Monthly Archives: February 2013

How Much I Love Mangoes…..:-)

Mangoes are an essential part of any Asians diet. Purely for the delicate deliciousness of the sweet sensual juices that blast me into ecstasy every time!!

They are a mutli-talent of a fruit. Starting with the ripe fruit which can be peeled and ate with your bare hands whilst the juices run down your elbows and not giving a shit because it’s just so delicious!! The unripe fruit is eaten all over Asia with a salt and chilli mixture. Unripe they are an ideal ingredient for many sour dishes. Sour mango fish curry in bangladesh is a delicacy. The ripe fruits can be squeezed out and the juice dried out over days and days under the baking Bangladeshi sun to make mango leather (‘soti’ in Bengali). Another of those sweet sour treats we’d eagerly await as kids when someone we knew was coming back from Bangladesh. Then there are the chutnis (‘satni’ in Bengali) and of course one of my favourite mango asar (‘amor asar’ in Bengali). I’m not sure of the name for this in English. Sour unripe baby mangoes before they develop a hard seed are cut up and dried and prepared with oil, spices and vinegar. They are then put in jars and left in the sun again. An arduous processing taking over a week. But the end result is well worth it!! And last but not least is ‘ami’. These are small strips of unripe mangoes whilst they are still small, extremely sour and very aromatic, dried in the sun over days and days. They are then stored and last for over a year to be used as the sour ingredient for many sour fish curry dishes from Bangladesh. You can even make a sour fish curry dish from the flowers of the mango tree when it first blooms!! I ate this for the first time last year whilst I was there. YUMMY!!!  🙂  🙂  🙂

Luckily in London you can get Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani mangoes. Their sweetness is worlds apart from the huge tasteless mangoes imported from Brazil you get in the supermarkets in London and Berlin. Absolutely no offense meant. I’ve never been to South America and I’m sure they keep the delicious ones for themselves!! Berlin is such a sad case as these are the only mangoes you can get unless you know which time of year to go to the Indian or Asian food stores. European summertime is when the Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani mangoes ripen and are available in (obviously) the Bengali, Indian or Pakistani groceries dotted all over east London.

Now back to Cambodia. Here you seem to get mangoes all year round (bliss 🙂 )!! Ripe and delicious and sweet. Here are some pics of the varieties I’ve tried so far.

Svai Lahuat in Khmer. Sweet and bright orange inside. They seem to available all year round here in Cambodia!

mangoes cambodia thailand


BELOW: Svai porm on the left, svai lahuat in the middle and svai Thai on the right. The sweetest is the svai Thai. Svai porm is by far the most aromatic but also fibrous. Svai lahuat varies from very sweet to sometimes not so sweet. The svai porm I’ve never seen in the market. I nicked this one from someones tree. 🙂


mangoes cambodia thailand

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Categories: Fruit, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Borassus Flabellifer; Palmyra Palm Tree Fruit

Here’s a strange looking fruit that comes from a tree widespread in Malaysia,  Cambodia and Bangladesh (and of course all over southern and southeast Asia). The fruit of the Palmyra Palm. The fruit is called ‘t’naot (ត្នោត) in Khmer and ‘thall ( তাল )’ in Bengali. You can eat it as baby (paedo-cannibalism?) or shall I say immature form. It’s soft and jelly like and delicious. Has no real characteristic flavour but the texture is amazing. It reminds me of…… well the female genitals if I were to be specific 🙂 whilst slurping away on the soft flesh. Once mature it becomes far too hard to eat. It’s too hard to even bite through.

In Bangladesh the Palmyra Palm Tree is known to be a place where ghosts and evil spirits like to linger. I’ve heard so many stories there of people being possessed esp. young women and children, by the spirits that lurk around this tree. The tree combined with a large man made pond at sunset is when it’s supposed to be most dangerous. Especially if you are wearing bright red-the ghosts and spirits love red.

In Cambodia I’ve ate a delicious dish (sa’law machoo tnaot) made from the whole fruit sliced up in it’s baby form. I didn’t know you could eat the whole fruit. They don’t in Bangladesh as far as I know.

The sap that comes from the tree trunk is used to make palm sugar that is available all over the world.

The jelly part is actually the seed. Very similar to a coconut in fact. Comes from the same family.

The most interesting way I’ve ever ate this fruit is when I was a teenager and visited bangladesh. My cousins dug up this fruit from under the earth where they had buried it months before in it’s mature form. After cutting it open it was amazing. There was a delicious soft spongy growth inside the hollow part of the seed that we ate. I’ll never forget that. Weird food or what?

I’ve also drunk palm wine (t’naot choo) many a times here in Cambodia. It comes in a bucket with a plastic bag full of ice to keep it cool. And looks like dirty dish water I thought when I first saw it. The taste varies from sweet with mildly sour to very sour almost like vinegar. And it gets you very drunk my visiting Canadian friend found out thinking that it’s a weak drink because you can’t taste the alcohol. He threw up after drinking too much at one of the local places where they serve this beverage. Most tourists who come here for a few days wont have experienced this because they are local drinking places hidden away from the central part of Siem Reap.

The seed part of the Palmyra Palm Tree Fruit which is the edible part in it’s immature form

palm tree fruit

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Categories: Cambodia, Fruit, Home & Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Madness before returning to Europe

It’s only a couple of weeks now till I’ll be sitting on a plane back to the continent where I’ve spent 30+ years of my sweet little life (which came in a package coupled with infinite dreams of grandeur and nothing deemed as impossible!!)

I’ve been depressed as hell the last weeks. Nothing to do with my last post about the high heels sticking into my brains (metaphorically I mean 🙂 )! I’ll be leaving my partner behind-actually I’ll call her wife from now on. We call each other that anyway in Khmer (she calls me ‘husband’ not wife!!)

And just to clarify, the dreaded return is coupled with being out of the job market for 2 years. Opening 2 years of mail (in 2 countries shall I add). And as you know mail (the physical kind that gets delivered by a person with legs….) consists of bills, more bills, reminders about upcoming bills and if one is really lucky then a court summons!! The latter I don’t have because the dangerous looking ones have been opened and emailed to me wherever I am. But all this bullshit bureaucracy-what a m’f’ing waste of time.

The title above does no justice to all the people I so dearly love in London and Berlin. And the title isn’t about them either. They are the reason for me to go back in the first place. If it wasn’t for them I would even collect empty plastic bottles from the trash piles here and sell them to buy my daily portion of rice. Nothing is beneath me. It would beat going back to high and mighty Europe (and the west). The pedestal they’ve placed themselves on has only one way to go-down!!

I won’t turn this article into western mentality bashing. Too lazy to write that much. In fact that could turn into a book. And I’m too young for that. I mean one can write when one is young, but I’d rather carry on collecting experiences and maybe one day dictate to someone and they can write-or maybe God will dictate to me and I will write (the real truth)!!

So I can post more colourful posts about fruity flavours of the sweet and sticky kind and pretend that all is well on Heaven and Earth…but it ain’t in my brain and it ain’t in my Heart! I hurt, I cry, I feel faint and I wanna drink, smoke and take strong medication to blur it all out till my return here is close again.

Changes, changes, changes!! My life seems so full of them. I embrace them I love them, I await them like a lost child waiting for his parents. I adore them and I hate them. What would life be without them?? Boring I hear me say as a past mantra!! But so much has changed since my 2 years here on the other side of the world from where I’m used to!! Sooo much has changed. And yet the fear is there. Will I go back to the skull-drudgery I left behind? The complaining and moaning because the train is minutes late?? Getting furious at the old woman for blocking my morning dash to the tube or bus costing me an irreplaceable 13 seconds of my life?? Or the supermarket queues-there goes another wasted 4 minutes and 42 seconds when I could be doing something useful like punching the punching bag in my gym. The unfair system one works under-be it the shit boss, crap company, the useless bollox they sell and want you to promote. What is this life worth?? Happiness and freedom. Freedom from the constraints of our mind that are drilled into us through every possible avenue from the moment we are born!! And the idea that happiness is something that we can only reach with the help of this expensive car, that massive house in the suburbs with all the other 30 somethings (or 20 somethings) in their brilliant jobs with magnificent wages whilst the wife fucks the milkman, builder or plumber for that matter.

The truth is – happiness is our natural state. Regardless of ALL outside influence. We have to really work hard to be unhappy. Constantly crave and run after the affluent useless excesses that makes some m’fucker somewhere richer and you miserable until you reach it and then happy for a few hours, days or even weeks if we’re lucky-until you’re on the trail again for the next shot of high that has been implanted into your waking state of consciousness that is really a sleep state because if you were really awake you would see it, realize it and not run after something that is artificial happiness that you pay for with your time, money, energy, thoughts and of course happiness. You would simply choose not to! You would simply be! And simply being is happiness. Being content and fulfilled with everything that is. Because all there is, is there right now and nothing you do will change that!! Not now. Maybe in a future now. But not now!!!!!!

So that’s my rant for the day (and a glimpse of what lurks beneath those saucy fruit juices of thoughts that I post in colourful delicacies time after time!!

Have a wonderful day and thank you for reading these mad rants that are not mad at all. Just a glimpse of hope and light in this madness we live in. And no I do not see myself as any such esoteric bullshit of light and hope. But we have it all in each and every one of us, we can just choose to look, test it if it works and then use it if it’s useful!!

Categories: About me, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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Natalia Maks

Travel. See. Shoot. Learn.


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