Day 8. Tues 5/18
Breakfast at Ruam Chook market on the way to our cooking lesson, power outage in the city
This morning we were picked up by Thai Farm Cooking school’s shuttle and driven way north of the Old Town square for a day full of food. We cooked some delicious dishes – and for doing nothing but eat and listen to directions all day we came home exhausted.
Our guide’s name was Pern and let me say, she ran a tight ship. “Part time cooking instructor, full time killer” she told us with a grin. No I’m kidding… Actually she made the entire day a ton of fun. She was constantly cracking jokes and teasing us to keep us on our toes as we learned about the plants in the school’s garden all the way through the preparation and cooking of some traditional Thai dishes. Here’s a video of one the plants she showed us in the garden, called the Mimosa Plant.
She took a liking to Saffy after he was the only volunteer to eat an ant from the garden, and from that point on she called him “Sassy” 😂 Really hoping that nickname sticks.
We started our lesson by stopping at the Ruam Chook market and seeing how coconut milk was made, where to find the good seasonings (Pern’s friend), and checking out the local market food. I tried an egg dish with fresh OJ bc the roads here are terrible and I was feeling a little carsick jumbling around in the back of our van on an empty stomach.
The six of us were joined by a group of four other Americans and Eva, a girl from Berlin. Eva was solo travelling (props to her) and meeting up with a few friends in Pai next, which we were all jealous of. Everyone we’ve met at the hostel has loved Pai, but we decided against going a couple months ago when planning because it didn’t fit extremely well logistically. Huge bummer because Pai is a super chill town and apparently it’s an awesome spot to hit and detox after going to a full moon party. Shoot.
During our cooking lesson I was most surprised how quickly we cooked everything – we didn’t have to do dishes or clean up the meat or vegetables from the garden, but once the heat started on the stove you pretty much threw everything in the pot and stirred it up for a couple minutes. The exception to that is the curry paste, which we made by dicing up some ingredients and then pounding them using a pestle and mortar.
Here are all of the dishes we made today:
Coconut Milk Soup with Shrimp
Green Curry with Chicken
Pad Thai – it turned out much more bland than the other pad thai dishes we’ve been having. I think we’ll stick to the street vendors for the rest of the trip.
Sweet and Sour Chacken – not the kind from Panda Express
Mango Sticky Rice – I’m not sure why, but I think this dish is so strange. The mango is cold and the rice is hot and I feel like they don’t go together at all. Here’s a picture of Max’s because my mango was a little bit ornery.
At the end of our meals, the staff also delivered a little birthday surprise to Kaija! We managed to find some candles at the market in the morning and they brought out a cute little plate of flowers, fruit and more sticky rice while we sang her Happy Birthday. Can’t say I’ve ever seen candles in a banana, but it worked out nicely!
The cooking school gave us all cookbooks so we could (try to) replicate our meals again back home, and Pern also sent some of her instructional philosophies with us before we departed. For a 31 year old she seemed wise beyond her years. She had three main orders:
- You can plan for anything in life, but you can’t predict tomorrow. Live for today.
- Find inner peace first. External things will become an added benefit if you first serve yourself.
- Make more Thai food!
We were wiped when we got back to Stamps, and although we had some big plans for the rest of Kaija’s birthday night, a big storm blew in and knocked the power out for a few hours. We passed the time with Jenga, Uno and a few beers. I turned in (fighting some congestion) while the rest of the group turned up at Zoe in Yellow, the local club. No ragrets. 😴😴😴
- Eggs with some sort of fish (shrimp maybe?) and fresh orange juice at Ruam Chook market
- Thai Farm Cooking School
- Coconut milk soup with shrimp
- Green curry with chicken
- Pad thai with chicken
- Sweet and sour chicken
- Mango sticky rice