I’ve been craving Thai curry ever since I left Lyon. Once I had it six nights in a row. Same recipe every night from Monday to Saturday just because I could. On Sunday I had fish to give my bowels a rest.
I don’t believe you can’t have the same dish everyday of the week. If I discover something new, I generally gorge on it until I’m sick or can’t stand the sight of it any longer. Whichever comes first.
By the time I left Lyon last July I could make a red Thai curry better than any Thai restaurant in the city could. I experimented on the farm in Queaux with ingredients I got from the local supermarket in Lussac. But the results were awful. The runoff from the compost heap tasted better.
Personally I always use AROY-D coconut milk and Mae Ploy paste (red, green, or panang), the two most important ingredients. Don’t buy the paste or the milk from a supermarket. Their brands are crap and tasteless. Seriously. You need a good Asian shop or supermarket. Full stop. Period. End-of-story.
Hence, yesterday’s trip to the Eurasie Asian Supermarket, stuffed away just north of the old Nazi U-Boat bunker (which looks as intimidating and foreboding now as it probably did back in 1940) on the inland docks just west of the new Pont Jacques Chaban Delmas.
It’s a nightmare of a place to get to on a bike though. The broken and uneven pre-WWI cobbles of the old Docklands rattled my bones like I was cycling across the Pyrenees on a penny-farthing.
It’s a grubby area as well. ‘Post-industrial’ in an urban planning text book. ‘Shit’ in everybody else’s. Broken down factories, rotting warehouses, rusting cranes. Not pretty neoclassical Bordeaux that’s for sure, and not a place the wealthy Americans from the cruise ships would visit.
‘I didn’t think much of Bordeaux, hon. Did you? Kinda like Detroit, only worse.’ They wouldn’t be wrong either. It’s bloody awful.
To be honest though, they are pulling a lot down and building new offices and apartments so I suppose the place is in flux. ‘Dockland Redevelopment’ the planners would call it. And by God it needs it. I nearly lost my bike down a four foot hole in the road probably caused by a mine left over from the war.
But I got there in the end. And it was worth it. Thai, Japanese, Indonesian, Indian, Malay, Chinese, Korean. Every cranny and crevice crammed full of chilli sauces, spices, tamarinds, pak choi, lemongrass, noodle bowls, bamboo cutlery, powders, potions, fruits, legumes. Every ingredient to every known oriental dish.
Including my coconut milk, curry paste, kaffir leaves, coconut oil, and purple Thai basil. It even had an English section. True. A whole shelf of Pataks pastes and pickles. Brilliant.