The bananas also can be found dried, and we bought boxes to bring home for our kids and for us. If you ever find yourself in Phitsanulok, look for the fried bananas!
The dried bananas are not really like anything I can describe — firm and chewy. I'm not sure if the fried ones are made from fresh or dried bananas, but I think dried. The Thai name is bang krathum which translates to "sun-dried banana."
After the lecture, we were taken to see the King Naresuan Shrine and Wang Chan Palace Ruin. Phitsanulok was the birthplace of King Naresuan the Great of Ayuthaya (reign : 1590 - 1605). The shrine commemorates his life. Inside the small white building you see in the photo is a statue of the King and an altar.
The statue of the King is a little hard to see clearly because of the lighting, but you can observe the flowers and other offerings brought by people who have come to ask for favors or good luck. While we were there a woman came in with so many large plants she had trouble fitting them on the altar. The Thai people regard the monarchy with great reverance.
After returning to the hotel and resting a bit, Ken and I went back to visit the temple near our hotel . After spending time at the temple, we browsed the open-air market next to the temple and bought an embroidered dress for our granddaughter. It was a completely impractical white dress, but so cute, and at only $6, I couldn't resist.
We went to dinner at a very beautiful restaurant where the cooking is unusual rather than typical Thai — for the meat eaters. (I would have photographed the display but I didn't want to feature all the meat.)
For the vegans, it was rice and veggies. Please don't take this as a complaint because I'm always thrilled to receive vegan food, but it was interesting that no alternative to meat, like tofu for instance, was available.
In addition to the vegetables, we also had two soups. I don't remember what this one was.
The soup you see above was galangal soup. Galangal, in case you aren't familiar with it, is similar to gingerroot in appearance. It is harder than gingerroot and has peppery overtones. The soup was really good but many, if not most, of the things in it were not edible — things like hard slices of galangal and kaffir lime leaves — so mainly it was the liquid that was consumed.
This was an interesting dish. You make a little pocket with a betel leaf and fill it with chopped gingerroot, chopped limes, chopped peanuts and sauce and pop it into your mouth. We had special sauce without fish. Eating the leaves was a challenge for me because I am neurotic about not eating raw food I can't peel when traveling in other countries, but I'm happy to say I didn't get even a tinge of stomach woes on our trip. Maybe because ginger is good for digestion.
For dessert there was one of the icy-fruity things I mentioned in a previous post that I wasn't so fond of. I think the frozen part was flavored with pandan — a tropical plant that is used a lot in Thai cooking. The leaves give a sweet taste to foods. Pandan tea is a popular drink, as are bottled pandan beverages.
The restaurant building itself was quite wonderful. It was a converted traditional Thai house of multiple large rooms, both indoors and out.
By the time we finished dinner we were all exhausted and ready to head back to the hotel to rest up for our last day in Phitsanulok.
In case you are interested in more about Thailand Thailand post #1
Thailand post #2
Thailand post #3