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Phuket On The Menu: The Art of food

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket On The Menu: The Art of food | The Thaiger

PHUKET: When checking in on Facebook one often comes across photographs of food; meals about to be consumed at restaurants and in homes. With the advent of ‘smart phones’ it seems everyone now has a camera ready to snap a shot of their dinner or their cat, or even their cat’s dinner.

Among my Facebook friends is local artist Jayda Ponlid who posts photos of food regularly, interspersed with images of her artwork. These photos show large quantities of food being prepared and while finding out why this was so, I became a regular visitor to her ‘Kitchen of Love’.

Jayda, is a very popular and very active person and uses the social network to inform her 2,300-plus followers of her daily activities.

So when her fiance, Thiwa Wa Singha, lovingly cooked traditional Thai specialties for her, using only the freshest and most authentic ingredients, she posted photos of these offerings online. Immediately some of her friends and fans wanted the recipes and even asked if she could send some of the beautifully prepared food to them to taste.

When one particularly well-heeled fan in Bangkok pleaded that she share this food, stating that money was no object, Jayda looked into the possibilities of sending food to the capital and decided to treat this as an art project. Her first dish, a pineapple fried rice, was flown to the capital for 1,000 baht a box, including delivery.

A year on, their ‘Kitchen of Love’ now sends out orders all over Thailand. Her regular clients include famous Thai movie and TV stars, singers and even royalty, but Jayda insists that she does not do this only for money and limits the orders to 29 people a day which is the maximum amount Jayda and her fiance can cope with, in order to add the magic ingredient that has people ordering weeks in advance. That ingredient is love.

“When my fiance started cooking for me I enjoyed it so much that I pretended I couldn’t cook. He is an artist like myself and each dish was made with such feeling that eventually I had to own up that I also knew how to cook and then cooked for him.” said Jayda.

Between them they now have 85 recipes and each time they cook they put all their heart and creativity into the meals, with music in the background and a few dance moves thrown in for measure.

“My mother taught me how to cook when I was very young; it was always a happy time. She used to sing while cooking and explained to me how she imagined how happy people would be when they tasted her food. Maybe these are old fashioned values, but nowadays people just don’t take the time to prepare delicious food and eat together as a family” explains Jayda as she places three huge plates of their ‘crab meat spaghetti’ on the table in front of us. The generous portions are delicious and packed with huge chunks of crab – more than I have ever had at any traditional restaurant.

Jayda notices my delight and explains that in order to get 25 kilos of crab meat she needs to buy 100 kilos of fresh crab at auction and hires sea gypsies to carefully decorticate the fragile meat. It is this attention to detail and the fact that she is at the fresh market at 4am that I am now tasting and I begin to understand why they limit orders to 29. Given the hours and quality ingredients that go into each dish, prices (which range from 650 to 1,500 baht a dish) are very reasonable.

Phuket customers must make their order online before midnight on Thursday and collect the still-warm prepared food on Friday between 5-10pm. I have done this a few times and have run into a few local celebs, including the owner of a famous five-star resort, arriving at the same time.

Customers from the rest of Thailand get their orders in from Monday to Wednesday and through a complex system of delivery – involving airplanes, motorcycles and dry ice – receive their ‘food parcel’ at home as can be seen by the photos of happy recipients on her Facebook page.

What started out as a three-week art project has now turned into a thriving business, yet Jayda still finds time to take care of her eight dogs; three kids; art gallery and teaching projects.

And her personal favorite dish? “That would have to be our Andaman Salad because of the colors and taste. In with the multi-colored salad leaves are crab meat, fish, shrimp, seaweed, oysters, shrimp roe and lemon. A feast for the eyes and the palate and a real taste of Phuket.” she enthuses.

As for future projects Jayda and her fiance have a couple of exhibitions coming up in Bangkok and Taiwan, then plan to instate an intimate single table concept in their own garden where a bespoke romantic evening meal is prepared while the pampered guests chat among the rose bushes knowing that they are the only patrons that evening receiving 100 per cent attention.

Such an evening can only be found at the unique and aptly named ‘Kitchen of Love’.

For more information visit Jayda’s Facebook page, or call her on 089 289 8852.

Keep checking our Phuket Lifestyle and events calendar pages for the latest happenings across the island. Join our Facebook fan page or follow us at @PhuketGazette .

— Marc Mulloy

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Entertainment

BTS launch their new album on April 12, appear on Saturday Night Live the next day. Why this matters.

The Thaiger & The Nation

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BTS launch their new album on April 12, appear on Saturday Night Live the next day. Why this matters. | The Thaiger

The music business is about to have another one of those seismic shifts in the next month as the power of the music business continues to dribble away from western record company influences to a more democratic, social media-driven, business model.

In the past two years, mainly, a small South Korean production house has re-tooled the massive world music business (and it is, first and foremost a ‘business’) with one product.

Bangtan Sonyeondan, better know around the world simply as BTS.

The seven members of the K-Pop phenomenon (and the word phenomenon is aptly applied in this case) actually debuted in 2013 after forming originally in 2011, but they’re hardly an overnight success with real struggles threatening their success along the way. The BTS that writes, produces and performs in 2019 is a slick, highly professional performance and business unit that has, mostly by design, completely rejigged the fatally-wounded ‘old’ music business model. From a try-hard hip hop band to world-class music artists is a fascinating journey in the annals of the modern music business.

Also consider they’ve done this singing, mostly, in Korean.

Whilst the record companies continue to roll out the ‘oldies’ with another Greatest Hits compilation, or interpret their 70s and 80s heroes on the big screen (another guarantee to boost flagging music sales and downloads), there is some light at the end of the music tunnel which gives us hope of some great tunes ahead.

From first impressions the septet of BTS are just another fresh-faced boyband with catchy hooks, hair tosses and screaming fans – we’ve seen it all before, right? Except that they’re South Korean in a white-washed music world.

But behind the facade is some raw talent, a highly skilled back-room and the use of social media as a jack-hammer, not just a tool. After charting two of their albums at #1 in the Billboard Hot 200 last year, a first for a Korean band, appearances on the American Music Awards, the Grammies, Ellen, all the popular Tonight Shows, the front cover of TIME and a series of sell-out concerts around the US, the seven young men are about to take the next big step, and it will be big.

Days after BTS announcing their forthcoming Map of the Soul: Persona album coming April 12, they also announced they are appearing on SNL, Saturday Night Live, (NOT Donald Trump’s favorite TV show) the day after.

Saturday Night Live announced that BTS will make their musical debut with Emma Stone, a self-declared K-pop fan, on the April 13 episode.

SNL is a highly coveted stage for any performer and has the ability to bring an artist to new heights of their career. A pre-fame Adele performing in a 2008 episode went on to the highest-rated episode in 14 years and sent her 19 album to new highs on the charts.

BTS, although still in their early to mid-20s, are already seasoned live and television performers. There would be more BTS live YouTube clips on the net than any other performer, period. They know the performance craft and how to play an audience. The sales of their music speaks for itself, their YouTube click numbers are astonishing. Type ‘BTS’ into Google and you get 490,000,000 results!

BTS launch their new album on April 12, appear on Saturday Night Live the next day. Why this matters. | News by The Thaiger

And that’s part of the magic formula that separates them from just about every previous band. Whilst using social media is nothing new, BTS has amassed an enormous world-wide audience of music downloaders, ticket and merchandise buyers and sheer screaming hordes beyond anything previously attainable. And there’s a lot more to come as the fan base spreads out of Asia into the rest of the world.

Of course it’s easy to say the band came along at the right time, given the rise and rise in social media’s impact on our lives. But they’ve been first band to really harness the power in ways most other bands never even thought about.

Their fanbase is called ‘Army’, an appropriate name given the onslaught on music fandom around the globe. That the enormous fanbase started in Asia and is spreading westward is something we’ve not seen before.

BTS also deliver a different message aimed squarely at their peers and not with the same gloss and sheen of most other K-Pop. It’s sometimes raw, always relevant, reflecting their own battles and scars as young people growing up in a complex world. They cry, they share their fears, they argue on their videos, they’re humble – it’s very different.

The BTS-on-SNL program will be, easily, the biggest audience the show will EVER have, not by a little, by a LOT. That’s quite an easy prediction given BTS’s chart history, their YouTube viewer numbers, their growing appeal and the sell-out concerts, around the world.

For a crash course in BTS, check out this video (below). There are also thousands, yes thousands, of other videos apart from their award-winning music videos as well. Such is the power of Army, the power of social media, the power of good music well performed, and the hope that cream always, eventually, rises to the top.

The Saturday Night Live episode airs in the US on April 13.

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Thai Life

A new visa paperwork problem for some expats?

The Thaiger

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A new visa paperwork problem for some expats? | The Thaiger

We get occasional emails from expats relating their various problems with Immigration as they apply for new visas or renewals. The common thread is that applying for, and renewing visas, is becoming unnecessarily complicated.

This one seems complex. Names have been withheld for privacy.

“I am a British citizen and my baby’s visas were renewed without an issue, but the Thai immigration has caused problems for my wife and wants me to prove that I am married to my Chinese wife so that I can renew her dependent visa for a third year.

The man’s wife and baby are on Dependent visas tied to his ‘Retirement’ visa.

Our marriage certificate is in Chinese so in order to get Immigration to acknowledge our marriage, she now has to go back to China to have our marriage certificate notarised and translated, first in her local home area, then sent to China’s foreign affairs office in Beijing for their stamp, THEN to the Thai embassy in Shanghai for their stamp, THEN to Bangkok for the Chinese embassy’s stamp.

This takes many weeks/months and it’s simply a joke and is ‘mission impossible’ to do.

My wife flew out to China today and I am at home here in Phuket with our 1 year old baby who was born here at the Siriroj Hospital.

The new guy in charge at the local Immigration office has apparently decided that the certified translation from an authorised translator here in Phuket, which was ok in previous years is now NOT recognised or accepted.

We have brought all our money here and own two properties.  We have money in the bank, private medical insurance, spend all our money here, our baby was born here, but they have split up the family.?

“I just wondered if anyone else is aware of these changes?”

“It’s crazy to penalise the good, law abiding people and break up a family.  I thought once I was on a retirement visa and met all the requirements that all would be ok?! But no.”

“We have been to the Chinese consulate here in Phuket, they cannot help. My wife’s visa runs out in 2 days so she has had to leave….. !?!?

And get this… from last year onwards all Thai embassies in China (Shanghai Beijing Guangzhou, etc) are all saying they need at least one month to process any non-immigrant visas (dependent, business or education visas). Why is it all becoming so complicated?

Not to mention that the months and huge expense wasted every year to do this is staggeringly stupid.  We have been hear for years, retired for the last two years and now this paperwork road-block!?!”

PS. I worked and lived in China for over 6 years, and later retired here in Thailand, I have been married for 7 years and my wife and I have been together over 11 years now.

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Thai Life

Top 10 ways to cope with the humidity in Thailand

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Top 10 ways to cope with the humidity in Thailand | The Thaiger

It’s humid most of the year in Thailand. In the southern areas, during the ‘wet season’, it’s hot and humid all the time. You will sweat, a lot. Or in the case of ladies, you will perspire. Plenty of showers and common sense are your best simple advice. You WILL get used to it after a month or so and probably never worry about it again. In the meantime, here’s the Top 10 ways to do something about it…

1. Drink plenty of water

Drink lots of (bottled) water. Don’t drink out of the taps, even in the fanciest of hotels. Drinking lots of water will keep you hydrated and help you avoid headache, nausea and dizziness. If you come from a cooler climate you will find yourself needing to drink at least twice as much as you did before. (The Thaiger suspects that the water supply in many built up areas is probably potable these days – the ‘don’t drink the tap water’ story has been around for three decades. But be safe and drink the bottled water, it’s very cheap in Thailand.)

Top 10 ways to cope with the humidity in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

2. You need more salt than usual

…but most Thai food has plenty of salt already. When sweating you lose a lot of salt in the form of sweat. Just eating a few Thai meals each day will provide you with all the salt you need. But the evils of adding extra salt aren’t quite as evil when living in Thailand.

Top 10 ways to cope with the humidity in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

3. Wear loose fitting clothing made from natural fibres

Most of the time you’re only going to be wearing a single layer. Go for light colours and natural fabrics like cotton and linen. You will almost never wear a jacket or need a tie. Ladies, think ‘hot summer days’. Here’s your excuse to wear one of those outrageous tropical print shirts. But don’t feel too inclined to get your gear off – the Thai’s don’t appreciate TOO much skin – respect the local customs regarding skimpy clothing. Speaking of your clothes, beware closing the wardrobe door in the wet season. Without air circulation, after even less than a week, you’ll open to wardrobe doors to a sea of black mould. Just leave them open.

Top 10 ways to cope with the humidity in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

4. Exercise first thing in the morning or last thing at night

Don’t exercise in the middle of the day unless you’re insane. The heat of the day is best spent shopping, inside an air-conditioned office or as a siesta time. Go for a swim, take a nap. If you do need to be outside refer Item 3! All the running events (getting increasingly popular around Thailand) are held around 4 or 5 am. Get the idea? Take a bottle of water with you and drink more than you might usually drink during your exercise.

Top 10 ways to cope with the humidity in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

5. Wear a hat

Hats can be fashionable but in Thailand they’re also very functional. A hat will stop sweat dripping down your face and prevents the sun hitting you directly on your head, face or eyes. Sunglasses are also very important to protect your eyes from damaging UV. They also tell your brain that it’s not quite as bright as it actually is. Shade, generally, is worth pursuing as standing out in the sun, at any time, can really drain your energy and dehydrate you faster. Although the sun light isn’t particularly intense, it is hot, hot, hot when added to the humidity level.

Top 10 ways to cope with the humidity in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

6. Take your time – sabai, sabai

There’s no need to rush – adjust to a slower pace. Do what the locals do. Thai’s rarely rush around and tend to manage their pace to the levels of the heat and humidity. Rushing around will just heat up your body temperature and expose your body to heat-stress. Sabai, sabai (relax!)

Top 10 ways to cope with the humidity in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

7. Avoid air-conditioning, if you can

OK, it’s hot, we get it, but AC will likely cause your body even more stress if you spend all day in an air-conditioned room. Seek out cool places, sure, but try a fan, sitting in a cool breeze or under a tree. AC will really dry your air passages and your skin. For sleeping turn on the AC for an hour before you go to bed then use the ceiling fan (or a floor fan) for the rest of the night. Very few locals, even expats, will use AC for sleeping.

Top 10 ways to cope with the humidity in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

8. When in Rome, do as the Romans do

When it Thailand, watch the locals. They’re not running around the streets in the middle of the day and enjoy many showers during the day as well. Turn down the hot water when you head to the shower. Many Thais don’t even have hot water connected to their shower. Why bother? Especially if you live in the southern areas where the running water is quite warm, like the tropicals seas. A cold-water shower a few times a day will help keep you cool and refreshed. After showering it’s a good precaution to use some talcum powder in the ‘nether regions’ as sweat build-up and bacteria will thrive in a humid climate, sometime leading to rashes and itching. Nasty!

Top 10 ways to cope with the humidity in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

9. Mop up the sweat

You will sweat. Your body needs to sweat to help maintain your body temperature. A damp towel carried around in a plastic bag will be a perfect way to wipe your face, neck or hands from time to time. Some of us perspire more than others but there’s no problem in mopping up the perspiration from time to time – you’re not the only one sweating you know.

Top 10 ways to cope with the humidity in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

10. Eat healthy, light food

Lighter, less stodgy food is going to make your body work less to digest and keep you feeling a lot cooler and refreshed. Local fresh fruit and salads should be included in a humid-climate diet. Some of the Thai spicy dishes can be quite light as well but maybe keep off the heavier curries until the evening. Coconut water is available everywhere, cheap and very refreshing. You also have the prefect excuse for an ice-cream too! 

Top 10 ways to cope with the humidity in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

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