We arrived in Thailand through a very busy working river.  The shoreline was dotted with colorful Buddhist temples, old shanties and floating fishing boats.  I thought to myself, this is just what I have seen in pictures and I’m slowly cruising past it.

Once docked in Klong Toey, a port in Bangkok, a small group of people (including us) soon left on a bus to the city of Bangkok.  Motor scooters ruled the road and I was glad our driver was a cautious driver.  We were on an excursion to a food market in central Bangkok with the ship’s Executive Chef Fabio D’Agosta.

Being in uncertain territories, we followed chef’s footsteps from stall to stall. I heard heavy rain pouring outside and shop keepers squeegeed the wet floor, adding to the intrigue of the market.

Chef meandered to his favorite sellers of green leafy produce and inspected the lemongrass, basil and mint before buying.  His purchases this morning would become our dinner tonight.

Deep into thought about which fish to buy to complement the produce, he picked out prawns laying in ice and a chunk of white fish.

Rounding out his purchases were the spices and a mound of thick green chili paste scooped into a bag and sealed tightly.  It all went into the basket, while chef assured us he’d go light with the spice in his prepared dishes.

Dinner was served in beautiful dining room and first course served was shrimp and sweet basil spring roll accompanied by morning glory salad.  Next, served in wide rim bowls was the Thai hot and sour soup over a base of mushroom mousse.

The main course consisted of a show stopper pork lolli pop and a lemongrass stem looking like a protruding bone.  Pork seasoned just right with chili spices trailing in the background.

Ending the meal were selections of sticky rice pudding, lightly sweet, yet satisfying.  All the ingredients purchased earlier in the market were skillfully used in each course, allowing me a new vision of Asian cuisine.