Thursday, June 9, 2011

43 Thailand #10: Jok

fleecy noodle-y delicious
I continue to slowly work my way through 43 travel stories about our time in Thailand and Malaysia this past winter...
The other night, M. and I watched the Cook's Tour episode about Thailand from the second season (the last one before he switched to the Travel channel and started No Reservations). Anthony Bourdain's in Chiang Mai looking for breakfast, and goes to a jok restaurant, calling it "jog." As he tucks in, he muses about what it's made out of - I think he guessed farina? - and narrates his discovery of a "foreign" breakfast that ends up being delicious.
It struck me as funny that something so foreign to him would be so familiar to me when visiting Thailand. I grew up eating the stuff - the Chinese version - my favorite was with hundred year old eggs. Living in Korea I've tried the sweet versions, like pumpkin, that I had never had before (jook was always savory growing up). For me, encountering jok in Thailand was like how finding McDonald's in Asia is for many Americans - something reliable and familiar.

On my first trip there I had a version with organ meats. The version pictured, which we had with A. in Chiang Mai, is pretty classic Thai in my experience: fleecy fairly thin rice porridge with a lightly poached egg, still runny, some green onions and - my favorite part - steamed pork meatballs. It also comes with little crisp-fried rice noodles sprinkled on top, and you can add fish sauce or chiles if you like.

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