We spend time in spring and summer in our house in Italy. The rest of the year we live in Thailand. On this page, Life in Asia, I want to document some observations on life away from Italy.  


published so far:

What Italians and Thai have in common - Food

Spring Cleaning in May - why I give "Life in Asia" a try on Palazzo Pizzo

Beijing Notebook - my blog while living in Beijing, China (2005-2008)


coming next:  What Italians and Thais have in common - Family


Remark about the photo above (copyright 2013 Palazzo Pizzo):

The left half shows some branches of a purple Bougainvillea flower that is growing over a wall of a private garden in a sub-street of Sukhumvit Road in central Bangkok. I found Bougainvillea, which I like a lot, very symbolic for my new aim to combine my two blog subjects, Italy and Thailand, because this plant grows well in both tropical and mediterranean climate. 

What Italians and Thai have in common - Food

Do Italians and Thai have anything in common? Well, you will be surprised how much!

When we first came to the land of smile in 1998, we realized, that Thai people love food as much as Italians do. And then, with time, we found more and more common ground.

We always say, when Singapore is considered to be the Switzerland of Asia, then Thailand is the Italy of Asia.

pad thai, spaghetti al pomodoro, kao soi soup

Let's start with Food:

Eating well, choosing good and healthy food, and having regular meals at a set time, is important to both, Italians and Thai. Both nations always have a variety of dishes to chose from for each meal.  Eating alone is not fun. Especially Thai would go in a group to enjoy together the pleasure of eating. Eating with friends, and with the whole family on weekends, is very common for both nations. Thai people eat even more than three times a day. Sometimes it seems they are always eating. But it is probably five times a day, and mainly small portions, which is very healthy. Also they tent to eat early, lunch around noon and dinner around 7pm.

Talking about food at any time of the day, is what Italians do, and, well, Thai too. Asking what you ate (when not having eaten together) is a popular topic. Sometimes it is almost like a greeting: "Did you ate yet?". And "Buon Appetito" is what you might hear around lunch time in the streets of an Italian village. However, talking about recipes, knowing where to buy the best ingredients, is maybe slightly more Italian, since working middle class Thai often don't cook themselves. But every Thai is able to tell you where to find their best favorite dish.

And what is on the menu? Loving all kind of noodle dishes, is typical Italian - and typical Thai. Thai have at least as many different types of noodles as Italians. Egg noodles, rice noodles, short, thin, wide versus spaghetti, linguine, penne, farfalle, orecchiette ... OK, Italians have more shapes. Although Thai love it more spicy than Italians, the most loved foreign food by Thai is the Italian cuisine! That is why Italian restaurants are very popular in the land of smile. And you will see many Italian chefs with a big smile on their face.

But, when it comes to cooking, there is another slight difference. In Italy, la donno di casa cooks herself. In Thailand, you usually have domestic help and a Thai puying (wife) would have one or even two helpers to prepare a dinner for guests. In Thailand it is also popular to buy ready cooked food in the supermarkets, restaurants or even in street stalls, since it is so cheap - and always yummy. Young, working middle class people who often do not have domestic help would rather go to a restaurant or buy food to take home.

When it comes to eating food with others, especially eating in restaurants, there is another small difference. Thai would put all the dishes in the middle of the table and everyone can try everything. Even a plate of pasta would be shared. While Italians would only share a mixed appetizer plate, and then everyone orders its own dish(es).

If you think all Asians eat with chopsticks, you are wrong. Thai eat with spoon and fork. There is no knife. All veggies and meats are cut bite-size in the kitchen. With the fork you would shuffle the food onto the spoon and eat from the spoon. (Since many Chinese have immigrated into Thailand in the past, there are of course dishes and regions where chopsticks are used.)

This reminds me of a funny observation I made at one of the finest Italian restaurants in Bangkok: There was this very elegant, elderly Thai lady, with a bulky hair style. She was sitting well-mannered and slowly eating a fish. She carefully shuffled with her fork the food onto the fish knife - which, well, had a bit of a spoon shape - and then ate from the fish knife!

But what the Thai lady has in common with Italians is the love for good (Italian) food!

+++ this post belongs to the new "Life in Asia" label where I will write about observations on life in Asia +++ we spend time in spring and summer in our house in Italy +++ the rest of the year we live in Thailand +++

Spring Cleaning in May - about updating and closing blogs

In searching for a translation of the German proverb: "Alles neu macht der Mai", I found "April showers bring forth May flowers". It is not a very close translation, but it has the same optimistic feeling of change. And that's what I wanted to tell you. I made a few changes on this blog, a kind of spring cleaning.

Bougainvillea on the sidewalk, Bangkok 
I was not happy with my side bar anymore. It was too cluttered. I remember, I had split the side bar into two columns to accommodate advertisers. Ha ha, but my blog has just one sponsored text link at the moment! So, I filled up the far right column with lots of eye candy books. But after all, it was too much. I feel, the trend goes back to more simple looks for blogs. Have you observed something similar?

That's why I moved all the beautiful coastal living and Italian interior books to my existing, but never used "BookStore". Check it out here :-) ! You will make me happy with a little amazon's commission (4% of the book sales price). No price difference for you. - BTW, talking about decluttering, I am still looking for a good book about Feng Shui - any recommendation?

My bookstore is not the only new "page" (or tab) on this blog. New is also "Life in Asia". I will explain.

kung fu vases from Spin, Beijing with red orchids

While living in China, I started my two blogs, Beijing Notebook and Palazzo Pizzo. This was over six years ago. Random observations noted in Beijing and a documentation of a renovation in the South of Italy - I decided to NOT combine the two subjects. My readership on both blogs had different interest. Just a few readers, came visiting me on both blogs.

After having moved from Beijing in 2008, I only sporadically updated my China blog. But my posts are still valuable and many new reader visit every day. Although, I am now looking for a nice last post, this blog will remain open for ever.

When we planned to move to Bangkok, Thailand in 2010, I started a third blog. And last week, I shut it down. Without prior notice. I was surprised myself. I just had to click one button. It is not deleted. But just not public anymore. Why? Lack of inspiration, lack of motivation. I deem Beijing is a lot more interesting than Bangkok. There was much more culture I was attracted to. My Bangkok blog bored myself more and more.

But being a good and happy blogger has not only to do with the subject you write about. Blogging is also interaction with readers - although, many blogger do not comment anymore on other blogs (I am pretty quiet myself). But even if I don't get comments on every post, I have an idea about who my readers are. I had a very nice readership over at Beijing Notebook. They enjoyed the information I provided, and that made me happy.

I also do have reliable and friendly readers here on Palazzo Pizzo. You know that, you are one of them! And I always enjoyed the blogging design community. I got and still get the best advises and inspiration online from design addict blogger and interior designers online! I love it!

I think, one of the reasons I had no more fun with my Bangkok blog, is that I never really connected with the readers. One day, I got my first insulting comment. When I published the comment and answered politely, it got even worse. I never ever had bad comments on my other blogs during my six years of blogging. Funnily enough, I am apparently not the only female blogger in this country who had to deal with strange comments. It seems a tricky environment.

While spring cleaning my blog today, I had a flash of inspiration. I want to give a new combination a try! I hope you are not only here to read about Italy, or renovation, and kitchen remodelling. Maybe, some readers wonder sometime about my life in our adopted home, away from our Italian home? These posts will be labeled "Life in Asia". And I promise, I will not overdo it. What do you think?

Spring cleaning... mmmhh, apart from some new content, maybe an even more visible face-lift is necessary?!  Do you still like the look of my blog?? Although I am writing mainly about an over 200 years old house, it does not mean that this blog has to look like over 200 years old ... 


Photo copyright: Palazzo Pizzo