Matt and I loooove Thai food. Long before arriving, we knew we’d have to take a Thai cooking course. While in Australia we became addicted to Thai curries, indulging at least twice a week. Though we were easily pleased with our homemade results (Thai curry is delicious no mater how you slice it), we knew we could take it up a notch by learning from a true Thai. The diverse and delicious array of food that greeted us upon arriving in Chiang Mai was overwhelming. I’m mentally budgeting a 10 lbs weight gain that I’ll worry about later in Park City. From street carts selling Pad Thai for 10 bhat (roughly 30 cents US) and mango sticky rice for 30 baht, to restaurants with fresh fish and curries for never more than $10 US. A budget foodies’ heaven on earth… After you get past the pig heads and fried grasshoppers.
Thai Food Markets
Thai cuisine focuses around 4 main flavors, making it diverse and aromatic; Sweet, sour, spicy and salty. I feel it’s the comfort food of Asia. And like other Asian cuisines, detail and balance are of utmost importance when cooking and presenting a feast. Every dish has a garnish, even when cooking at home. The course we signed up for allowed us to create our own menu from a variety of choices, making a 5 dish meal. The meal included a curry, soup, stir fry, noodle dish, and dessert. What was even better was that Matt and I got to choose separate dishes (even adapting mine vegetarian) so that we learned to cook a total of 12 dishes! What’s on the menu:
CURRY: Matt – Massaman (the classic red curry with a dash of Indian flare) // Lindsay – Green curry (spicy with lemongrass undertones)
SOUP: Matt – Tom Yum Goong (Hot & Sour shrimp soup) // Lindsay – Egg Tofu Soup (savory broth with glass noodles)
STIR FRY: Matt – Fried Cashew Nut with Chicken // Lindsay – Sweet & Sour mixed Vegetables (with pineapple, peppers, tomato, and carrot)
NOODLE: Matt – Pad See-Ew (big rice noodles with garlic chicken) // Lindsay – Pad Thai (no explanation needed)
DESSERT: Matt – Pumpkin in Coconut Milk (mix of sweet & savory) // Lindsay – Mango with Sticky Rice (my fav!!)
The menu speaks for itself. Delicious and filling. Our instructor, Neung, was also a delight. After tiring of the hustle of the city she decided to move her family 13 kms outside of Chiang Mai where she started an organic farm & cooking school with her husband. Together they built an outdoor kitchen in the center of the garden with multiple stove tops, sinks and working surfaces. An incredibly beautiful and inspiring place to cook. Neung took us on a tour of her land, allowing us to pick Thai herbs and vegetables and made us feel like family. They seem to grow everything but rice here. No surprise, she has achieved the ‘Best Cooking School’ award from TripAdvisor. Her motto is ‘Smile while you cook’ and everyone does.