8th April 2012
After a long journey of epic proportions, I was so glad to arrive in Chiang Mai. Massively.
Getting off The Bangkok Airways Flight, we quickly took a taxi to where I believe has been the best hostel ever in my lifetime, SpicyThai Backpackers. So much so that the 4 original nights that I booked turned into 8 nights…oops! But I will be doing a post on SpicyThai later on.
Signing in and getting refreshed (good Sweet shower of mercy), I set about looking to book some activities for my stay in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai has been the Thai place that I’ve been looking forward to and I was sure to blow most of my month’s budget in this place.
The first thing I looked at was the Cooking Courses. Those who don’t know, I like to think I’m a very good cook. I love trying out new foods, new recipes, and even experiment! (the fried digestive biscuits went down a storm). As I’ve already cooked some Thai dishes back home, I really wanted to experience Thai cooking in its homeland. Therefore I booked a day long course with Thai Orchid Cookery School. We were to learn 6 dishes (appetizer, soup, curry paste, curry, stir fry, and dessert.
I was pretty enthused and booked it through SpicyThai who organised it for me and ready to be picked up early in the morning. Meanwhile, I chilled out in the hostel getting to know various people in the hostel – Luke, Dougie, Ryan, Steve, and the hostel owner – Noom. There were a bunch of American Medical students staying as well, who seemed to take over the place.
Getting to bed early to recover from the long trip, I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed (I know I’m a fox!) and ready to start cooking! Arriving at the school, I was introduced to the other students, a married couple from Australia and 2 American girls from Oklahoma called Lauren and Kacie. The family run school was pretty impressive with a very clean kitchen outdoors and the family was so friendly and very well English spoken! The guy chef introduced himself as Kong and I don’t think he was impressed when I started calling him Donkey Kong after explaining the game to him.
We picked our dishes:
Appetizer – Vegetable Springrolls
Soup – chicken in coconut milk soup
Stirfry – Pad Thai
Paste – green curry paste
Curry – Thai Green Curry
Dessert – Steamed Banana Cake
Helping ourselves to free tea and coffee and plenty of appetisers, it was time to start learning the appetizer course. I opted to cook Vegetable Springrolls. These are yumminess to extremes! Frying the vegetables and noodles into timed sets together, you split them into portions and grab a roll of wheat flour to put the vegetables in and roll in an artistic way. Amanda and Kacie competed with me whose would be he best. I admit Kacie’s looked the neatest but mine was the biggest!
We were pretty happy with the result!
Next course was the soup! I opted for Chicken and Coconut soup. I was pretty excited about this as tasting it in Bangkok has made me think that this is my favourite Thai dish. Grabbing the ingredients together we cooked the broth, discussed about chillis in which I made everyone laugh by saying maybe I need to wash my hands BEFORE going to the toilet after handling the chilli!
We didn’t just cook, oh no. We ate our food. It wasn’t 11am yet and we already had 2 meals. I was in my element…mmmmm…food. I think I might have turned Into Homer Simpson.
Then it was time to go to the local market! The sister showed us around and explained each individual ingredient to us and it’s usefulness. The best were the 6 month old pink rotten eggs that was still for consumption, I couldn’t believe my eyes! But we were soon distracted by the sound of smacking…of fish. As we turned, we saw a woman smacking live fish on its head to stun and thrown on the BBQ… Alive! I don’t know what to think at that point but it sure was fishy! (sorry for the pun!)
Grabbing our ingredients for curry paste, in which opted for the green curry paste as I wanted to use it to make Thai Green Curry the proper way, we grinded the ingredients together use a pestle and mortar. Someone has remarked that I look like my ‘twin sister..’ thanks Facebook friends!
After a huge helping of lunch, we got cracking with the curry. Sweating over it to add an eau of ed, all of us were pretty pleased with our results.
Finally, after making pancakes, and other desserts, I tried my hand at steamed banana cake. It was delicious. My stomach certainly agreed as my waistline somehow…SOMEHOW…started expanding.
At the end of the day, all of us toasted with some lemongrass tea and felt this was a hugely rewarding day. And we flopped in our chairs, belts unloosened and sighing with contentment.
Kong offered to drive me back but I declined knowing that I wanted to see Chiang Mai on foot. It wasn’t that far from the hostel. Given a recipe book by Kong, which I will cherish forever and use on unsuspecting members of my friends and family should they cross me. Believe me, I know a lot about chillis now and effective they are being cut in different ways. Beware…
Actually, the one that asked me if I had a twin sister, you’ve got a free meal! Bwahahahaha…
Have you done a cooking course in Chiang Mai?