With Roger van Damme in Northern Thailand (2)
Chef Roger van Damme – famous for this great restaurant Het Gebaar in Antwerp and recently crowned as ‘best pastry chef of the world’ is a big fan of the Thai kitchen. The country is one of Roger’s favourite destinations for both (culinary) travel and of course the delicious Thai cuisine. In the Njam! television program ‘Culinair Thailand’ one could already follow Roger last year in the ‘land of smiles’ and behind the (Thai) stove.
In March 2018, we travelled to Thailand together with Roger – this time to the beautiful North – for the shootings of the new series and a portion of (tasty) inspiration. An inspiring journey with an equally inspiring team! You can discover the report of the first part of our trip here, we continue in this article with the hotpots of the second part of our trip:
Part 2: Chiang Rai & the ‘Golden Triangle’
Local market in Chiang Saen & cooking with the locals
Once arrived at our destination, the beautiful Golden Triangle, we headed to the local market immediately. In Chiang Saen, there is a colourful permanent market in the morning and a nice night market. We visited the first one and bought ingredients to cook with a local family afterwards.
Located in the green hills about 12 km north of Chiang Rai, Doy Din Dang Pottery is the work of famous Thai artist Doi Din Dang. The artist and his team produce original pieces that are both functional and decorative and adapt them to a contemporary lifestyle. A beautiful place where you can also buy the artworks too. Our team even got the opportunity to dirty their hands and to make some ‘works of art’ themselves.
The most expensive coffee in the world
In the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, you can sip from a cup of the most expensive coffee in the world: the Black Ivory Coffee. This type of coffee is the rarest and most expensive coffee in the world. The wives of the mahouts (elephant caretakers) pick the best Thai Arabica coffee beans and use them as part of the food of the elephants. The elephants cannot digest these beans, but a sort of fermentation occurs during the digestion. Afterwards, the beans are …. removed from the elephant poop. After washing (important!) and drying, a unique coffee is produced. We taste a floral aroma with notes of chocolate, nuts and berries. An accessible, not too bitter kind of coffee with a unique flavour profile. Nice to know: this coffee is about as expensive as caviar!
Country hopping in the Golden Triangle
The end of our trip to Northern Thailand actually took place in three countries atthe same time: Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. The Golden Triangle is an area of approximately 950,000 square kilometres located on the border of these three countries. In the past, the region was mainly known for its opium production, but fortunately enough this has changed considerably due to the ‘Royal Project’. Through this project, opium production was turned into a sustainable industry with the cultivation of vegetables, fruit, flowers and other crops, and thus a better lifestyle for the local population.
Do you want to visit the golden triangle in a truly unique way? Then book a stay at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. You only arrive here by boat and you will sleep in luxurious tents in the middle of the jungle. Not cheap, but an unforgettable experience!
Your stay in Chiang Rai / Golden Triangle
The Anantara Resort in Chiang Rai
The exclusive Anantara Resort Golden Triangle Chiang Rai enjoys a truly stunning location in the Golden Triangle. Perched on a ridge overlooking Myanmar, Thailand and Laos, every room opens a window to breath-taking nature. The resort also has an on-site elephant camp, designed as a traditional mahout village.
Food-wise, guests can have lunch and dinner in one of the two restaurants in the hotel itself or at a location of your choice with ‘Dining by Design’. It is a hotel where you can completely unwind and become one with nature.
Flying to Bangkok is possible directly from Brussels with Thai Airways, and that no less than 5 times a week! More information can be found on this website.