Armchair travel: P.E.I. chefs inspired by 5-week Thailand adventure
'Exotic sounds, fragrant smells, and the intense heat and humidity. It's addictive'
Diners can expect some Thai flavour on the menu this summer at the historic Dalvay-by-the-Sea resort in Dalvay, P.E.I.
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Executive Chef Chris Colburn and his spouse Karen Henry, also a chef at Dalvay, have just returned from a five-week culinary adventure to the southeastern Asian country, and Colburn agreed to share the couple's trip as part of CBC P.E.I.'s ongoing series on armchair travel.
"I use travel as a culinary inspiration for my restaurant menus, and since Karen and I met we have explored some of the world's top food destinations such as Cambodia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam," said Colburn.
Hungry for inspiration
The couple spent a couple of months in Thailand during 2010 and wanted to return ever since. This time they were most looking forward to experiencing the cuisine of chef Gaggan Anand at his eponymous Bangkok restaurant Gaggan, winner of Asia's best restaurant for the last three years.
"Islanders can expect to see several Thai-inspired dishes this summer at Dalvay-by-the-Sea," Colburn said.
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'Flexibility to explore'
Perhaps surprisingly, the seasoned international travelers did no advance planning.
"Traveling without a set itinerary gives us the flexibility to explore a different city, a different island, or even a different country at the drop of a hat. We've found that letting your days and weeks unfold randomly can lead to some amazing adventures," said Colburn.
'Stunning beaches and scenery'
"The highlights certainly include the Thai culture and street life, the incredible food, and the stunning beaches and scenery," Colburn said.
"Every minute is dominated by exotic sounds, fragrant smells, and the intense heat and humidity. It's addictive," he shared.
This trip was especially rewarding, he said, as the couple adopted a stray kitten they named "Noi." After they returned to Canada, a flight volunteer from The Lanta Animal Welfare Center flew the kitten from Bangkok to Toronto where they picked her up.
'The place for you'
Although Colburn said the couple "spent too much" money on their trip, he highly recommends Thailand to others.
"If you have a few bucks in your pocket, a few weeks to spare, and a sense of adventure, then Thailand is the place for you," he said. "I wouldn't change anything about the country, I love it."
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