Eat your heart out Sir Walter Raleigh, I think I’ve made a greater discovery than your potatoes. For myself at least. One of the things I have always longed for when staying at our village home in Udon Thani is an English style snack. Nothing fancy, just a light bite at lunch time or an easy nibble whist watching the evening TV and one which requires minimum preparation. For years I have longed for the perfect sandwich.
If you are like me and Thai food can at times be a little too much in terms of spices and herbs then the simple things are what you long for. Things don’t come much easier than a sandwich but you have to first get the right bread, butter and filling. The sandwich filling represents no problem.
In the past I have found the task of selecting the right type of bread and butter a hopeless chore. The bread has normally been too sweet, a little bland or looked right but tasted wrong. By luck on a trip to Tesco Lotus I finally got it right.
The bread (pictured left) cost 24 baht for a normal sized loaf and the butter was about 75 baht for a fair size tub and they made the perfect match. These are the Torvil and Dean of the sandwich world. My choice of sandwich filling in the top photo was good old cheese and tomato. Cheese is a little expensive in Thailand but supermarkets like Tesco Lotus stock a wide range of different varieties. I cheat and bring with me a large block of Cheddar which is far cheaper to buy in the UK. The spread is Allowrie Zero Soft Butter.
The bread was labelled Tesco Sandwich Bread which is hardly a marketing name that will slice up its fair share of the bakery market. Older UK readers will recall the ‘ Boy On the Bike ‘ Hovis bread adverts during the 1970’s and perhaps Tesco could chance a similar campaign.
A young boy carrying a large round woven basket wades through the rain sodden fields under the sweltering hot sun and hurries towards the shade that surrounds the large, lone tree in the vast field of green harvest. The rice workers stop their labour, rush over to the smiling boy who hands out fresh loaves from the basket to each and everyone. …Maybe not, but just a thought that might prove more marketable than plain Tesco Sandwich Bread.
Those of you who read one of my recent posts Mama’s Kitchen – Warts and All will know a visit to mama’s kitchen needs your medical insurance policy tucked handily inside your pocket. In times of desperation I do however risk my life and innards and venture into the kitchen myself.
On my last trip to our village home the toasted sandwich maker was pushed to one side and more traditional methods were used. Most mornings I grilled two cheese sandwiches and every time Wonderful Wi insisted on eating one, quite a surprise coming from the som tum loving village girl and I managed to escape from my brief excursions into mama’s kitchen unscathed.
Any village newbies who struggle to take to village life and its offbeat manner can make their stay a lot more comfortable by having a little of what they’re used to back home. Discovering the perfect bread and complementary butter has put another very small piece into my Thailand jigsaw and I know my next vacation will be a sandwich fest. If you haven’t tried the bread and spread shown above then give it a go and you just might taste a bite of back home.
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