Tag Archives: Thailand

The Best Countries for Women & Girls

Photo courtesy of DoSomething.org

Happy 101st International Women’s Day!

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re sharing some news about women from around the world.

The British newspaper, The Independent, reviewed data from around the world to evaluate how women are faring.

Studies show that by focusing on education for women in developing countries and providing them with the means to support themselves and their families, the rates of poverty and child mortality decrease dramatically.

Working together, we can create a world where every child has access to a quality education, health care, and enjoys their human rights and liberties.


In Rwanda, women hold 45 out of 80 parliamentary seats. This is the only country in the world where there are more women than men at this level of political prominence. Belize, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have no female members of parliament.

Photo courtesy: AlmostAllTheTruth.com

Business & Work Place

Thailand has the most women managers in the work place in the world. Forty-five percent of senior managers in Thailand are women. In the US, only 20 percent of women hold senior management positions. In Japan, only 8 percent of senior management jobs are held by women.

In Jamaica, almost 60 percent of the high-skilled jobs are held by women.

Life Expectancy

Japanese women have the longest life expectancy in the world – 87 years.


The United States is the best place in the world to be a female athlete. Five out of the ten best-paid female athletes in the world are from the US. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has never sent a woman to the Olympics.


Lesotho has the best female literacy rate compared to the men’s rate in the world. Ninety-five percent of women in Lesotho can read and write. Only 83 percent of the men in Lesotho can read and write.

Best Overall

Taking political participation, education, health, and employment statistics into account, Iceland has been named the best country in the world for women.

In honor of International Women’s Day, let’s do our best to encourage and inspire the girls and young women in our lives so that we can make every country the best country on earth for them.

To read the entire report, click here.

For more facts about the status of women and girls around the world, check out DoSomething.org’s website and Almostallthetruth.com.

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Filed under Africa, Caribbean, Europe, Holiday, Latin America, Learn, Middle East, North America

Coconut Chicken & Shrimp Soup

chicken & shrimp soupI can thank Thai food, in part, for my friendship with Chef Danielle Turner of CookingClarified.com.

As staffers at a non-profit in Washington, DC, we used to hang out after work at a nearby Thai restaurant sampling Pad Thai, laab, crab rangoon, and talking about everything from pop culture to politics to – you guessed it – food.

She’s also a fantastic cook; my family still raves about some of the meals she’s thrown together.

So Chef Danielle’s recipe for coconut chicken & shrimp soup, which is based on the shrimp and lemongrass soup known in Thailand as Tom Yum soup, is also a great reminder of how food and friendship can go hand in hand.

Why not put together a pot of soup and invite over your best friend to share a meal and a conversation?

Click here or go to www.cookingclarified.com for Chef Danielle’s recipe.

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Filed under Eat, Learn

The Most Popular Candy in the World



Reese’s peanut butter cups, Sweettarts, Smarties: these were the candies I traded for on Halloween night. But remarkably, none of these holds the official title of “the most popular candy in the world.”

stead, that distinction belongs to M&Ms. I kid you not.

Personally, M&Ms don’t even make my top ten list, but apparently, I have been outvoted by a majority of the 6.8 billion people on the planet (assuming they all voted). According to BusinessWeek, M&Ms lead all the candies in the world.

However, I find something to be desired in the rigorousness of their research. Hall’s – which we know in the U.S. is a cough drop – also made the list for their incredible popularity in Thailand where not even this ad campaign, where people fly out of a young man’s nose, could diminish the drop’s popularity.

Thailand's favorite candy
Thailand’s favorite candy

So chew on that this Halloween.



Filed under Eat

Asian Cooking Class: Eating While Educating

Sometimes you have to eat your way out of your comfort zone.

Tonight I did just that by taking a cooking class on Asian cuisine all by myself. That’s right – no wingman or wing-woman for me!

It was a double dare because I was venturing out of my routine by taking the class in the first place.

Mercifully, the class was a nice blend of veterans and newbies but once Chef started explaining, cutting, mixing, blending, and stirring, all shyness fell away from us.

First up: Spring Rolls (Vietnam/Thailand)

This dish was cool because I got to see the right way to prepare and fill spring roll wrappers. The first time I used one of these I didn’t soak it in water and it splintered in my hands!

I learned the optimum amount of soaking time is 20 seconds, sparing so much time, effort, aggravation, and failure.

Next: Lettuce Wraps (Northeast Thailand/Central Laos)

Chef had spread out a whole station of good things to fill the lettuce wraps with so I tried dried shrimp, galangal (it looks like ginger but it has a lemony flavor), and mung bean sprouts.  There’s a picture of the galangal in the gallery below.

A Digression on Fish Sauce – A few weeks ago, I went to the nearby Asian supermarket and bought a bottle of what I call “Smiling Baby Fish Sauce”.

According to Chef, fish sauce is the juice of rotted fish that has been left out in the sun for the purpose of reaping said juices.

Although I strongly believe fish sauce is a critical element in Asian cuisine, it does make me reconsider the “Smiling Baby” brand of fish sauce. There’s something unsavory about that.

Favorite Dish: Spicy Lemongrass Soup (Vietnam/Thailand)

This soup was phenomenal and made in under 10 minutes!

It was a brutal competition to win my favorite dish of the evening but the lemongrass soup squeaked out a victory because of its delicious blend of shrimp, lemongrass, and chilies. It was probably a touch too spicy, but that just made me love it more!

Lemongrass Beef and Herb Salad (Vietnam)

This salad and beef combo had many elements that appealed to me: tender lettuce greens and cabbages, cilantro, mint (REAL mint, Chef assured us), chiles, sesame seeds, lemongrass (my new best friend), and an incredible peanut sauce that incorporated ground pork, peanuts, and fermented soybean paste. Sounds like a winner, right?

After this the class really started to pick up speed and Chef began multi-tasking while a bevy of sous-chefs ran around the kitchen.

Nearing the End: Noodles, Greens, and Gravy (Thailand)

Chef had started this dish by soaking, not boiling the rice noodles (which were very thick) in water to soften them.  Late in the preparation, he added them with what looked like baby bok choy but was really something called Shanghai cabbage.

Once again, fermented soybean paste and fish sauce made their appearances but by then we were blase about them both.

The final dish: Yellow Rice and Duck (Central Laos)

I was anticipating the duck from the moment Chef mentioned it because, although I’ve had it before, it has made such rare appearances on my plate that we are virtual strangers.

However, much as I anticipated the duck, the rice blew it out of the water (with my apologies to ducks).

Chef blended garlic, black peppercorns, kosher salt, madras curry powder (there’s a shot of the madras curry powder below), tumeric, and fish sauce.

When he combined this with the duck in a hot, oil-coated pan, the aroma was amazing!

This rice very nearly toppled the Lemongrass Soup as my favorite dish of the night. It made me crave a cooking class just on curries!

Overall, there was such a friendly atmosphere in the class that I would definitely take another one.

Will my son sample any of the recipes I learned to make tonight? Good question; all I can say is that I am working on him.

Here are the delicious photos I took at class tonight (to my classmates’ amusement):

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Filed under Asia, Eat