Mai Thai - Amsterdam, Holland

Crackerfarm and I went out on many outings trying to find things to do and places to eat while we were in Amsterdam. We were there longer than anywhere else on this most recent tour. I've been told to stay away from restaurants that don't have many people sitting in them during peak hours. But sometimes you just have to go with what feels right.

Tom Yum Soup
The thing about this restaurant is that there isn't much to say about their food. The food wasn't mind altering and it wasn't even awful. But sometimes it's not only about the flavor of the food. Sometimes you find something so much deeper than what you were looking for.

Basil Beef
The lady server at this restaurant was so kind and had such a beautiful temperament that you couldn't help but feel calm in this hectic "city of sin". We walk in to Mai Thai and it's dingy and dark, and very un-assuming. We almost turn around to walk out after seeing it's completely empty, but we stop when the lady walks up to us with hands joined and bow towards us. "Please join us for lunch." We were hooked.

Masaman Curry
The masaman curry was great. Cracker was quite impressed and it takes a lot to impress him.

You could tell she was genuinely thrilled that we were there eating. She made you feel as if you were her long lost son coming home for a nice meal before taking off for the road. She reminded me of my own mother. So sweet and so willing to feed us. She wasn't going to have us leave without a full belly. Thank you lady at Mai Thai. Thank you for making us feel so loved.

--Joe Kwon

For more info click here.

Recipe: Curry Fried Chicken (My Favorite)

I'd have to think long and hard to name a food that's more comforting than fried chicken. I've tried all sorts of different recipes from wet batters, soaking in butter milk, to dredges. I've tried a TON of recipes. You get the point. Anyways, this recipe was a group effort. My cousin's Kun and Sol are big time foodies and we found that this was the best way to satisfy OUR taste for fried chicken.

Prep time: 30 minutes - Overnight
Cooking time: 15 minutes

5 lbs chicken thighs and legs
2 tbsp tumeric
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper (more/less based on personal preference)
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp mushroom flavored soy sauce
6 cloves garlic finely minced
1 cup all purpose flour for dredging (I highly recommend King Arthur brand)
Freshly ground white pepper to taste (substitute black pepper if you don't have white)
This is the mushroom soy sauce and fish sauce I use. I got both of these at my local asian store. If you can't find mushroom soy sauce you can substitute regular soy sauce. I like to use a really high quality chicken because you can't beat the flavor. I got these from Whole Foods. They're only a little bit more expensive for a lot more flavor. I think thighs and legs are always better than breasts because they're more flavorful. Also, they don't dry out as easily, and are harder to over cook. Mix all the ingredients EXCEPT the chicken and flour in a big bowl to make a paste and THEN add the chicken. It makes it a lot easier to coat the chicken parts that way. I recommend letting it sit in the fridge covered overnight, but 30 minutes will do if you're in a pinch. Pull the chicken out of the fridge and add the flour. If you need more than a cup add more. You can't have too much flour here. Dredge each piece of chicken fully. When you're ready to fry the chicken preheat your favorite fryer to 360 degrees and drop in no more than 2-3 pieces per batch. This will keep the oil temperature from dropping too much. Fry the chicken until it is cooked through. For medium size thighs that's usually between 10-12 minutes. For smaller legs it's less. (10 minutes per side if you're using a cast iron skillet)
This dish is very well complemented with my last recipe: Ginger Dipping Sauce. I also love having some sriracha, jao, and sweet chili sauce on the side. I'll try to post a recipe for jao and sweet chili sauce in the near future!

Happy Eating!
--Joe Kwon