Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

Season 3 Episode 1

Phuket, Thailand

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Sep 09, 2008 on Travel Channel

Episode Recap

Andrew starts the new season off to the island of Phuket off Thailand to review the aftermath of the 2004 Hurricane which devastated the region. He calls the culture and cuisine a mix of Chinese and Muslim influence and visits the Wat Chalung Street Fair for a look at the insect diet of mealworms, crickets and grasshoppers fried with chili and salt. Joined by Ko Liang, a guide, he tries noodle soup with pork liver, pig stomach and intestines, as taste of spicy, sour, salty, bitter and sweet. He also observes the seafood and fruit, consisting of jackfruit, fried and sweetened eggs, fresh tamarind, rice and bamboo and dried day-old fish. He also samples Thai coconut balls called khanom tha and dried squid jerky.

In the Nai Yang Beach area, Andrew finds open-air patio restaurants such as the Mor mu Dong with only eight tables but over a hundred things on their menu. The dishes include wasp nest steamed for the larvae which Andrew compares to tasting like play-doh and stingray which has a smell and is chewy and dry. He also tries sea cicadas, also known as mile crabs, caught in the sand at the water's edge at Jakajan's Seafood which is cooked in corn starch and garlic and alternatively tempura-with a wok.

In the agricultural Muang District, Andrew reveals the economy is based on cashew farming and is a guest of Angela Kuhn at the Methee Cashew Nut Factory to watch the mass shelling process. The nut is steamed to get out of the shell and sold with honey, chocolate, coffee, butter, wasabi, chili and tom yum, but the most popular seller is sesame seed oil. The cashew apple which is also process is turned into soda, whiskey and wine and tastes like apple juice or ginger ale.

Andrew is next in the Bang Sak area nearly wiped out by the hurricane. The area is still in a period of restoration and reconstruction, and he is a guest of Thanom and his family. They shake red weaver ant nests for the eggs, protected by talcum powder as a deterrent against the bites. Andrew doesn't help in the shaking of the nets, but he does participate in knocking off and catching the lizards from the trees. The family can catch almost a dozen a day. Their skin is scorched off and the meat fried in fresh lemon grass, ginger, turmeric, rice powder, fresh red onions and coconut milk. The ants and their larvae are soaked in water and prepared with fresh green onion, cilantro, rice powder, red chili, red onion and lime juice for a meal which Andrew partakes in with the family.

In the less developed Phang Nga region, Andrew turns up at the Top la Bou Restaurant for fish cakes and dried fish but he also passes Ba Nit, a lady who creates fish stomach sauce, used as a condiment in Thailand and served in most Thai dishes. She works in her home from mahi-mahi fish but she also uses mullet, sardines, white fish and snapper and placing it into old whiskey bottles to age to a sweetened taste. Andrew also tries fish which has been dried and deep-fried into jerky.
Andrew wraps with a visit to Bon Bang Phat, a floating Muslim Village on Phang Na Bay where the major economy is fishing. Although he arrives at low tide, the inhabitants are picking shrimp from the fish catch, and collecting crab caught in the nets. The blue swimmer crab is the most expensive along with the horseshoe crab. At Mrs. Ma's Kitchen, Andrew tries fish stomach curry with coconut milk and sugar that has been boiled and simmered. He also tries sea whelk known locally as hoi congs, a mollusk that has been cut, boiled and garnished in a spicy sauce.