In Chiang Mai, thereare dozens of cooking schools to choose from, but we got excellent advice from Marilyn (my mom's friend who went to Thailand a few months ago) and I'm sure we had the best one. It's called Thai Farm Cooking School, and I'd reccomend it to anyone!
First they picked us up at our guesthouse and took us to a locals market, no other tourists to be seen. After a quick talk about the ingredients we would be using, we were free to wander about the market. It wasn't too crowded but there were plenty of interesting things to see: steamed fish stuffed with lemongrass, rice and curry, all kinds of delicious and exotic fruit, and even fried cockroaches!
Next we took a scenic ride through the outskirts of town, past humpbacked cows and cozy shacks and farms lined with coconut and papaya trees. Once we arrived at the organic farm we were taken on a tour with explanations about the herbs we would be using - lemongrass (good for digestion), thai basil, chilis, galangal (also known as siamese ginger) thai ginseng (good for male fertility!) and lots more.
It's a beautiful place!
Here's the group of us pounding curry paste. Nice picture mom! The two English girls to my left and the Scottish across from me just finished high school and are currently teaching english in Malaysia. Kiki, the chinese girl on the end is on a solo trip. The couple on the end are from Canada and on a 3-month trip: 1 month Nepal where they went on a 12-day guided trek, 1 month in Thailand, and 1 month in Cambodia and Laos.
Mom put fewer chilis in hers because she doesn't like spicy food. :)
Mmmm, Thai coconut soup!
Here's the kitchen where we were cooking.
With all the fresh, organic ingredients already prepared for us, it was hard to muck it up!
Mmmm, tasty stir-fry
Here's us with our dishes: I made fried tofu with cashew nuts and mom made pat thai! We also made sticky rice and jasmine rice, green coconut curry, and papaya salad. For dessert mom made pumpkin in coconut milk, a sweet soup, and I made mango and sticky rice. It was a grand feast, good thing we got to take some back to our guesthouse!
And on the way home I saw this guy. What a great day!