As regular readers of these articles know, I like to spend as much time as possible at Northern Thai food markets. They are unquestionably the best in the world, or so I reckon. The range and quality of foods on offer is unsurpassed. Mountains of golden mangoes, water melons, dainty pots of fresh water crab pate, grilled catfish and huge bundles of bright green asparagus all jostle for space amongst a never ending sea of shoppers and hawkers.
It’s tempting to tell you all the wonders of my local market but I fear that in my excitement I would ramble on for several hours if not days and forget why I started writing this in the first place, which is……setting the record straight on the mighty Thai Avocado.
Over the last 50 years agriculture in Thailand has undergone a huge revolution, largely, as far as I can work out, as a direct result from the incredible energy and vision of the King. Impoverished farming communities have been re-invigorated by impressive “Royal Projects” that grow and produce a wide range of unusual and organic foods; the Water Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese is particularly good, so too is the Smoked Rainbow Trout, the continental looking jars of Apricots In Brine, organic strawberry jam and the range of fresh fruit concentrates, my favourite being the earthy and salty Apricot (I’ve started to ramble). But one fruit, (or is it a vegetable) stands out in the markets, at the moment, as head and shoulders above the rest, and that is the mighty Thai Avocado.
I use the word “mighty” not as an exaggerated way to talk up this recent South American addition to the ever expanding Thai fruit and veg extravaganza, but as a way to describe accurately its massive size. I have never seen avocados this big in my life; they are the size of footballs. Had it not been for the fact that the word “avocado” is almost the same in Thai I really would have struggled to work out what it was (“Khun Alex want Awacaado”? Oh yes, Khun Alex certainly does).
The thing about them is not the size, although they really are whoppers, but the taste. Admittedly the super size ones have a more watery taste but the slightly smaller ones are unbelievably good with a super rich nutty flavour and a beautiful creamy texture.
At the moment I’m suffering from a mild case what might be called Avocado Madness. It’s a condition characterised by cycling to the market at the end of every day mumbling quietly to yourself “I wont buy any more avocados, I don’t need any more avocados…” and returning home in an elevated mood with a basket full of bright green “awacaados”. As all members of AA (Avocados Anonymous) know, it really is difficult to stop. One’s too many and a thousand is never enough. They’re so good and so cheap. I’ve made endless avocado dips which always seem quite special and remind me of Christmas, creamy coconut milk avocado curries and a wonderful pasta dish with avocados, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and basil. I’m nearing that stage where I think it’s perfectly normal to start most sentences with, “another great thing about Thai avocados is…..” and entertain the delusion that people really are interested. I think that soon I might have to detox on aubergines.
Unfortunately, and quite bizarrely, I have recently read that local home grown Thai avocados are of “inferior” quality to the imported Australian ones. As you can imagine I’m somewhat affected by this. I can only think there is some suspicious, underhand antipodeans food writing conspiracy going on. The local Thai ones are every bit as good if not vastly superior in quality and certainly in size and also of course in price than what I shall call from now on, the “New World Conspiracy Avocados”. New world, old tricks.
So if you get a chance, wherever you are, trundle down to your local market and ask around for Thai avocados, they really are worth looking out for, especially if you’re reading this in Australia!