Southeast Asia the last stop on our search starts in Bangkok. Unfortunately it’s the raining season so we spend most of our days and nights exploring the truly amazing Thai street food.
In Chiang Mai the weather is brighter and we meet with Gerd, a German aid worker, and his Thai wife Nok. Nok shows us around the local markets explaining the different varieties of Thai chillis and their use in the Thai cuisine.
At an organic farm just outside Chiang Mai we learn to prepare the famous curry pastes, a ground mixtures of chilis with other fresh spices. Then the rain starts again and Thailand experiences the worst flooding for years. All trains back to the south are cancelled and we are stuck in our guesthouse in Chiang Mai. Starting to worry that we miss the flight to Indonesia we are lucky to catch a train half way down to Bangkok followed by a long bus trip to finally reach the airport – yes Bali here we come!
No more rain in Indonesia but other catastrophes strike the Indonesian Islands. The tsunami in the Mentawais hits and the outbreak of the Merapi volcano in Java costs many lives. Settling in, in our truly lovely villa in Bali we relax a bit, enjoy the amazing surf, get bitten by mosquitoes and have the first severe case of Bali Belly on the trip.
Feeling a bit better after a few days we plan our trip to Lombok. In Bahasa Indonesia, the word Lombok means chilli pepper and it used liberally in local cooking. In a local restaurant we try he famous Sasak food Ayam Taliwang, grilled chicken with chilli sauce. The son’s owner is very nice letting us shoot in the restaurants kitchen and explaining the use of the different marinades to make the chicken spicy.
Next day we stroll around the local market with a Srabi, a Sasak local to find the cabe rawit, a chilli, which is known to be so much hotter than his Balinese equivalent. It doesn’t take long to find this really hot chilli and it doesn’t take long for our local guide to throw up after trying it – I guess he tried to show off a bit too much! After a great laugh we spend an awesome day drinking palm wine and singing Indonesian karaoke with Srabi.
We thank Nok and Gerd for their help and support as well as all the friendly local people we've met on our way!