Saturday, January 10, 2015

Food & a Cooking Class: Chiang Mai

One of the things that has fascinated me most about our trip so far has been the food - from the everyday street snacks to perusing extensive menu lists, the edible options have ranged from green, gelatenous dessert balls to fried crickets, with a generous sprinkling of backpacker-friendly items such as müesli and banana pancakes. You can learn a lot about a culture through the food, and Chiang Mai has been no exception.

I spent the day yesterday at an organic farm outside of Chiang Mai at a farm cooking school learning to cook many of the Thai dishes popular with Westerners - pad thai, curries, noodles with cashews and basil, mango sticky rice, etc. Though 80% of the ingredients were grown on the farm, we (8 other travelers from around the world + me and our lovely chef, Liam) stopped at a local market on the way to pick up various products we needed (fish sauce, palm sugar, etc.), then headed north to the farm. What an amazing experience! Informative, fun, and something I will take with me for all of Thai dishes in my culinary future!

Fruits galore! The variety and availability of fruits in Thailand has been incredible. There are fruit vendors on every street - want some fresh mango? Papaya? A coconut for breakfast? It's yours! Pictured above are some of the fruits available here that you don't come by often in the States. The red bell-pepper/apple looking thing is a Rose Apple, the bag with the 75 on it are ground cherries, and the bags going for 80 baht/kilo contain fresh tamarind. 

Fried crickets and worms! Supposed to be a great crunchy snack. I haven't had any yet but am open to the idea. When in Thailand...

"Bird's eye chili" - apparently the 3rd hottest chili in the world.

Liam in the garden looking at a young coconut tree and cutting some lemongrass below.

Pad Thai Deconstructed

The mango sticky rice I made - the rice is green from soaking pandan leaves (like the one sticking out of the mango) in the coconut milk, which add an almost vanilla-like flavor and a green hue. On top of the rice are dried mung beans, a fun crunchy little snack.

Anna discovering what tamarind looks like right off of the tree. Who knew?!?

No comments:

Post a Comment