Around the fire

A few days after I left Bangkok last December, my older brother, on a whim, decided to set up a tent in my parent's backyard and throw a BBQ for the family. I knew about this event through the pictures he later posted on Facebook.

I emailed to scold him right away when I saw the pictures.'You had to wait for me to leave, didn't you? How come we didn't do this when I was still there!' 

He wrote back. 'You have yourself to blame. Your recent blog post inspired me to organise family get-togethers more often.' I had just written a post about how our family could do with more get-togethers because it helped to energise my parents by allowing them to see their loved ones gathered in one place.

I was surprised that my brother read my blog and thought that his response was really thoughtful. I suddenly felt 'included' even though I was not physically there that evening. 

I told myself that the next time I go home, the first thing I would do is to organise another Thai BBQ camping event. And that is exactly what I did on my recent visit home last month.

I woke up early on my first day back in Bangkok to get the freshest seafood I could find in the market. Thai BBQ style requires zero cooking skill. All you need are fresh ingredients thrown on a charcoal grill. Once you add the killer seafood dipping sauce (especially the one made by my mom), you can have yourself a delicious, high-quality meal.

I bought all kinds of seafood as our family is quite diverse in taste. River shrimp was for me, red tilapia to make salt-crusted grilled fish for my dad. Crabs for my mom. Sepia for my sister-in-law. Mussels for my younger brother. Pork for the little munchkins and my older brother (the poor guy is allergic to shellfish). 

My niece, who is now much taller and more beautiful than last year, shadowed me all day to help prep and take pictures with her new DSLR camera. What a difference a year can make... 

At sunset, eight of us gathered in our backyard. Around the fire, we fought for space on the grill, picked at our food and on each other. We ate so well and laughed so hard.

It was a simple night but definitely one to remember.


Mom's seafood dipping sauce



3-4 garlic cloves
4-5 stems of cilantro including roots
1 green bird-chili
1 red bird-chili
1 jalapeno or serrano chili
a pinch of Salt
Lime juice
pickled garlic juice
Palm sugar (or regular sugar)

Blend everything together in a blender. Adjust the last four ingredients in the sauce to your liking. What you want is a perfect blend of 4S - Spicy, Salty, Sour and Sweet.