It’s been an exciting last few days for us, with Christina advancing along her pathway to Jiu Jitsu mastery, us meeting the Thai Ambassador over lunch at her residence, going to the Women’s World Cup games and a round of golf for everyone!
We hope you enjoy this Edition
Jim & Christina x
We’re up early this morning to head to Christina’s dojo! She’s been going to Japanese Jiu Jitsu classes for about 18 months now and today is an important day. She’s grading for her next belt!
I try to sit inconspicuously at one end of the dojo (I don’t think I’ve managed that, but thankfully I know quite a few of the people in the room) and watch Christina give Bill a good kicking!
This is the first time I’ve been able to come and watch Christina and I must say I’m very impressed. And a bit scared!
And she’s done it! Now Christina’s a fully fledged blue belt Jiu Jitsu practitioner! Very proud.
Today, Christina and I are out with her mum for a round of golf. Ordinarily, Chris and her mum go out on Tuesday mornings, but because there’s been a big competition on earlier today that Jeanette didn’t take part in, we’ve been able to book a general tee-off in the afternoon.
It’s the perfect day for it and it’s a lot of fun – though the cold beer at the 19th is probably my favourite part!
This afternoon, we’ve travelled to Mosman to the Residence of the Consul-General of Thailand!
We’ve been here a couple of times before, but the views from the beautiful Sydney house never get old.
It’s not the vistas that we’re here for though today.
In a push to promote how Thailand is moving forward to become a more sustainable destination, we’re shown a huge selection of products that put a big tick in the green box.
Everything here is environmentally friendly, from food and drinks (there are some plant-based prawn crackers here I really want to try), to ornaments and kitchenware made from things like recycled fishing nets, to biodegradable skin, hair and beauty products. It’s quite impressive.
Part of Thailand’s National Plan, this concept of sustainability is good news for travellers conscious of the environment.
Thailand’s focus on an initiative towards Bio-Circular-Green Economy, which focuses holistically on society, the economy and the environment, is a great step forward for the country.
We hear from the Consul-General of Thailand, Mrs Hataya Khunsakul, the Director of Thai Trading, Ms Wanasari Jotikabukkana, and of course the Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Mrs Busakorn Prommanot, as they explain this new move and how it’ll benefit both visitors and citizens of Thailand alike.
Soon, we move downstairs to the dining room, where we find stations of food from all over Thailand.
Our chef, the illustrious Chef Bongkoch ‘Bee’ Satongun, who owns Paste Restaurant in Mittagong as well as others in Thailand, has created a journey through the regions through her incredible Michelin Star cooking.
Starting in Northern Thailand with kao soi tofu, a traditional noodle curry soup from Chiang Mai that came about from trade caravans in the 19th Century, then a rich tender duck larb salad from the north-east of the country.
From southern Thailand, famous for its spicy food, is a wonderful roast pork shoulder with Hokkaido scallops. It’s a dry curry known as ‘kua kling‘ – though this translates simply as ‘very hot’ in English!
Finally, from central Thailand, are two watermelon dishes.
The first is a watermelon rind soup, which we’ve never seen before. It combines the thick skin of a white watermelon (not a green one) with fish roe soup and seabass in tofu-skin dumplings.
But my favourite and one that you can hopefully still get at Paste in the South Coast – Chef Bee says she was going to take it off the menu but I tried to convince her to keep it – is the watermelon salad.
It doesn’t sound that impressive, but the dish at the bottom of this photo (Chef Bee is in the middle in between her staff) is a fascinating combination of crunchy watermelon, minced salmon and crispy shallots, roasted galangal powder and Huon River trout caviar.
This dish really shows off Chef Bee’s skills and also the way that Thai food is always about balance of flavours. It comes from the old capital of Thailand, the river city of Ayutthaya (check out our guide to this beautiful ruined city here) and was a snack usually served at the royal palace in the summer.
No wonder I like this one the most!
This evening, Christina and I are at Sydney Football Stadium, not far from where Christina used to live when we first met.
But we’re not here to reminisce; we’re here to watch the Lionesses – England’s women’s football team – play Denmark in the Fifa World Cup!
It’s a great game, and not just because England have won 1-0. Let’s hope they keep their winning streak going!
Jim & Christina xx