I was born and raised in Bangkok and my family loved to travel around Thailand. When I was a young girl, my father would take us to different provinces at the weekends. We often went to Hua Hin, a seaside resort in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan in the west of Thailand. There are some great places to visit, such as the night market and Wat Huay Mongkol, a Buddhist temple home to the world's largest statue of Luang Phor Thuad, a legendary Thai Monk. Hua Hin is just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Bangkok, but my family and I would make the four-hour train journey. They were the trips I enjoyed the most.
I especially loved all the delicious food we got to eat: the fresh seafood, Bang Tarn chicken (Thai-style roasted chicken) and Hua Hin's famous Thai sweet sticky rice with mango. But my most distinct memory of the Hua Hin trips is the fried rice we would buy from the food vendors who came on to the train. I would wait excitedly for the sound of the seller's voice as he made his way towards my seat. The rice came wrapped in banana leaves with chicken or pork and you could add chillies and fish sauce. As a chef now, I'm inspired by those flavours I experienced in my childhood every day.
You can get "train fried rice" at lots of food stalls in Thailand now, but for me there is something special about eating it on the train. You can't really find it here in New Zealand, so when I have a craving for it I make it at home and for the Saan team's staff dinner.
- Say Polvitt is the chef at Saan restaurant in Auckland's Ponsonby.
Old-style train fried rice" (Khao-PAD-ROD-FAI)
cups cooked jasmine rice
2 Tbsp canola oil
50g pork, prawn or chicken
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
25g brown onion slices
25g red tomatoes, roughly cut
1½ tsp sweet black soy sauce
½ tsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1½ tsp white sugar
Cucumber, sliced a little under 1.5cm thick
Green lime wedges
Spring onion, thinly sliced
Cayenne pepper to sprinkle
1g bird's eye chilli, finely chopped (PLEASE CHECK THIS AMOUNT)
3 tsp fish sauce
1. Heat a dash of oil in a wok or non-stick frying pan. Add garlic and fry until golden brown. Add onion, then your choice of meat and stir fry until the meat has changed colour and is cooked through.
2. Add the cooked rice with both lots of soy sauce, salt and sugar.
3. Remove rice from the pan and set aside.
4. Add beaten eggs to pan, then tomatoes and continue stir-frying. Fry at a high temperature, until the rice smokes a little bit.
5. Scoop the rice on to a plate, season with ground pepper, then garnish with spring onion, coriander and green lime.
6. Combine the chopped chillies and fish sauce in a small bowl for the dipping sauce.
7. Serve with cucumber.