Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

My Experience with Thailand and Its Cuisine

I've never been to Thailand. However, when I lived in Tokyo, it was the destination of choice for many of my fellow teachers when they wanted to get out of the city for a little R&R during the holiday seasons. They always came back tan and relaxed, raving about the food, the nightlife, the people, the beaches and the scenery. One of them, a young man named Paul Faure, even fell in love with a Thai woman and bought her family a cow to give as a gift when he went to ask her father for her hand in marriage. Alas, my exotic Asia travel was curtailed by my pregnancy, so my travel experience was limited to several wonderful vacations to nearby destinations in Japan. Of course, I wouldn't trade my son Will for all the travel adventures in the world, and besides, there's still plenty of time to see and do it all.

As for Thai cuisine here in the U.S., I've only eaten it a few times. In my catering days, the ubiquitous Peanut Satay was a favorite finger food at all the gala events, and years ago, I think I had dinner at a Thai restaurant in Berkeley. But that was about the extent of it, until Rene took me to an unpretentious little place here in Napa called Thai Kitchen. I don't remember the names of all the dishes we had, but I recall everything being quite sweet, and a little spicy. I remember enjoying the salad most of all, but then that's true of nearly every meal. I really love salad.

The learning curve is going to be steep again this month, but judging from my advance research, it doesn't look very complicated. Can't wait to get started learning all about the cuisine and choosing the dishes.