4 Ways You Can Start a New Life in Thailand

Many people dream of one day cashing in their life in their native country for the adventure and excitement that comes with immigrating to a foreign country. In recent years, people have changed in more traditional choices of country, such as the USA and Canada, for more obscure and differently cultured locations across the world. One such location that has received recent popularity is Thailand, mostly due to its legendary status as a fantastic holiday destination. However, the situation in Thailand for non-native long term residents is far from straightforward and can be very confusing for the uninitiated, so it is best to do a substantial amount of planning before making the leap to your new life in Thailand.

Living in Thailand, Thai flag

Living in Thailand

However, for those that have their hearts set on Thailand as a destination to make a new life, you need to be aware that many jobs in Thailand remain reserved exclusively for Thai nationals and are completely inaccessible for foreigners. Meaning your options are rather limited in terms of employment and you may have to consider an industry or profession change, and if this is something you are prepared to consider then read on to see a few suggestions of how you could do this.

1.     Teaching

Now it really wouldn’t be an article about relocating to Thailand if we didn’t at least mention teaching English as a potential career choice. Certainly, this is the stereotypical job that foreigners in Thailand work and most Thai people will assume you are an English teacher once they find out you live here, regardless of your actual job. This is because most long-term backpackers living in the country will usually fund their travels by teaching on the side. However, this option has become less accessible in recent years due to some quite sweeping changes made to the education system in Thailand.

Whilst there are some exceptions to the rule, pretty much every teaching job in Thailand now requires their foreign teachers be educated to a university level, with most jobs requiring at least a bachelor’s degree (usually in any subject) in order to be eligible for the working Non-B Visa and Work Permit required to live and work in Thailand. Unless you have these qualifications then it is better to consider another approach if you are serious about starting a new life in Thailand.

2.     Starting your own business

Now Thailand is known for many things, stunning mountainous regions, beautiful beaches, and more recently, big business. This is due to Thailand having the strongest economy in South East Asia, and it has in recent years become a business hub for the entire region, with corporations and international; businesses flocking to Thailand to take advantage of the comparatively low employment and startup costs of establishing a business. If you have a strong idea for a business and a little cash in reserve to get you going, this route could be good for you.

Westerners in Thailand (photo credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram@knack66)

Westerners in Thailand (photo credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram@knack66)

With the economy in Thailand being so strong, the potential scope for new businesses is very broad, but here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Import/Export
  • Bars and Restaurants
  • Digital Marketing Agency
  • Website and App Development
  • Graphic Design
  • Coffee and Beverage

However, as with any of these suggestions, there are some drawbacks. Thailand has a reputation for bureaucracy, particularly when dealing with business and immigration procedures. As such, you can expect to require the services of an experienced lawyer to set everything up and deal with the legal side of things.

3.     Diving

As a location world renowned for its beautiful and crystal clear waters and remarkable coastline, Thailand services around 32 million tourists a year. The majority of those will be attracted to one of Thailand’s many seaside locales in order to soak up the sun, go on boating trips and, on a more relevant note, diving, and snorkeling excursions. Anybody that has qualifications in SCUBA diving can consider making a relatively easy living for themselves doing something they love. Koh Tao, an island just off the coast of Thailand, has become something of a centralized diving hub and is a great place to start when prospecting for potential work.

Beach and boats on Koh Phayam*

Beach and boats on Koh Phayam

Most dive centers require you to be qualified up to a certain level, usually Divemaster, to be able to work for them. Some centers even offer what are known as “diving apprenticeships” which allow you to work, earn money and learn the skills necessary to progress to the level of Dive Instructor, which is an avenue to getting even better work within the industry.

4.     Freelancing

While this can be a slightly legally grey area, Thailand has always been known as a freelancer’s paradise, allowing those who choose this route cheap living expenses and a large market for which to advertise your skills. However, do be aware of the potential legal pitfalls of this option, make sure that you properly consult with a legal expert in order to ascertain what is and is not illegal to do whilst in Thailand. Generally speaking, the problem starts to arise once you begin receiving money and performing the work in Thailand. As far as immigration is concerned, any foreigner working in Thailand, for payment in Thailand needs to hold a valid work permit.

Ensuring that everything you do in Thailand is legal and above board in all respects is crucial. The rules in Thailand regarding immigration requirements are notorious for changing rapidly, suddenly and without warning. Naturally, working as a freelancer usually for your own clients will pose some tricky legal challenges for you to overcome. But this has become such a popular route that companies have even set themselves up as freelance collaboration companies in which they set you up with everything you need to work, like a work permit and visa, in exchange for a portion of your earnings.

Moving to Thailand can be an exciting, refreshing and fun change of pace from your old life in your home country, however, as with any big move, it requires the proper amount of research and forethought to execute properly.

The Bunnag Family: Thai People of Persian Decent

It is a fact that in the period of the Ayutthaya  Kingdom, i.e. the early 17th century, Persian people migrated to Thailand. They were mainly traders and merchants. These people of Persian decent were referred to as ‘Khaek Ma-ngon’ (แขกมะหง่น) or ‘Shia Muslim’ which is ‘Khaek Chaosen’ (แขกเจ้าเซน) in Thai. Over the centuries, most of the Khaek Ma-ngon converted to Buddhism and were integrated into Thailand’s society.

Consort Samlee Bunnag [Rama 4] with her daughters around 1880, (photo credit: teakdoor.com)

Consort Samlee Bunnag [Rama IV] with her daughters around 1880, (photo: teakdoor.com)

The Bunnag family

Some of the Thai families of Iranian decent have been very influential in Thai public life. In this context, the Bunnag (บุนนาคfamily is most well-known and established up until today. Their ancestor is Shaykh Ahmad Qomi who came as a merchant to Ayutthaya in 1602 and stayed in Thailand for 26 years.

Yarinda Bunnag (photo bk.asia-city.com)

Contemporary actress, singer & architect Yarinda Bunnag (b. 1980). She was in the movie The Red Eagle starring alongside Ananda Everingham (photo: bk.asia-city.com)

The Bunnag family was acknowledged as a Siamese Royal Family in the early Rattanakosin period. They were most powerful in the 19th century. The first patriarch of the Bunnag, Akka Mahasena, was a close friend and confidant of Rama I who married five of Bunnag’s daughters as royal consorts. Thus, the Bunnag also influenced the succession in the Chakri dynasty. However, in the late 19th century the Bunnag’s power was restricted by King Rama V (Chulalongkorn).

Bunnag sisters and children sharing a meal on the veranda of the king’s residence at Dusit Palace. (image courtesy of the National Archive of Thailand, quod.lib.umich.edu)

The Bunnag family, sisters and children sharing a meal on the veranda of the king’s residence at Dusit Palace. (Image courtesy of the National Archive of Thailand, quod.lib.umich.edu)

The Bunnag daughters were royal consorts for centuries. Even during the time of King Chulalongkorn’s reign, the Bunnag sisters were concubines at the Royal Court. In this context, you may remember my article about Dara Rasami who was a Princess of Chiang Mai at the Siamese Court.

The Bunnag sisters, royal consorts, notice that they all wear a short hairstyle*

The Bunnag sisters, royal consorts at the time of King Chulalongkorn (Image courtesy of the National Archive of Thailand, quod.lib.umich.edu)

Dis Bunnag (Prayurawongse,1788–1855 ) was a son of Akka Mahasena. He was an important political figure and played a decisive role in the ascension of King Mongkut (Rama IV).

Prayurawongse, Dis Bunnag (photo credit: Watprayoon, wikimedia.org)

Prayurawongse, Dis Bunnag (photo: Watprayoon, wikimedia.org)

He became the kingdom-wide regent under King Monkut being granted the title of Somdet Chao Phraya Borom Maha Prayurawongse. One of his sons, Chuang Bunnag, became the regent for King Chulalongkorn.

Sri Suriyawongse, Chuang Bunnag (photo credit: wikimedia.org)

Sri Suriyawongse, Chuang Bunnag (photo: wikimedia.org)

Finally, we may say that the Bunnag family has been very influential in Thailand’s history. There are in fact some other Thai families of Persian decent which trace their ancestry back to Shaykh Ahmad. These are for instance the Ahmadchula families.

Yours, Sirinya

Fruit Shaped Mung Beans – Khanom Look Choop ขนมลูกชุบ

Khanom Look Choop (ขนมลูกชุบ) is a very popular and amazing Thai dessert. It is fruit shaped mung beans which are painted with food colouring and then coated with jelly. This dessert may be compared to marzipan since the consistency is similar. However, I think that marzipan is generally sweeter than this Thai dessert. To make this treat, you only need few ingredients and it may seem easy to prepare. Nevertheless, the molding and painting will require some skill but if you’re patient you will certainly end up with nice results 🙂

Fruit Shaped Mung Beans

Fruit shaped mung beans (photo credit: pantip.com)

Look Choop (photo credit: pantip.com)

Here is what you need for 3-4 portions:

For the mung bean paste:

  • 500g mung beans
  • 500g coconut milk
  • 500g sugar (or less, as to taste)
  • 5g salt
  • 1 TSP jasmine flavour
  • food colouring (the colours you prefer) + paint brushes

For the jelly dip:

  • 3 TSP agar-agar powder
  • 3 TSP sugar
  • 4 cups of water

You will also need a blender and steamer to prepare the dessert. Further you will need some toothpicks.


First, soak the mung means in water for at least four hours or overnight. Then drain the mung beans and in a next step put them in a cloth and then in a steamer until they cook. After this is done, put the steamed beans on a plate and let them cool down. In the second step, put the mung beans in a blender adding the coconut milk and sugar. Then blend everything together until you have a smooth paste. In the third step, pour the mixture into a wok or pan on a low to medium heat. Add salt and some drops of jasmine flavour. Now keep on stirring until the mixture thickens. Then spread the thickened paste on a plate and let it cool down.

Finally, its time to shape the paste into various fruits of your choice 🙂 Set the fruit shaped mung beans aside and put them on toothpicks. Then paint the fruits with the appropriate colours and let them dry. While they are drying, prepare the jelly dip: heat the agar powder in water until it is completely dissolved. Cool slightly and then dip the fruits into the jelly. Let the agar dry and set and you’re ready to serve!

Look Choop (photo credit: pantip.com)

Fruit shaped mung beans (photo credit: pantip.com)

This recipe for fruit shaped mung beans comes from the marvellous cooking channel WhatRecipe.tv. In the following video, you can easily learn how to make this dessert.

Hope you’ll give this beautiful Thai dessert a try!

Yours, Sirinya

(P.S. for more information, check out my Thai Food Dictionary)

Nielloware Art in Thailand

Nielloware art and jewellery have been very popular in Thailand. In my opinion, it is one of the most elaborate and beautiful Thai art handicrafts. However, the niello technique does not seen to have originated in Thailand. It is said that this artistic craftwork was introduced by the Portuguese or the Persians to Thailand since both countries had an early presence in Siam. Thus, nielloware became a speciality in the southern Thai city of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Nielloware Art in Thailand

Nakhon National Museum Thailand Nielloware Bowl (photo credit: jeffersonscher.com )

Nakhon National Museum, Thailand- Nielloware Bowl (photo credit: jeffersonscher.com )

The tradition of presenting nielloware objects as State gifts goes back to the reign of King Narai of Ayutthaya (1656-1688), since niello objects are considered as luxury articles. In Thai, niello objects are referred to as ‘khruang thom’. This term is derived from the Pali word ‘thompa’ and the Sanskrit term ‘sathompa’. Hence, ‘thom’ means ‘to fill sth. up’ or ‘to contain’. Thus, ‘khruang thom’  refers to the art of applying the niello liquid which is called ‘ya thom’.

In fact, the process of creating niello objects is very complicated and elaborate. Hence, it requires great skill from the craftsman: the object to be decorated, commonly of silver or gold is incised with a traditional Thai pattern. The areas which are to be the background are carved in deep relief and filled with niello which is a black mixture of metallic alloys of lead, copper and silver.

Nakhon National Museum Niello Bowl (photo credit: jeffersonscher.com)

Nakhon National Museum Niello Bowl (photo credit: jeffersonscher.com)

Afterwards the niello is fused with the metal of the object by heating. The object is then smoothed by hand with a file and polished. Additional details can also be incised during the filing and polishing process. In the finished article, the silver or gold base of the object stands out and contrasts with the matte black background.

It is also important to note that in particular Siam sterling nielloware often depicts scenes from the Ramakien which is the Thai epic tale of Rama.

Nakhon National Museum Niello Bowl (photo credit: jeffersonscher.com)

Nakhon National Museum Niello Bowl (photo credit: jeffersonscher.com)

The following video demonstrates the process of making niello objects and relates the history of this handicraft. The video is only available in Thai, however even if you don’t understand the language, you can understand how niello is made and how painstaking the process is.

In a nutshell, we may say that the art of nielloware in Thailand is very elaborate and a supreme handicraft. It is truly impressive how delicate the pattern on niello objects is. Hence, they are indeed luxury articles unique in the world 🙂

Yours, Sirinya

(Reference: Treasures from The National Museum Bangkok, Selected by The National Museum Volunteers Group, 4th reprint 2006)

Thai Style Banana, Pineapple & Coconut Smoothie

Today I’d like to share with you a nice and easy recipe how to make a Thai style banana, pineapple & coconut Smoothie. Summertime is coming soon and this is a perfectly refreshing and tropical drink for the season. What is more, banana, pineapple and coconut are a good combination for a Thai style smoothie. To make it extra special, I suggest you put in a small drop of Pandanus (Pandan, in Thai: Bai Toey) flavour or some additional coconut extract 🙂 The Pandanus flavour will make your smoothie a little greenish but gives your drink a nice aroma.

Thai Style Smoothie

banana, pineapple & coconut smoothie (photo credit: makeandtakes.com)

banana, pineapple & coconut smoothie (photo credit: makeandtakes.com)

Ingredients for two smoothies:

  • 1 large ripe banana, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups of fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup of light or regular coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of ice
  • 1 drop of Pandanus flavour and/or coconut extract (optional)
  • additional sugar or sweetener, as to taste (optional)

pandanus flavour (photo credit: templeofthai.com)

Pandanus flavour (photo credit: templeofthai.com)


Put the banana and pineapple chunks with the coconut milk and the ice into a blender and mix until everything is smooth. Optionally, you may add a drop of pandanus flavour or coconut extract and additional sugar or sweetener, as to taste.

Smoothie garnished with cream on top (photo credit: bakingbites.com)

Tropical drink garnished with cream on top (photo credit: bakingbites.com)

You may garnish your tropical drink with some cream and dried coconut flakes on top 🙂 It’s perfect for breakfast but also as a snack or a dessert.

In addition, you can also make delicious ice-pops with this smoothie. You just need an ice pop container. When the mixture is nearly frozen, put in the popsicle sticks in centre. Freeze for at least five hours or preferably overnight. By the way, if you’ve acquired a taste for bananas and coconut now, you may also want to try ‘Kluai Buad Chi’ which is a Thai bananas in coconut milk dessert.

An easy-peasy recipe, isn’t it? Hope you’ll give it a try! 🙂

Yours, Sirinya


The Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho, Bangkok

The Reclining Buddha is a very popular tourist magnet and also an important object of piety. It is located at Wat Pho which is a Buddhist temple in Phra Nakhon District in Bangkok. Thus, this place is also referred to as ‘Temple of the Reclining Buddha’. The temple was founded in 1781 by Rama I who is also known as King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke. Officially, the temple is called ‘Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan’. Well, indeed a long and complicated name, hence ‘Wat Pho’ is the usual abbreviation.

The Reclining Buddha

Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho, Bangkok (photo credit: Amporn Konglapumnuay)

Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho, Bangkok (photo credit: Amporn Konglapumnuay)

Thus, the Reclining Buddha can be considered a Buddha image of the early Bangkok period. It is made from brick and stucco and it is lacquered and gilded. This Buddha statue is 15 meters high, measured from the base to the topknot, and 46 meters long according to the info on Wat Pho’s official website.

Buddha Image, Wat Pho

Buddha Image, Wat Pho*

The Great Buddha of Wat Pho is also referred to as the Buddha in the ‘Sleeping Lion Posture’ which is the position in which Buddha died. Buddha lies on the right side with knees slightly bend and the left hand on the thigh. In Buddhism, the ‘Sleeping Lion Posture’ is also the traditionally recommended mode for dying.

The Buddha is enshrined in the Nothwestern area of Wat Pho. What is most special about the image is that the Buddha’s feet are divided into 108 arranged panels which are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. These panels display the 108 auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified. Hence, these are symbols of fortune and prosperity like the lotus and symbols of royalty and greatness of an emperor like the throne. In addition, there are other royal belongings depicted as well as parts of the religious cosmology. For instance, these are the universe, the four continents and the oceans.

The Buddha's feet, Wat Pho

The Buddha’s feet, Wat Pho*

The belief in 108 auspicious symbols came from the ancient scripture of Sri Lanka, indicating that these symbols were spotted by the Brahmins on the soles of Prince Siddhartha, who is the historical Buddha, five days after his birth.

Taking a closer look at the auspicious symbols

Taking a closer look at the auspicious symbols*

What is more, there are also 108 bronze bowls in the corridor which serve to indicate the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. You may donate money in these bowls and this is considered to provide good karma since donations help to maintain the temple.

Here are some impressions of my visit to Wat Pho and the Great Buddha Image.

I hope you enjoyed my little video and tell me, have you been to see the Reclining Buddha? By the way, another popular Buddha Image in Bangkok is the Golden Buddha of Wat Traimit.

Have a nice Sunday everyone! 🙂

Yours, Sirinya

(*all photos in this post are my own, unless otherwise stated)

‘Songkran’ – The Thai New Year Festival

‘Songkran’ is the Thai New Year Festival which takes place from 13. to 15. April each year. Thus, it is a very important event in the Buddhist calendar since it marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. The term ‘Songkran‘ (สงกรานต์) stems from the Sanskrit word ‘saṅkrānti‘ which means ‘approaching’ or ‘passing’. It will say that the sun enters the constellation of Aries which is the first sign of the zodiac.


Songkran in Ayutthaya, photo: JJ Harrison, wikimedia.org

Songkran in Ayutthaya, photo: JJ Harrison, wikimedia.org

The first association that may come to your mind when thinking of Thai New Year is certainly ‘water wars’ and ‘water guns’. Even though throwing and playing with water is not the only way of celebrating this event, water is used to symbolize the cleaning from all misfortunes of the past year. Thus, the New Year is welcomed with a fresh and clean start. For good fortune, Thai people would traditionally pour a bowl of water on family members, close friends and neighbours.

Nang Songkran 2013, Sompop Budtarad (photo credit: ardelgallery.com)

Painting from ‘Nang Songkran 2013’, Sompop Budtarad (photo credit: ardelgallery.com)

Thai New Year has also been a subject in traditional Thai arts. For example, in 2013 the prominent Thai style painter Sompop Budtarad presented his exhibition called ‘Nang Songkran 2013’ which included fabulous pictures of delicate and ethereal angels and goddesses playing with water, thus suiting the theme. It depicts ‘Nang Songkran’ who is the Thai goddess of Songkran.

Mahotorn Devi Nang Songkarn (photo credit: ardelgalery.com)

‘Mahotorn Devi’ by Sompop Budtarad (photo credit: ardelgalery.com)

Today, playing with water is very popular on New Year and it has also become a great tourist attraction. Thus, the bowl has evolved into a bucket and all kinds of water guns are used on this occasion. However, this is not all that Thai New Year is about – on the first day, the elderly are honoured and a ritual called ‘Rod Nam Dum Hua’ takes place in which young people pour a small amount of jasmine scented water on the palms of wise elderly people in order to receive their blessings for prosperity.

Playing with water by Sompop Budtarad (photo credit: thainame.net)

Angels playing with water by Sompop Budtarad (photo credit: thainame.net)

As a matter of fact, Songkran is also a family celebration because on the second day families get together at dawn and make donations to Buddhist monks. This day is also known as National Family Day. In addition, it is also the time when families make merit and visit temples. There is also the ritual of bathing Buddha statues (พระพุทธรูป) with scented water at home and in temples. What is more, New Year is also used as an occasion of cleaning the house for spring similar to the tradition of the Chinese New Year. During this time of the year, which is the hot summer season in Thailand, people like to eat the refreshing Khao Chae dish. This is a meal of rice soaked in water accompanied my some side dishes and condiments.

The following video demonstrates beautifully the fun and excitement of Thai New Year and the associated traditions.

Summing up, we might say that Songkran seems to be a very ‘refreshing’ festival that is also a family celebration when many Thai rituals come to pass.

Have a happy Thai New Year wherever you are!

Yours, Sirinya

Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana: Thai Fashion Designer

Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, born in 1987, is a young and accomplished fashion designer in Thailand and very much appreciated for her fabulous look. Not only is she of royal descent, being the daughter of Crown Prince Maha Vajralongkorn and Sujarinee Vivacharawongse, but she is also known for her impeccable style. talent and beauty.

Princess Sirivannavari

Dressed in style, Princess Sirivannavari*

Dressed in style, Princess Sirivannavari*

Hence, she secured her place in the Forbes list of Top 20 royal beauties. Her style is Western and very modern but she also incorporates and combines elements of traditional Thai dresses in her fashion. Her greatest inspiration is her grandmother H.M. Queen Sirikit who is also known as the ‘Queen of Thai Silk’.

Sirivannavari Narirat*

Sirivannavari Narirat*

The Princess enjoys wearing clothes of renowned fashion designers like Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier and Balmain. Her clothing style can be described as daring and she never wears a look twice. Thus, she stands out in the royal circle. For instance, ‘Princess Siri’, as she is sometimes called in the press, was seen wearing bold thigh-length cut gowns and black lipstick. Hence, her appearance is stunning and flamboyant. In addition, she combines modernity with traditional Thai culture.

Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana

‘Princess Siri’ (photo credit: watroyal.blogspot.de)

What is more, she is also very sportive, having been an international Badminton competitor in the 23rd South East Asian Games in 2005, winning a team gold.

The Princess has studied fashion and textile design in the Faculty of Fine and Applied Art at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. Hence, her career as a fashion designer began in 2007 when she was invited by the French couturier Pierre Balmain to present her fashion show in Paris.

The princess as model*

The princess as model*

In this show, she presented traditional Thai clothing with a modern twist, thus drawing on memories of her grandmother H.M. Queen Sirikit who was a devoted customer of the couturier Pierre Balmain. Hence, her show was appropriately called ‘Presence of the Past’ and it is based on a very harmonious concept combining Thai elegance with contemporary fashion.

Take a look at her fashion profile in this video 🙂

Princess Sirivannavari chooses classic fabrics like silk and brocades for her fashion design. Hence, she also draws on traditional Thai craftsmanship like beetle-wing art to embellish clutch bags and shoes, for instance. In addition, her logo is the peacock which is a royal symbol and thus symbolic of good luck.

Here are some further impressions of her last year’s spring/summer fashion show at Siam Paragon. I dare say this collection is quite ‘futuristic’, however, I also spot some traditional elements here.

Finally, we may say that Princess Sirivannavari is very flamboyant and exotic and so is her fashion design. However, it is also very Thai. What is more, we can claim that the Princess, similar to her grandmother H.M. Queen Sirikit, represents the elegance and richness of the royal court.

Yours, Sirinya

*photo credit: Sirivannavari narirat, FB page

Tom Yum with Beef

Maybe you remember that I’ve recently done a recipe on Tom Yum Gung (ต้มยำกุ้ง) which is a refreshing spicy Thai soup with lemongrass and shrimps. However, there is also the variant to prepare Tom Yum with beef and marrowbone or with pork (knuckle) instead of using vegetable or chicken stock. Tom Yum with beef is called ‘Tom Yum Nua’ in Thai. When this soup is prepared with pork it is called ‘Tom Yum Moo’.  However, Tom Yum Gung is the most common variant of this soup type.

Tom Yum Soup with Beef

Tom Yum with beef

Tom Yum with beef and a lot of coriander on top (photo taken by myself)

I think that cooking Tom Yum with beef and bone gives a much richer and tastier broth. As you can see in my photos, the soup looks darker and richer than Tom Yum prepared with vegetable stock. Nevertheless, the preparation of the soup with beef is nearly the same as for Tom Yum Gung.

tom yum gung

Tom Yum Gung prepared with vegetable stock (photo credit: Jens Timmermann)

The only difference is that you replace the vegetable or chicken stock by the broth that you cook with water, beef and marrowbone. Maybe that is not to everyone’s taste and liking but it makes the soup much more aromatic and flavoured.

Tom Yum Nua

Tom Yum Nua (photo taken by myself)

The ingredients for this soup are as follows:

  • approx. 300g beef & marrowbone (optionally you may also take pork or pork knuckle)
  • 3-4 oyster mushrooms or champignon mushrooms
  • 1/2 galangal which is also known as Siamese ginger
  • 2 red onions or shallots
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass
  • 1-2 salad onions
  • juice from 1-2 lemons
  • kaffir lime leaves
  • coriander/cilantro & its roots
  • 2-3 fresh chillies (as you prefer)
  • 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1-2 TSP chili paste (Thai: น้ำพริกเผา “nam prik pau”)
  • 2-3 TSP fish sauce
  • 3-4 TSP soy sauce
  • optional small tomatoes

The preparation is very similar to Tom Yum Gung thus I won’t describe it here in detail. Hence, you may want to check out the general recipe here.

The following video by FoodTravel.tv shows you how to prepare the soup with meat. They take pork knuckle (‘Kha Mu’ in Thai) but you may also chose beef, the preparation is the same. There is only a Thai version with English subs of this video but I think it is comprehensive.

Maybe you’d like to give this recipe for Tom Yum with beef or pork a try?! It’s really worth it and also an alternative to the common variety with shrimps 🙂

Yours, Sirinya

(P.S. Please check out my Thai Food Dictionary for more information)

Traditional Thai Beauty Secrets

Thai women have often been admired for their flawless and unique beauty. They have been envied for their long silky hair, radiant glowy skin and perfect nails. The secret to Thai women’s beauty probably lies in their genes. However, there are also some traditional Thai beauty recipes that come from nature. Thus, I’d like to introduce a few different elements of traditional Thai beauty secrets. This category of Thai beauty secrets concerns special foods and nutrients.

Thai beauty secrets, painting by Chakrabhand Posayakrit

Thai beauty secrets, painting by Chakrabhand Posayakrit (photo credit: chakrabhand.org)

Beauty Secrets

1. Coconut oil

Thai food and also traditional Thai beauty products often contain coconut oil which is one of the best natural oils. Coconut oil has numerous health benefits. Thus, it is great for all parts of the body.  Organic extra virgin Coconut oil has many properties and thus it is a multipurpose product for face, body and hair. For example, coconut oil can be used as a make up remover, in particular for removing eye make up. It is very gentle to the skin and thus suitable for dry and sensitive skin types. That is to say coconut oil is very nourishing to the gentle eye area and also strengthens the eyelashes. Hence, it can also function as an eye cream.

Coconut everbeautiful.com

Coconut (photo credit: everbeautiful.com)

Coconut oil is also good as a facial cleanser. This is also known as the oil cleansing method.

It is also useful as a hair conditioner and mask because it has the ability to fully penetrate the hair shaft and thus moisturize the hair thoroughly. It works best as a pre-shampoo conditioner. Distribute the coconut oil evenly throughout your hair and leave it in for about an hour then shampoo your hair and you will have the smoothest hair ever 🙂

In addition, coconut oil can also perform as a natural deodorant because it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Coconut oil as body scrub, mix equal parts of coconut oil with brown organic sugar. Scrub away and this will leave your skin sooo soft 🙂

Facial and body moisturizer: it makes your skin amazing and glowing and does not cloak the pores. In addition, coconut oil also has a natural sunscreen (SPF 4).

2. Tamarind

Tamarind can be considered a Thai (beauty) ingredient because it is frequently used in all kinds of Thai recipes. Tamarind has great health and beauty benefits because it is very rich in vitamin and minerals. Since tamarind contains Alpha-hydroxyl acids (AHAs), it provides for a glowing and radiant skin. What is more, it also diminishes blemishes and dark spots. Hence, tamarind is often used by Thai women because it also brightens and lightens the skin 🙂

Fresh Tamarind with leaves (photo credit: indianbeauty.tips)

Fresh Tamarind with leaves (photo credit: indianbeauty.tips)

In fact, Tamarind is a wonderful beauty product. It’s most effectively used as a pure organic paste. Thus, it can be used as a facial cleanser and scrub to exfoliate the skin. Here is a very easy recipe of tamarind cleanser: mix honey and tamarind paste in equal parts and add three tablespoons of yoghurt. Then apply this mixture gently all over your face, avoiding the delicate eye area. After 10 minutes wash it off. Thus, it’s a perfect treatment for removing dead skin cells and increasing blood circulation.

3. Papaya

Papaya is an amazing beauty agent and has wonderful beauty benefits since it contains the miracle papain enzyme. Hence, a facial or body mask of papaya gives the skin a healthy and radiant glow. This is because the papain enzyme works as an exfoliator thus removing all dead skin cells. Make an easy face and body mask by mashing the papaya fruit pulp into a paste. Apply this to your face and body, let it sit for about 10-15 minutes and then rinse and shower everything off.

Papaya (photo credit: dreamatico.com)

Papaya (photo credit: dreamatico.com)

4. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a very common ingredient in Thai dishes. However, Thai women appreciate lemongrass also for its beauty benefits because it has detoxifying and exfoliating properties. Lemongrass is most commonly used for facial steams since it suits all skin types

Lemon Grass tekoafarms.co.il

Lemon Grass (photo credit: tekoafarms.co.il)

Here is an easy recipe how to make a lemongrass face steam: take a pot of boiling water and put in about 40 g of fresh finely chopped lemongrass. Let the mixture stand for about half an hour and then strain it. After that, inhale the steam for about 1 minute and let your skin absorb it too. Repeat it some more times until you have a lovely sauna effect. Thus, the steam cleanses and opens up your pores so that dirt and excess oils are removed.

Maybe you’d like to give these traditional natural Thai beauty secrets a try? I think it’s really worth trying 🙂

In fact, traditional Thai beauty has also been a great subject in the Visual Arts and painting. For instance, the Thai National Artist Chakrabhand Posayakrit very often portrayed beautiful and flawless Thai women.

If you are interested, I can do a second part on traditional Thai beauty secrets, focussing on Thai beauty habits and rituals such as Thai massage, for example.

Yours, Sirinya