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  1. #1
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    Diverse Aranyaprathet is more than just a crossing point

    Diverse Aranyaprathet is more than just a crossing point

    Bangkok Post
    Published: 12/09/2010 at 12:00 AM
    Newspaper section: Brunch

    Sa Kaeo province is divided into many districts, but the ones that most people know are amphoes Aranyaprathet and Wang Nam Yen. Aranyaprathet, which is on the border with Cambodia, was famous 30 years ago as the site of a camp for refugees from Cambodia. They hoped either to remain in Thailand until peace was restored in their country or to be resettled in third countries.


    GOOD PLACE: The Jay Yuek shop, which specialises in Vietnamese-style ‘khao tom’

    After Cambodia became peaceful, Aranyaprathet became known for a market where used clothes were sold. It was called Roang Kluea Market, and was about seven kilometres outside of Aranyaprathet adjoining Poipet province in Cambodia, which has traditionally been the gateway between the two countries.

    In its early days this very large market offered mostly Vietnamese handicrafts and used clothing that Cambodians brought to sell. Besides the clothes were also used shoes and bags from Western countries, Japan and Korea that had been sent into the country as aid, and which they now were bringing out to sell to Thai buyers. Many of these Cambodian sellers had come from faraway parts of their country like the capital, Phnom Penh, which is 150km from Poipet.

    Today, Roang Kluea Market has lost none of its popularity. And another attraction is the big casinos on the Cambodian side. Thai gamblers can go and play there freely without breaking the law. As a result, Roang Kluea is always swarming with people and vehicles, and tour bus routes from many provinces terminate there rather than in the Aranyaprathet municipality.

    continues . . .

  2. #2
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    ‘kuay jap’

    Aranyaprathet itself is a quiet and peaceful amphoe with buildings that date from different historical periods. Old-fashioned wooden shop houses survive to contrast with modern ones, and residential areas still look very attractive with their canals and green trees and foliage.
    One thing that surprises many visitors is the abundance of Vietnamese restaurants. Almost every one of them is owned by a Vietnamese woman whose name identifies it. Most of them are in the old part of town, and the dishes they serve are traditional favourites like naem nueang (a do-it-yourself dish in which the diner places grilled pork meatballs, pieces of chopped chilli, garlic, raw mango, raw banana, pineapple, cucumber, rice noodle, fresh herb leaves and other ingredients onto a sheet of steamed rice flour batter, douses it with a sweet-salty sauce, wraps the packet in a lettuce leaf, and then eats the bite-sized packet), kung phan oy (seasoned, minced shrimp meat packed around a stick of sugar cane and grilled), khanom bueang yuan (crispy, taco-like shells stuffed with raw vegetables, shrimp, minced pork, glass noodles and other ingredients), fresh or raw spring rolls, and khao kriab pak maw yuan (pork-filled sheets of freshly-steamed rice noodle).
    The Vietnamese food sold in Aranyaprathet is different from that available in provinces like Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan that have large Vietnamese populations, where the restaurants are more up-to-date and a wider variety of dishes are offered, including breakfast specialties like a quail egg dish and khanom thuay yuan.

    The Aranyaprathet offerings are simpler, but the versions sold at almost every shop are delicious.


    SWEET: A vendor selling sticky rice with ‘mu yong’ and ‘mu phaen’.

    continues . . .

  3. #3
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    But why is there so much Vietnamese food in Aranyaprathet? The area's history provides an interesting answer.

    During the reign of King Rama V, France invaded and took possession of Vietnam and Cambodia. Thailand then controlled the three Cambodian provinces of Siem Reap, Sisophon and Phra Tabong, and when France took over Cambodia, they went with it. The French also took the Cambodian seaside provinces and extended their occupation as far as the Thai province of Chanthaburi, which they held for almost 10 years. Thailand did regain Chanthaburi, but had to surrender the three other provinces to the French in return.

    At the time there were many Vietnamese residing in the Cambodian provinces, and Thailand brought them into the country as refugees. The most favourable place for them to settle at the time was Aranyaprathet.

    Once established in Thailand, the Vietnamese held firmly to their traditional culture. Vietnamese-style Buddhist temples were built as well as Catholic churches. They also brought their food, which quickly became popular with their Thai neighbours. Soon every Vietnamese household where the housewife was a good cook began preparing food for sale. Most of them were equally skilful in the kitchen and used the same recipes.


    FRESH: Spring rolls at a Vietnamese food shop.

    But the most interesting thing was that the food they prepared, and continue to cook today, consists of home-style dishes of the kind that are eaten every day by Vietnamese. Anyone who wants to taste the real thing should try these recipes, which are made by Vietnamese cooks for sale to Vietnamese customers.

    They include sticky rice topped with mu yong (dried pork, seasoned and very finely shredded to fluffiness) and mu phaen (pork that has been sweetened and seasoned, processed and cut into very thin slices, then grilled to crispness); rice soup with pork or chicken (the pork version includes fresh pork blood and cubes of steamed blood and is topped with boiled pork that has been torn into fine shreds). Condiments to be added to it include bean sprouts, shallots fried to crispness in oil, fresh coriander and khuen chai. Customers have to request and add their own chopped chillies in nam pla. The chicken version of the dish is similar to the one made with pork.

    Another option is the Vietnamese version of kuay jap, with its thin, noodle-like morsels and broth, in which skinless meat from the snakehead fish is simmered.

    These home-style Vietnamese dishes are popular in the late afternoon and early evening, and in the morning. Most are sold from stalls that close when everything is gone.

    One very good place to try is a stall in the middle of town called Jay Yuek. It is on Burapha Phirom Road near the entrance to Soi Ruam Jit. She begins serving before dawn and is usually sold out by about 9am.

    Aranyaprathet is not far from Bangkok, and there is much there to explore and experience - I've only written about a few possible starting points here. If you like culinary exploring, the food itself is more than reason enough to make the trip.

    Writer: Suthon Sukphisit
    Position: Writer

  4. #4
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    AP may be nice; maybe... But, Poipet is one big ugly shithole...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo View Post
    AP may be nice; maybe... But, Poipet is one big ugly shithole...

    Amen brother !!!



    Mark

  6. #6
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    dont buy cheap cigarettes there from the market.a friend and i got stung for 10,000 bht by the thai customs and excise,no pay duty...

  7. #7
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    Jeez! That bowl of noodles looks good on this rainy Tuesday afternoon in Oz.

    Those pho soups used to be great for getting rid of a cold when living in District 1, Saigon/HCMC a few years back. Also good for keeping the weight down.

    Think I will have to take a trip up there later this year. So many places to see, so little time!

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