2009 was unlike any other year of my life. On January 13, we boarded a one-way flight to Thailand. We spent about a month in Chiang Mai, where I fell in love with khow soi, learned to embrace beer with ice and drinks in bags, and ate a grasshopper (for the first and last time).
I also took a wonderful vegetarian cooking class.
After 11 days in Hanoi, we returned to Bangkok just in time for mango season. We got an apartment with a great view, celebrated Songkran (Thai New Year) by getting drenched and coated with white powder, and discovered some AMAZING Indian food in our neighborhood.
Although we LOVED Thailand, we decided to sign on to go teach in Korea, which meant we had to fly home to the US to get our work visas. Rather than just flying across the Pacific, we went the long way so we could spend a little time in Europe. We caught a ferry from Ijmuiden, the Netherdlands over to the UK, where we ate Haggis in Edinburgh, drank Brains in Holyhead, and caught another ferry to Dublin, where we saw a beautiful sunset over the River Liffey.
We moved into our apartment in Seoul, South Korea, and for the first time in almost 6 months, I actually had a kitchen of my own! However, when I wasn’t cooking, I was pretty much always eating gimbap, kimchi, and Korean barbecue.
After a few months in Korea, we were ready to leave, so we bought tickets to Cambodia, where we visited Angkor Wat, relaxed on the beach, and took a Khmer cooking class.
We went into southern Vietnam VERY briefly, just long enough to check out some canals and a floating market.
The next country to visit was Laos. We started in the southernmost part of the country then worked our way (via a few moderately sketchy bus rides) up to Vientiane, Vang Vieng, and Luang Prabang.
The last leg of our trip brought us back to Thailand, where it all began. We ate some AMAZING food in Chiang Mai (rice ball salad and green mango salad are in the picture below), saw the beautiful views from Wat Doi Suthep, then took the night train down to Bangkok, where we caught a flight back to the states on December 8.
Even with all that gallivanting from country to country, I managed to cook and bake a little. Here are the 10 most-read posts of 2009:
1. Jijimi (Korean Vegetable Pancakes)
2. Broccoli Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes
3. One-bowl Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Frosting
4. Caramel Apple Galettes
5. Peanut butter-filled Chocolate Cookies
6. Banana Coffee Cake with Peanut Butter Streusel
7. Stove-top “Baked” Beans
8. Deli Tuna Salad
9. Zucchini Spears with Roasted Tomato Sauce
10. Roasted Eggplant Pasta Salad
It’s been an amazing year, and I thank each and every one of you for all your fabulous comments and just for stopping by this little blog every once in awhile. I’m looking forward to cooking lots more great recipes in 2010, so I hope you’ll stick around. Happy New Year!