This blog has been provided by Stephen Terry BLOG for Inspire.
I eat fish once a week to supplement my otherwise vegetarian diet of thirty years. Why? My ex told me I looked jaundiced on my first visit to Thailand (she called it yellow skin), and that eating fish would resolve it. As she came from a fishing family, I took her advice. But eating the head and eyes like she did, was out.
Easier said than done. I hate the smell of fish whether it’s old or overcooked and it took me six months of gagging to overcome that.
Which brings me to the first time I tasted trout at the UN compound in Islamabad. Every Friday they ran a buffet dinner with open entry to Aid workers, and this one Friday in 2006, trout was on the menu.
A whole fish, head dispatched, and I filleted it like a true expert. Superb, and where the UN got it from, I hadn’t a clue. And it never reappeared on the menu after that.
Back to Thailand, where local freshwater fish, like tilapia (nile perch) are tasty and cheap, and I even came to terms with looking forward to my Friday lunchtime fish and chips. But just before Xmas our favourite Italian restaurant had a special marked up on the noticeboard.
For about seven quid a fillet, mash, peas and green beans and indeed a delight, but never does it surpass my UN trout. I believe it to be part of the Royal project in Chiang Mai where freshwater trout are ‘farmed’ by the impoverished Hill-tribe people and sold in our local markets.
I believe the ‘season’ will finish soon, but hey, it’s been a splendid change.
Footnote: I gave up eating meat and fish in the early 60’s. Cranks was the first vegetarian restaurant opened in London in 1961, and I made a daily lunchtime visit from my office near Trafalgar square to sample their wares, but there were others in the UK before that one. Somehow, at the time, the very name attracted a regular clientele. It was the start of a new-wave revolution by baby-boom youngsters brought up on carnivore dinners.
In certain areas of Chiang Mai, mostly the old city surrounded by temples on all sides, a number of vegan, vegetarian, and whole food mini-restaurants abound. Often, as I walk past them to the Lost Books second-hand store, around lunchtime they are full of tourists. Some are young backpackers of both genres covered in tattoos (which seems to be the fashion nowadays, replacing the men’s Muslim beards) but also many European couples of mature years. I guess a protein shake would be on offer, as are herbal health drinks and green tea.
As for replacing meat, my body no longer demands it – but this blog is more than that – it’s mainly about enjoying life. Which does include a pint or three.
This blog was written for inspire by http://stephenterry.weebly.com/blog-page/chiang-mai-chronicles-a-fishy-tail