—simmered liver and intestines were first eaten by the men as a drinking snack just an hour after the pig was killed. Here, it's being butchered by the women in the family.


Jarrett Wrisley gathers traditional recipes in Nakhon Si Thammerat province in
Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand.

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Jarrett Wrisley


A staff member at Koton carves a carrot. I didn't fare as well.


Jarrett Wrisley gathers traditional recipes in Nakhon Si Thammerat province in
Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand.

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Jarrett Wrisley


In the center is a photograph of Koton, who came to the South of Thailand about 60 years ago and started a simple restaurant serving chicken rice and pork leg in the style of his native Hainan, China. Over the years, his business evolved into two restaurants, one very large and one smaller, serving Southern Thai and Thai/Chinese dishes.


Jarrett Wrisley gathers traditional recipes in Nakhon Si Thammerat province in
Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand.

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Jarrett Wrisley


The flow of food at Koton runs through the wok stations of two cool-tempered cooks, who can easily serve 100 guests with speed and efficiency. Each of them works three woks at once. And get this, Gordon Ramsay—they treat each other nicely, too.


Jarrett Wrisley gathers traditional recipes in Nakhon Si Thammerat province in
Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand.

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Jarrett Wrisley

The head chef serving a steamboat of tum yum goong, Central Thailand's ubiquitous soup.


Jarrett Wrisley gathers traditional recipes in Nakhon Si Thammerat province in
Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand.

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Jarrett Wrisley


Each day begins with a trip to Sichon's morning market, which opens around 4.30 am. The market unfurls down a main street.


Jarrett Wrisley gathers traditional recipes in Nakhon Si Thammerat province in
Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand.

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Jarrett Wrisley


Different grades of gapi, the funky fermented shrimp paste that, along with turmeric and chili-laced curry pastes, is the base of much of Southern Thailand's pungent tastes.


Jarrett Wrisley gathers traditional recipes in Nakhon Si Thammerat province in
Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand.

8_WrisleySS.jpg

Jarrett Wrisley

A women sells satho, sometimes called "stink bean" in English. Usually cooked with pork, prawns and a splash of coconut and curry, satho tastes a bit like bitter sulfur. Still, it's delicious.


Jarrett Wrisley gathers traditional recipes in Nakhon Si Thammerat province in
Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand..

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Jarrett Wrisley


After the market, we picked bird's eye chilies for the day's service. About 14 pounds of them. And that's only one type of chili in a kitchen with an arsenal of spicy stuff at its disposal.


Jarrett Wrisley gathers traditional recipes in Nakhon Si Thammerat province in
Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand.

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Jarrett Wrisley


Here, a woman sells two types of curry paste—gaeng som and gaeng phet—at the morning market. Southern Thailand has a large Muslim community.


Jarrett Wrisley gathers traditional recipes in Nakhon Si Thammerat province in
Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand.

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Jarrett Wrisley

I loved this simple chicken soup, cooked with lots of galangal, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, chili, and shrimp paste. It was served at one of our numerous staff meals.


Jarrett Wrisley gathers traditional recipes in Nakhon Si Thammerat province in
Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand.

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Jarrett Wrisley


This is khao kha moo, the braised pork dish from China that started it all at the restaurant. It's still one of Koton's signature dishes, and about the only one that isn't blisteringly spicy.


Jarrett Wrisley gathers traditional recipes in Nakhon Si Thammerat province in
Spicy, Fishy, Sour: Cooking in Southern Thailand.

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Jarrett Wrisley hails from Allentown, Pennsylvania. For the past seven years, he's been working as a writer in Asia, though he still dreams of greasy cheese steaks. More

Jarrett Wrisley hails from Allentown, Pennsylvania. For the past seven years, he's been working as a writer in Asia, though he still dreams of (and occasionally returns for) greasy cheese steaks. Jarrett's first trip to Asia came as a college student, when he traveled to Beijing to study Mandarin Chinese. He returned to China after graduation, and began writing about Chinese food in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. After a six-month stint in Chengdu, he moved on to Shanghai, where he worked as a food critic and magazine editor for four years before striking out on his own. After six years in China, he recently moved to Bangkok, where yellow-clad protesters immediately shut down the airport where he had just landed. Luckily for him, he couldn't leave—and now intends to stay. Jarrett is presently working on a series of modern Chinese cookbooks with Hong Kong chef Jereme Leung and writing features that focus on food and culture in Asia. He'll be bouncing around the region as much as possible and writing about things he encounters along the way. His blog trains an eye on food but addresses other cultural phenomena, tidbits of travel, and the oddball politics of East Asia.
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