Love me some Phad Thai
From falafels in Cairo to meat pies in New Zealand to Phud Thai in Chiang Mai, every region of the world offers unique tastes for the intrepid traveler. Adventures in eating is one of the very best parts about traveling; why not take the table one step further and enroll in a cooking course?
Many people travel to Chiang Mai, Thailand for the express purpose of learning to cook Thai cuisine at a school like the Baan Hongnual Cookery School. Here you can get your stir-fry on and learn to create authentic Thai dishes in an open-air teak building with all the modern conveniences of a gourmet kitchen. And chickens.
Depending on the day, you will make a combination of several delicious Thai dishes which may include green coconut curry, red pork curry, fried fish cakes, Phud Thai, spring rolls, stir-fried chicken with cashews, Tom Yum soup, fried banana or papaya salad.
Before the spring rolling gets going however, you will first visit one of the many open-air markets that provide food for many families and a feast for all your senses: huge garbage bags full of tiny red peppers, spiky and smelly durian fruit, freshly pressed coconut milk, whole deep-fried chickens, jellied mushrooms, giant bunches of tiny bananas, dried fish snacks, fresh flower leis of purple and pink and yellow, and about a billion other necessities of life.
A trained chef then walks you through the cooking steps of each dish before you try them on your own, soaking up lessons on the levels of curry, the importance of fresh-picked herbs and the healthy aspects of Thai cuisine along the way.
Of course, the best part of any cooking school is trying out your taste creations, and by the time sit down for your multi-course meal at Baan Hong, you will be you proud and sure of your ability to create authentic Thai cuisine. You’ve got the skills, a take-home recipe book, tons of chefs’ secrets and some dried shrimp- and that’s everything you need.
Baan Hongnual Cookery School: Full and half-day cooking courses are available for $20-30 which include round-trip transportation to and from your hotel, all ingredients from the local market, several courses of Thai cuisine and a recipe book.
Tel: (66-53) 423335
Recommended Lodging for Chiang Mai:
People Place Hotel: A basic three-star hotel in an excellent location, close to the night market and main streets. Rooms have AC, TVs, and mini-fridges and are around $25 per night.
Tel: (66-53) 282487 or (66-53) 818296
Other Chiang Mai Activities:
Chiang Mai X-Centre: An extreme sports center just outside of Chiang Mai in the beautiful Mae Rim Valley where you can bungy jump, zorb, play paintball, and ride go-karts and off-road buggies.
Tel: (66-53) 297700