The food in Thailand is delicious. We enjoyed eating it the entire time and even had the opportunity to learn how to cook a few dishes while in Chiang Mai. Pot and Nancy, who run Siam Rice Cooking School, picked us up with their adorable son Peter Pan, and we headed off to the market.
While Nancy picked up the veg that we’d need, Pot gave us a tour of the market showing us all the different vegetables. While many of the vegetables are the same as in our markets in London, there are several that are native to Thailand that we hadn’t seen before. It was interesting to learn that most restaurants in Thailand buy their curry paste and we saw plenty for sale in the market. We also saw how they make coconut milk and coconut cream — a key ingredient for Thai food.
After the market tour, we headed back to Pot and Nancy’s house to start cooking. We each chose seven dished including a salad, soup, dessert, curry and our choice of some classics such as pad-thai, stir-fry and spring rolls. We made a lot of food and there was no way we could eat it all. Fortunately we could take some of it with us which made for a nice dinner the next night.
We also learned how to do a bit of food carving. We carved a flower out of a carrot. Our creations looked suitable, but not as good as Pot’s example and it took us twice as long. I suppose we’ll need a bit more practice.
We’ve taken a couple of other cooking courses in our travels, but I have a feeling the recipes from this one will be the most well used. The whole experience was fantastic and authentic. In addition to the cooking lessons we felt like we got an insight into the life of a real Thai family.
After our cooking class, we headed up to Doi Suthep, a temple perched on the mountain above Chiang Mai. We weren’t sure what to expect and were a bit put off by the throngs of vendors set up out front ready to snare any tourist passing by. There are temples on almost every corner of the city and we started to wonder if it was worth the journey.
It was. This was by far the most impressive temple that we saw. The gold plated fixtures and buddhas glistened in the sunlight under the swirling smoke of the incense. The prayer bells gently jingled in the breeze. The whole atmosphere was incredibly peaceful and introspective.