The Hairy Bikers' Asian Adventure (2014) s01e03 Episode Script

Thailand - Beaches and Mountains

1 'We've packed our passports' '.
and bought our phrase books.
' 'Because we're off on our biggest, craziest adventure yet.
' Delicious! Delicious! Meow, meow! Eee! 'We're travelling further than we've ever done before' '.
to uncover the authentic roots of Britain's favourite takeaway foods.
' I've always wanted and know how to make proper sweet-and-sour sauce.
'Going off the beaten track 'and being welcomed into some of Asia's hidden worlds.
' How marvellous is this? 'From the high-rises and hot woks of Hong Kong' The heat on this is really, really intense.
But, listen, it's like a jet engine.
I love it! '.
to the sweltering tropics of Thailand' We love a tuk-tuk! '.
where they say it's impossible to eat badly.
' Thai food's arrived in Britain but, by crikey, it's only the tip of the iceberg.
'And we fulfil a lifelong ambition to explore Japan.
' That is perfect.
Wow, look at that! I've just had a sushi-gasm.
'We finish up in South Korea, where the spicy cuisine is sensational.
' This would go down a bomb down the local.
'So leather up and take to the road' '.
for one extremely hairy '.
Asian Adventure!' Ah, mind, it's lovely here, Dave, in Thailand, isn't it? The place where us Brits have come to know and love for a bit of quality R & R.
Ah, we came here, tasted the great food and that's how we developed our palate, the love for Thai flavours that we adore at home.
We've got a taste for the coconut and the spicy curry and the old exotic fruits, haven't we? Ooh, aye, but there's more to exotic fruit than just pineapple! I mean, we've got custard apples, durian, mangosteen, pawpaw, rambutan to name but a few.
Fancy a "paw pi ped"? No.
That's baked tiger king prawns, red curry in crab sauce with green veg.
Will you shut up? Thailand has a wildly varying landscape and a rich multicultural past.
Its place on the ancient spice routes between East and West brought traders and ingredients from all over the world to its shores.
The result? One of the most varied cuisines on the planet and we can't wait to try as much of it as possible.
We are starting in Phuket, the largest of all the islands in the South.
It used to be the perfect stopover for traders sheltering from the monsoons.
This coastline would have been the first to see the spices and produce from places like Persia, India and, of course, Europe.
It's a melting pot that's typical of Thai cuisine.
The re-occurring theme of adopting and adapting over the years is what has given us the flavours of Thailand that we've known to come and love at home.
You're absolutely right.
Today, Phuket is the destination of choice for many of the 22 million visitors who come to Thailand every year.
We're catching up with one person who remembers it like it was.
He is Mom Tri, a food lover and architect who built some of the first hotels here.
Mom Tri, good morning.
I'm Si.
Very nice to meet you.
Very nice to meet you.
How are you this morning? Nice to meet you.
Well, what a great day for walk on the beach.
You live in Bangkok most of the time, or? I live in Bangkok, in Chiang Mai, in Phuket and in Maine, USA.
Oh! Oh! A nice life! What was it like, Mom Tri, when you first arrived? Because you are responsible for bringing tourism to Phuket, aren't you, really? Yes.
And, um maybe ruining it, too! From my point of view.
From your point of view, OK.
Because, when I arrived here 40 years ago, there was absolutely nothing.
Nothing except for naked, beautiful, young hippies.
The hippies always discover the best places in the world first.
Yeah! I bet, though, in the village, there are still some casualties there.
I bet there are still some of those original hippies.
Or is it just you? They've all gotten very rich and fly private jets now! Really? There's nothing like a hippy that's got rich.
'There are restaurants and hotels catering to all tastes in Phuket.
'But we're after the real deal, 'so who better to service up an authentic Southern Thai breakfast 'than our new foodie friend, Mom Tri?' This is a very grand breakfast.
It is a very grand breakfast, isn't it? Well, it's a common breakfast but it's set very grandly.
It's the curry that is the main part.
Wow! Good grief.
Crumbs! I feel like the King of Siam at the moment, faced with this.
Is this what people would have and eat for breakfast in Phuket? Yeah.
At home, it's probably simpler, but people would choose one or two or three curries.
So there's eight curries here.
Each one of them you'll find it's a quite different taste.
This one is made from shrimp paste.
That is beef curry.
And that's chicken curry.
This is simply Thai food we wouldn't get at home.
That's a sweet one with some nuts.
I think there's maybe some tamarind in there as well.
'The spice, tamarind, is originally from Goa in India.
'You can taste straight away how the spice trade 'has influenced the food here!' In the old days, it used to be all very hot.
These days, because of mainly Bangkok and tourists coming to Thailand, I've noticed that the degree of hotness has been reduced quite a bit.
But in the old days I couldn't eat this.
Too, too Too hot?.
The fresh pineapple I use as a fire extinguisher if it gets too hot.
This is AMAZING food! It's amazing.
But they all balance together really nicely.
You know, one flavour, complements another.
It's the most exciting gastronomic experience I think I've ever had.
Because you build all sorts of little flavours to your own palate.
It's also representative of how food-obsessed the Thai people are.
Look at this for breakfast.
And that's the mad thing - all this is normal food.
It's just like Everyday food.
everyday food.
In a grand setting.
Bacon and egg.
This is the bacon and egg! Yeah! The bacon and eggs of Thailand.
'You know, Si, I love the fact that the spices in each curry 'are like a little taste of Thailand's history.
' 'Now, enough of this blathering, Dave, I'm roasting.
'So let's get in the pool and work out what we're going to cook.
' I think we should cook a tribute to Mom Tri.
I mean, he's really inspiring.
Squid! Let's do squid.
Let's do the best salad you've ever tasted.
Mom Tri style.
Cor! Look at this, Kingy.
It's a piece of paradise.
Isn't it just, dude? Isn't it just? Look at it, beautiful! Beautiful! You know, so much so that, in 2005, Fortune Magazine declared Phuket to be amongst the top five retirement destinations in the world.
What a place to come and pop your clogs! A place to grow crumbly.
We start off by making the dressing.
Don't forget, Thai cuisine - pestle and mortar is king.
That comes before the knife.
'Thailand has about 80 different types of chilli 'and the hottest is here in the South, the bird's eye chilli.
'Southern Thais love their food hot.
'You start your salad dressing by crushing up some of these.
' Do your worst, Hercules.
Just leave the seeds in, don't worry about that.
We want heat, we want fire, we want passion.
'Add a clove of garlic.
' The squid part of the salad is hot.
We throw the dressing in the hot part, mix that with the cold part and, actually, you've got a kind of hot and cold as well in this salad as well as the four elements of Thai cookery, which are salt and sweet '.
hot and sour.
' 'The chillies are the hot part.
'Now add a dollop of palm sugar to give a little sweetness.
'Not to mention a luscious caramel flavour.
' 'Add some Thai fish sauce, 'the most important flavouring in Thai cooking.
'And used in nearly every dish.
That's the salty.
' Take a lime.
Roll it.
You get more juice out of it that way.
And there's some sour, and that's the dressing done.
These are beautiful baby squid, and this is how you get them from the fishmonger.
What you do is, take the squid, then you've got its head, its tentacles, the guts and the bit you want to eat, the tube.
Just kind of pull that out.
I want to cut the tentacles off below the head, and we discard the head.
So that's the bad bits.
Now, in here you'll find a quill.
Extraordinary, it's quite beautiful in a way.
it really looks like plastic.
Obviously you can't eat that.
Now, I'm going to cut it into two.
Trim the bottom off I scrape the inside, and I want to peel the skin and the fins off.
And a lot of time you have squid it's rubbery, that's because people don't bother to peel it.
You need to take that membrane off.
And just score it like a diamond.
But don't cut all the way through.
When you cook it you get those lovely curly shapes that you get in Thai restaurants.
You just keep on till you have a nice bowl of meat.
Now for the salad.
Slice up a bunch of garlic chives.
They're more garlicky and less oniony than normal chives, you see, unsurprisingly.
As well as some sweet basil.
It has a beautiful aniseedy flavour.
Tear up a handful of that along with some mint.
Now you see, a lemon zester will give a little bit of Thai class to your chopped cucumber.
Half some plum tomatoes and chuck them into your salad, along with some sliced garlic shallots and spring onions.
Right, we're ready to cook the squid along with some ginger to give it a delicious kick.
Boom! Now, that's how hot you want your wok.
Look at that, lovely.
Aww, the smell, man, the smell! Now, the squid goes in.
If you work it a little bit the tubes will start to curl up.
Look at that, mate.
At home you might look and think, "Those two lads, they've got some job, haven't they?" You're not wrong.
We're there, aren't we? Beautiful! Take it off the heat and then we put in the dressing.
Look at the colour of that, mate.
We're going to dress this with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, for flavour.
Get a little spoon out, my old mucker.
And we just put that in.
But what a salad dressing.
Just turn it in gently.
And the leaves are yielding just a little bit with the heat, but not too much.
Wow, mate.
The whole thing now is about room temperature.
Well, about 36 degrees.
Cold beers.
Sit, chat, nibble on as they would in Thailand.
Who said salads were boring? You know, there are 562 islands dotted around southern Thailand.
Ooooh, someone's been reading his guidebook! We're heading off the beaten track to the tiny island of Koh Yao Noi.
But we've heard on the grapevine that is the place to find really authentic southern food.
Koh Yao Noi is just a 30 minute hop from Phuket.
I feel just like Roger Moore, Kingy! These islands were where they filmed The Man With The Golden Gun.
And it's where Danny Boyle filmed The Beach, dude, I could be Leonardo DiCaprio.
Wooah I bet Leo and Rodge didn't tip up in the rainy season! Kingy, looks as though the monsoon has caught up with us at last.
Trust us, trust us.
Never mind.
Got a change of shirt with you, right? You know, Dave, Southern Thailand has only two seasons.
The dry season and the green season.
So called for very good reason.
It chucks it down between May and October, giving the plants a window to grow.
Koh Yao Noi is 18 miles around the circumference, so it's not a big island.
It's a small little pinprick in the sea.
It's a proper island paradise.
Most people here on Koh Yao Noi make their living from the island's natural resources.
Some work on the rubber plantations, Thailand is the biggest producer of natural rubber in the world.
With so much coastline, many earn their living from the sea.
Fish is the most important protein in southern Thai cooking.
We're here to meet Song Pong Num Wa, who is an islander who has lived here all his life, and like many of the islanders, he's a local fisherman.
Every morning at 6am he gets up to go fishing in his traditional wooden boat, for fish and shellfish to sell at the local market and also to eat.
And today he's invited us to go with him.
Tell you what, it's blowing up a hoolie! Here, Dave, I hope we've got our sea legs on.
Right, I'm going to sit here! Crab fishing by JR Hartley! The fishermen here have preserved their traditional small scale sustainable fishing practices.
Here we go, Kingy! We're heading out to sea to inspect Baht's stationary gill nets.
These nets are a popular, low cost method of fishing and they are simply weighted on to the ocean floor.
Whoa! Is that a swimmer crab? Yes.
How long are the nets, how big are the nets? 100 metres long.
Oh, right! So they're big nets then.
We've got a long way to go before we've got supper.
Big style! They're starting to come now! There we go, look! Him and his missus.
You get a lot of value out of the crabs.
Oh, yeah, for sure.
And they're flamin' tasty! How many crabs do you reckon you catch in one day? About 40, 40 crabs.
40 crabs! OK, I think it's time we went back inside.
After just an hour at sea, we were in serious danger of needing to use those flimsy looking lifejackets.
So, we head back to shore, with a few crabs and an invitation to join Baht and his family later on for dinner.
As well as seafood, the other staple of Thai cuisine is the coconut and many families grow their own in the back garden, just like we might grow apples.
So, we've come to meet housewife Oi, and her English-speaking friend Nok, to find out more about this hairy little fruit.
I'm not talking about Kingy! Very nice to meet you.
Very nice to meet you, Nok.
Do you have enough coconuts to keep yourself self sufficient in coconut, coconut milk? About 20 20 trees? 20 trees.
How many coconuts per tree? About 50.
About 50! Wow! That's a lot of coconuts.
It is, innit? That's 1,000 a year.
1,000 coconuts a year.
What does she use the coconuts for? Some she keeps for cooking, and then some she sells.
One family would struggle, I suspect, to get through 1,000 coconuts a year! Now, coconut trees grow up to 80 foot high, so, I bet you're thinking, how do they get the coconuts down? It's dead easy.
You hire an expert coconut picker.
And here he comes now.
I wanna walk like you, talk like you, ooh, ohh Oi hires the monkey and his man two or three times a year to pick the coconuts, rather like us calling out the window cleaner.
Let's go.
I'm excited to see this, it's good, come on.
The Thais use pigtailed macaques to pick the coconuts.
They have the only school in the world that teaches the monkeys how to do it.
Incomingboom! There we go, incoming! An experienced monkey can chuck down up to 300 coconuts in a day, which is 10 times faster than a man could.
They are trained to spot the ripe coconuts by smell.
Does the monkey ever fall out of the tree? That would be a crap monkey, wouldn't it? Do you know what I mean? They've gotflamin' notch! Give us a shout, son, would you, when it's coming? Another one.
It's a very useful tree, the coconut tree.
Not only can you eat part of it, you can make roofing out of it, you can use it for houses, spoons And the water from the coconuts is good for you, too.
It's very good for you.
Low in cholesterol, low in fat, 43 calories a cup, you know.
Look at that! Wow, that's gorgeous.
Time to pay the worker.
Cheap at the price of a sweet yoghurt drink.
Oh, get in, son.
Thanks, monkey! Thank you! Dave, you know what, you know how they use monkeys to pick the coconuts? Well, they need another one to scrape out the flesh.
I can't say I've ever ridden a coconut device before.
The flesh from inside the coconut is what Oi will use to make the coconut milk and this is the traditional way to get the flesh.
What to do with a redundant cowboy's spur.
You could, so easily, take the skin off your thumbs doing this.
And once the coconut is grated you just add water to get the milk.
So basically you squeeze all the moisture out of the coconut into the water.
Coconuts, loaded with oil.
Most of which is saturated fats, which give the milk its thick colour and taste.
The first pass of water is the richest.
It's a bit like first pressed olive oil and second pressed oil, isn't it? Yeah, fascinating.
You get your best off your first press, that's your cream de la crop.
By the time the water goes through a second time, much of the coconut fat has already gone so the milk is much lighter.
The light one first.
Ah, I see.
The cream in Indian.
I understand.
More coconut in this one.
Ah, right.
More cream.
It's a much more sophisticated use of coconut milk than we have at home.
The thinner milk starts the cooking and the richer milk is used to thicken the sauce off.
It tastes fresh and creamy.
The monkey has done his job well.
He has.
You see, people talk about food from source to table, you know, you don't get much more from source to table than that, do you? Just 5,000 people live here on Koh Yao Noi.
Although 90 per cent of the Thai population at large is Buddhist, on this island nearly everyone is Muslim.
That's because they came here from the Malay peninsula in the 1800s, and they brought their culture and cuisine with them.
We're here during one of the most religious times of the Muslim year, Ramadan, when they fast during the day.
In the evening the Ramadan market opens up, selling food for the evening feast.
Oh, mate, it is absolutely amazing.
Better not eat too much, Kingy, we've been invited to our friendly fisherman Baht's house for Ramadan meal, cooked by his wife, Wah.
Hey, hiya, hi.
Come on down, the price is right! Hello, Nok.
Nok is here to act as our interpreter again.
Wah has been rustling up a feast and just has a couple of dishes left to cook.
Now we start to make a yellow curry.
A yellow curry.
Yay! We're looking forward to that.
First, Wah prepares the crabs we caught earlier.
Is this the crabs? It's nice to see how they prepare a crab.
Back off.
Back off, yeah.
It's just about our favourite food, this, isn't it? Then she begins her yellow curry sauce by warming some coconut milk.
OK, for the coconut milk What a great privilege this is.
It is great.
Thai home cooking again, brilliant.
Is this the first coconut milk? No, this is the second.
That's the second one.
So we start off with that, and this is the thicker one, the first.
At the end.
And we finish that.
Look at that.
Are you going to put red curry paste in here now? Yes.
In with the second coconut milk.
The spiced turmeric gives yellow curry paste its characteristic colour.
It came to Thailand on the spice road from India and is now the most widely used spice in Southern Thai cooking.
It doesn't matter what the crab tastes like, the gravy's gonna be ace! And of course, look at those lovely prawns.
Those prawns are destined for a delicious red curry.
The paste's fiery colour and taste comes from copious amounts of red chillies.
I wish you could smell the smells in this kitchen.
It's unreal.
The yellow curry and the fried red curry the colours of the Thai sunshine.
This is so exciting.
It is, isn't it? The sun's going down.
And everybody is really hungry.
Yes, starving! OK.
For now Is that the call from the mosque? Yeah, from the mosque.
Take a seat, please.
Thank you, thank you.
Five times today.
The evening call to prayer tells us that it's time to break the fast.
Wah and Baht haven't eaten since dawn.
So they are more than ready for this feast.
Enjoy your meal.
Aww, thank you.
Aww, stinky beans for me.
Stinky beans, or sataw, as they're officially known are another feature of southern Thai cooking.
They get their name from their strong flavour, and the fact that they can have a, well, let's say, lingering effect.
Red curry with these wonderful prawns and stinky beans, it's superb.
I've just got the first real reality of how hot, hot, hot, the cuisine is in the south.
Really? I've just had the first reality of how sweet a crab can taste.
That yellow curry is fantastic.
Can you ask where she learned how to cook? Because it's very good.
It's the same for cooks the world over, isn't it? It is, Dave, yeah.
I better watch myself with these stinky beans.
I do love them, but I might have to live with myself later! I'm ready for my bed now, don't know about you! I am.
What a day.
What a day, what a privilege.
That, for me, that epitomised Thai hospitality and Thai people Yeah, me too.
You know, coconut is in everything here in Southern Thailand, so in honour of this humble, hairy ingredient, we're headed to the beach to cook a delicious Thai dessert.
What the hell have you come as? We're meant to be funky young things on the beach! You look like an organ grinder! You know what you look like, don't you? No.
The monkey! I've just come back from yoga - it's loose, it's comfortable.
Enables me to get into the positions where hitherto I couldn't.
Anyway, down to business, we're going to be cooking a coconut sticky rice salad cos coconut's been the motif of these islands.
And what we're going to do is - going to have a lovely papaya and lime, mmm "Gorgifousness", cornucopia, melody! 'One of the most popular desserts in Southern Thailand is 'mango and coconut sticky rice pudding.
'But we found a lovely, ripe papaya and decided to use that instead.
' I think it will work a treat.
I think it will too.
It's going to either work well in Phuket or in Peterborough.
Yes, I'd better get started.
Sticky rice is a glutinous rice.
It's basically a short-grain rice and it tends to go mushy.
And you soak the rice in water for about four hours and it tends to go glutinous.
Now, a lot of people say you should wash that rice before you do it but the idea of sticky rice is that it's sticky so, I think, keep the starch in.
When it's soaked pop it in a steamer like this and just steam it for half an hour.
We've just made this lovely, little woven mat of bamboo leaf as well.
At home you could use greaseproof.
Just leave that to steam until it looks like well, a jellyfish that's been out in the sun.
We want it sticky - boing, boing, boing.
'And, while the rice is cooking, prepare the papaya.
'Or pawpaw as it's also known.
' 'Next, add the zest of an unwaxed lime and squeeze in the juice.
' Ready to be served with Mr Myers' coconut sticky rice - I thank you! 'And just when it was all going so well' The monsoon's kicking off.
It's just gone dark.
Flamin' Nora.
Me hat, Kingy! How's your rice pudding doin'? Me gas has blown out! Hold on.
'We're cursed! First the boat now the beach.
'The wind and rain are following us around - not the 'exotic Thai experience we signed up for.
' 'Fortunately, as quickly as they arrive the clouds pass.
' 'And the sticky rice is done! So we can crack on.
' We need to do an infused coconut milk.
SIMON EXHALES And you kind of mix that with the sticky rice.
It's a two-part cookery.
So I've got coconut milk Mmm.
And you can use half-fat coconut milk if you are a porker.
It is better for you.
Some salt, some palm sugar, kaffir lime leaves, that's all you need.
And it's like this wonderful taste of paradise.
'Let's get started - light your hob.
'Pour some coconut milk into a saucepan.
'Add a pinch of salt, some palm sugar 'and kaffir lime leaves.
'You can get both of these at the biggest supermarkets 'and just keep stirring until the palm sugar's dissolved 'and it comes to a gentle simmer.
Then leave to cool.
' I wonder if me rice is getting sticky? Here, what's going on with the dogs? SIMON WHISTLES Aren't they beautiful? It's like me and you that, know what I mean? Hey, dude, maybe that's it, maybe it's been sent by the spirits of the island? Yeah.
It's a Buddhist version of us.
Freaky, dude, freaky.
'Once your rice is nice and sticky it's time to pour in the coconut 'mixture.
But keep a little back.
' 'Now we're going local.
And using little bamboo baskets 'lined with banana leaves as our bowls.
'Load them up and drizzle the remaining coconut milk over.
'And a little lime leaf finishes it all off nicely.
' 'And that's your coconut sticky rice pudding with papaya 'drizzled in lime juice.
' Sporks! Sporks! Pudding.
Look at that, it's unctuous, it's sticky.
It's rice pudding! That's what you call a balanced meal! Mm, papaya mixed Mm, that flavour combo goes together very well.
You know, Kingy, I don't think I'll ever eat papaya without lime juice again.
If you could put that in a chocolate bar you'd make a fortune.
So, there you go, our version of Thai rice pudding.
Comfort food - Thai style.
Now, you can see, can't you, how the cuisine's been shaped by what they have a lot of.
Namely, coconuts.
And by the people who migrated here hundreds of years ago.
Now let's head North to see what culinary treasures are hidden there.
700 miles North to be precise where the climate is cooler and the landscape couldn't be more different.
It's all mountains and jungles.
And it has a very different multicultural heritage too.
The North borders Laos and Myanmar, or Burma as it used to be known.
Over the centuries people from as far afield as China have made this area their home.
I can't wait to see what the food's like up North, Kingy.
Here we go, Kingy, the gates to the city of Chiang Mai! The ancient city and the gateway to it, fantastic.
Hey, hey! We're in the Northern capital of Chiang Mai.
It was once the ancient capital of the Lanna kingdom.
Before Thailand as we know it even existed, the North was part of the mighty Lanna kingdom which also extended into neighbouring Laos, Burma and China.
In the 15th century the Lanna kingdom was powerful and prosperous, dominating trade routes between Southern China and the Burmese seaports.
By the 20th century it no longer existed and Chiang Mai had become the Northern capital of Thailand.
But the Lannas left a legacy of food unique to the region.
Chiang Mai is the fifth biggest city in the whole of Thailand and it's said to have some of the best food in the whole of Asia.
So much so, that Thais will make the pilgrimage North to explore the local markets and sample the Lanna delicacies and there's one animal that takes pride of place on the Northerners' plates and that's The pig! In the South there's not much pork due to the Muslim population but here in the North the Chinese influence means most people are Buddhist and pork is one of the most popular meats.
Oh, Kingy, look.
Markets, our natural habitat.
Love it! I'm dead excited! The locals do their food shopping here and also pop in at the end of the day for a post-work beer and a snack that's strangely familiar.
It's a living, breathing, mountain of pork crackling.
It's like The Blob, isn't it? A 1950s sci-fi film.
I hear the sounds of crackling pork That is Valhalla for us.
All I need It's fingers or a fork.
It came, it saw, it took over Chiang Mai - the 40-kilo pork scratching.
Pork scratchings are made from deep frying the skin of the pig.
Making little curls of bite-size crunchy, piggy "gorgifisness".
This is the first piece of Lanna cuisine.
Aww! Hey, man, it's epic.
These are epic.
But there's more to this food than pork scratchings.
We're meeting local food writer, Anne, to find out.
What, to you, is Lanna food? So, Lanna food we don't use coconut in the food.
Because up here we don't grow coconut.
So the taste is a little bit of bitterness but not so much.
And, er, salty.
But no sweet.
Oh, now! Anne, what's this? This is Kan Hun Lai.
This one is from Burma but it's a little bit sour because we put tamarind juice in there.
Kan hun lai, we use like pork like sirloin.
Like the side of the pork.
With some of the ribs mixed together.
Many, many herbs and many spices and then what's in here is what you call? You call it pickle, yeah? Yeah, yeah A little garlic.
And then ginger in here and then some of the crushed peanuts.
'It's thought that kan hun lai originated with the 'Sian tribe who arrived in Thailand from Burma in the late 19th century.
' Do you think that Lanna food is the best in Thailand? Well, because I live here, I was born here, I would say yes! I have heard it said Yes? .
that it could be some of the best in Asia.
Yes, thank you! Next, we're heading further North into the mountains towards the Burmese border.
These roads are a biker's dream but in days gone by the Thais would have used a different vehicle.
The elephant! Today, most of Thailand's 2,700 domesticated elephants find gainful employment in the tourism industry.
They live in camps and are cared for by their trainer or mahout.
And we just had to meet them, didn't we? But before we can swap two wheels for four legs it's back to the classroom.
Say "who".
" "How.
" "How.
" "How.
" "How" means stop.
It's like learning to drive, isn't it? Map long.
Map long.
Map long! It's impressive to see man's mastery over beast, isn't it? Map long.
Oop Grab an ear first.
Grab the ear.
These animals are so graceful.
Feels like you're riding something so old and so part of the planet that we all live on.
It's a very spectacular feeling.
Here, Kingy? Yeah.
You can tell the elephants are Thai because they're snacking all the time.
Aren't they? They are! One minute bamboo the next minute a bit of sugar cane.
It's like elephant street food.
Now, it's time for our lunch, mahout-style.
We've got a treat.
We've got Pad Thai which is something we know, we're familiar with in Britain.
This is real Pad Thai, chicken kebabs and sticky rice.
All cooked over a fire.
I mean, you don't get that at Charnock Richard services up the M6.
That's true.
Kingy, I love the way they do the sticky rice.
Get bamboo, pour your rice in like loading a muzzle-loaded shotgun Water Water, mineral water.
Plug it up with a bit of banana leaf, leave it to steam.
It's going to stay sticky cos of the bamboo.
Oh, here we go, look.
OK, you want to try? Yes.
Yes, please.
Oh, wow! Now, that's sticky.
Sticky, compressed That's it in its entirety.
Is it amazing? Yeah, that is amazing.
That's the stickiest sticky rice I've ever "stucked"! Hmm.
See the jungle, it even gives you a tablecloth, something to sit on, some plates, bamboo skewers, bamboo steamers Wow.
We've got the lot.
Look at this, man.
Cor, look at that.
Now, that's Pad Thai.
Phwoar! 'Did you know, Mr King? Pad Thai was invented 'because rice was in short supply after World War Two.
'So, the Thai government ran a competition to find the best 'noodle dish.
' Look at this Oh, by God, that's good.
Tastes good, tastes good? Do you know what I often think you know, like, on telly in England and you've got, like, Ray Mears or Bear Grylls out in the jungle and drinking your own droppings, you know It doesn't have to be that way.
This is jungle fare, natural style, Thai style So, Bear Grylls, forget where you go, you need to change your travel agent, know what I mean? So, guys, is there for the mahouts a tradition of cooking in bamboo? In Thailand, what is the tradition of mahouts? How do you become a mahout? After a nice ramble in the jungle there's nothing the elephants like better than a nice, cool bath and a bit of Thai pop music.
I tell you what, he could certainly do with some exfoliation.
You're going to have to leave your elephant behind, Kingy, because our road trip's not quite finished yet.
We've been invited to meet a hill tribe.
Mate, is that one of the hill tribes that migrated into Northern Thailand over the last three centuries from countries like Burma, Tibet and China? Yes.
And their village is so remote the food hasn't changed for centuries.
I tell you what, this looks an inviting dip.
It does.
The waters of the mountain ranges I'm going to have a sluice.
That is amazing.
Look, that's an example of hill tribes' people's bamboo plumbing.
Cos the villages are set up in the mountains where there's a waterfall and they're well known for constructing bamboo plumbing and guttering so they've got water on tap in the villages.
Look at that, Si! Now we know we are in the mountains.
Oh, wow, look It's all a bit Arthur C Clarke, isn't it! Yeah! The Lost World.
Oh, it's fabulous.
Just superb.
It's always lovely to get out of the city and the hustle and bustle of the city and come to the peace of the country, because I kind of think that the true heart of the country and all its cultural emotion comes from the rural areas.
'There are six main hill tribes in Northern Thailand 'scattered over 3,500 villages.
' Look at that! Yeah 'We're meeting the Lisu tribe.
'They migrated from Tibet nearly 200 years ago.
' Most of them settled in Burma but about 28,000 came to Thailand, some settling here in this spectacular mountain range.
'And since then their way of life has remained almost unchanged.
' Hello! 'The Lisu mainly survive off the land 'or earn money working for local farmers.
'About 30 families live here in houses made from bamboo.
'We're meeting Sam and his family along with a family friend Del.
' Sam? Sam? Hello?! Hello? Hello.
Hello, Sam.
Nice to meet you.
Dave Dave.
Del? Del.
Hello, Del! Hello.
Hello, how are you? All right, how are you?! Your name Del is it short for something in Thai? My Thai name's Derek.
'When was Derek a Thai name?' Del Boy So, from Only Fools And Horses? They say that Mange tout! Well, shall we get trekking? Just like their ancestors, Sam and his family forage for food in the forest.
Meat is scarce here, but as the North is so fertile, there is an abundance of veg plus leaves, shoots and plants for flavour.
Ah, that can be made into chilli paste.
It is the same family as aubergine.
We call them pea aubergine.
Pea aubergine? Yes, like little peas.
Oh, yes.
You can smash it and it can be stir-fried.
Tell you what, Si, this makes a difference to going brambling with your mum! So, does everybody live from the land here? They live on cultivation, what they grow.
They grow ginger, peanut, corn and rice.
And what they can't grow, they get from a weekly market an hour's journey away.
Rice is the staple diet for the hill tribes.
The ground needs to be flooded for the rice to grow.
But in the North, where the land is so steep, the water simply runs off.
So they have to wait for the rainy season to plant it.
And then they head out with an unfeasibly large stick.
I can see the purpose of a bamboo pole.
It is pinging the soil out.
The length of the pole makes it vibrate and flick the soil out.
Genius! It's just flicking it out, with the minimum of effort.
So you're not having to dig it.
Because the gradient is pretty steep.
And his wife pops the rice seeds in.
It must be such a hard life, farming on this gradient.
Yes, it is hard.
But for them, they are used to it.
Is there any problem with young people wanting to leave the village? Are they attracted to go to Chiang Mai or to Bangkok? The young generation, they go to study.
And then when they graduate, they may not come back.
So do you think there is a danger that the traditional ways of the hill people could die out? Yes, that is dangerous for the way of life and culture.
I mean, God forbid these lands became a tourist resort or a golf course.
Well, quite.
These jungles have helped shape northern Thai cuisine and in the days when it took people weeks to trek through the forest, they gathered roots and herbs to use as a substitute for their normal curry ingredients.
And thus, one of Thailand's most delicious curries was born.
Kaeng Pa, or jungle curry, as we know it at home.
There's a rumble in the jungle! Yes, it is our Thai jungle curry, you know.
If you are going to cook a jungle curry Where do you come to? The jungle! Look at that! This is a great recipe and you know one crucial ingredient that you need while making a jungle curry? You need This.
You might find it in the UK labelled up as rhizome root, because that's what the Chinese call it.
It's lovely.
It's like a mixture between lemon grass, ginger and a bit of galengal thrown in.
It's mild, it's lovely and that is what gives its jungle curry its distinctive character.
That and loads of green chillies, green peppercorns - blows your head off! Right.
Now, the first thing we have to do is to make the curry paste.
What do you need for a curry paste? You need a pestle and you need a mortar.
I am here to be pestle and mortar and operator thereof.
First thing, chop six Thai shallots, or two British ones and chuck them in the mortar.
Turn Geordie on.
Nnnnnrrr! And watch him go.
Oh, hold on.
What? I have got a problem on here.
This veranda is not feeling secure.
It's not.
I'm going to have to get a chair.
Is that your bunking chair? I've got a Yeah.
That's it, you see.
This has just killed the cameraman.
I know, but never mind.
He is all right.
We have three cloves of garlic.
You could of course do this in a food processor, but it's fantastically more entertaining, isn't it? Pop the garlic into the mortar along with some galengal, which is similar to ginger, but slightly stronger.
And then, grab some lemon grass.
I kid you not, we found a tarantula before.
It was a Thai tarantula.
Apparently, Thai tarantulas are more aggressive than your average tarantula.
And the bite from them is a little bit more than a sting.
It will immobilise you for 24 hours.
But the thing about jungle curry is, it originally was made with wild boar.
Because obviously, up here in the hills, it was wild boar time.
It is more commonly done now with pork or chicken.
But actually, there is so much flavour in it, you could get away with a vegetarian jungle curry.
Add your chopped lemon grass to the mortar and some hot green chillies.
Chop them roughly and pass to Geordie.
Stop! And green chillies.
Then add in some kaffir lime leaves and some coriander root.
Del! Del? Sit there.
I'm going for a swim.
Well, it's me and me old mate Del boy.
We're going to get on with the curry.
Half a teaspoon of shrimp paste.
Stop! Thank you.
One teaspoon of cracked white peppercorns.
And that's it.
All we have to do now is wait until Del has reduced that to a paste.
And that'll be our curry paste.
Thank you.
While Del knuckles down to business, our Lisu hosts are preparing the other food for tonight's dinner.
This will be accompanied by the obligatory Thai chilli paste which the women are preparing.
Hi, how are you? Hi.
How are you doing? Oh, um, this is a very lovely special roasted chilli paste.
It is basically Thai garlic Yeah.
Small chillies Yeah.
And then salt.
And you were telling us that there is a lot more spices and herbs in the North than the central belt of Thailand? Yeah, I think it is because of availability.
Basically, we have so many areas that are still quite foresty, so you have a lot of herbs from the forest.
If you don't have it, you go to your neighbour's.
Done! Done! Chim.
Oh, Dave! It's a seasoning, basically, isn't it? Yeah, just to add that "mmm" into your meal.
That would give "mmm" to anything, wouldn't it? You could season a beer mat with that and enjoy it! You could! Thank you.
Thank you.
Here we go.
That's another recipe.
I have seen the future, it is Thai-shaped.
I'm loving it, dude, I'm loving it! Now, how is Del getting on with our jungle curry paste? Del has got a lovely action.
Shut your face! Look at that.
Oh, no, that is good.
Del, thank you very much.
Thank you very much.
That is very kind.
'Del has pounded our jungle curry paste to a pulp.
'So it is time to light the wok.
' Now, here is a little tip.
Lift the pan off the ring before you light it.
Told you.
Now, fry off all that paste for a few minutes.
These little pea aubergines are fantastic.
They are kind of like a bitter pea, not like an aubergine.
But they give the most amazing texture.
And again, with Thai food, it's the texture.
You can get pea aubergines in jars at big supermarkets, but if you want them fresh, you need to head to the Asian shops.
The main thing about the jungle curry is that it is in the North.
It is not cream or coconut-based.
It is water-based.
Sometimes, in our job, you feel quite cool.
And cooking jungle curry in a jungle, is one of them.
My legs are full of fluid, they are swelling up with water retention.
But am I bothered? Am I heck?! Now, take a lump of Chiang Mai's finest, a fillet of pork.
Cut it into medallions and then add to the pan.
Just to seal the pork.
And now for the heat.
Let's cut the chillies Thai style.
It's kind of shardy chunks like that.
Seeds and all.
Once the pork is sealed, add in the aubergines, chillies, some chicken stock, some Thai fish sauce and let it all simmer.
Remember we said there was a tarantula on here? We've got him.
Do you want to have a look? There it is.
Look at that.
Now, you don't get that at Television Centre, lurking in your kitchen.
I'm not letting him go, though, until we have finished cooking.
I'm not good with spiders.
Right, we are boiling.
Don't even think about it.
Now it's time for the second wave.
Toss in some chopped kaffir lime leaves, diced squash, some wonderful kachai, green peppercorns, palm sugar and finally, some long beans and sweet basil.
Phew! That's it, Kingy.
It's done.
The perfume is fantastic.
The basil has really lifted it at the end.
But by crikey, there is a lot going on in there.
Time to see if our jungle curry lives up to Lisu standards.
She says she wants to taste now.
Go on.
After you.
Please, after you.
Ladies first.
The pork is too big.
What do you think? Delicious.
And spicy.
'She likes it! Get in!' That's good.
That's a real good old-fashioned Friday night curry.
What would you think of as a jungle curry? Is this pretty close? What is it here? I The flavour is really quite nice, you know.
Um, but there is many different style of doing a jungle curry in Thailand.
But this is perfect with sticky rice like this.
I loved it.
More? That's the best compliment you could give us.
Yes, it is.
I tell you what, Si, soon we will have a party.
Got your dancing shoes? I have.
And Sam has lent us a couple of pairs of traditional baggy trousers to wear for dinner.
I cannot sit like that.
Wow, here is the food.
Oh, yes! This is superb.
It is, isn't it? So what have we got? Well, there is ours.
There is a vegetable they grow themselves.
This is the main meat, here.
This is a minced pork with spices.
Oh, lovely.
Oh, great.
This one, chilli.
Little aubergines, yeah.
Little aubergines.
Long beans.
And Soya bean.
Oh, wow.
Do you cook, Sam, or does your wife cook this? This, Sam cooked.
Those are Sam's wife.
Sam's wife.
Thank you.
What a team effort.
What a feast, thank you.
What a fantastic feast, thank you.
No chilli, no yummy.
Yeah, no chilli, no yummy.
What's interesting, there is just enough chilli.
It's not overpowering.
It's not overly hot.
We came looking for authentic food.
It is very, very honest food, isn't it? Yeah, it is.
Sam, has the food that you eat changed much in the course of your life? It's like the same as back in the generations.
Like our grandfathers, great-grandfathers Yeah.
I think one of the stars of this meal is the rice.
To eat with somebody who has grown their own rice on a hillside, in Northern Thai, it's special.
It's really tasty.
Dead right.
What's wonderful about the dishes, the ingredients that they are made with are so good and so fresh.
Fresh, yes.
There is just this fabulous flavour.
And once dinner is over, Sam is happy to show us how they celebrate a special occasion, which, for us, this is.
Sam is the village musician and makes all his own instruments.
What a wonderful end to a wonderful day, Si.
How marvellous is this? What lucky men.
You know, Dave, I don't take I have ever met such a welcoming people as the Thais and their food is a reflection of that.
For centuries, they have embraced the flavours and spices that outsiders have brought in.
What I have discovered, mate, is just how much more delicious Thai food we have yet to experience back home.
Now, there is something to look forward to! Oh, Sam, that was fantastic.
Thank you.
Next week, we are fulfilling a lifetime ambition - we're heading to Japan.
It's like pushing against a tree, and the tree is pushing back! To uncover the secrets of our all-time favourite food.
This is very good.
Thank you very much, you're so kind.
Thank you.
Better quit while I am ahead!