Cooking up a storm, Thai style

Massages, custom-tailored suits, night markets, elephant camps, temple sightseeing and Thai cooking classes sums up the itinerary of most visitors when they come to Chiang Mai, and I must admit that we were no exception.  One Thai massage was more than enough for both of us; it took days for us to recover from the after effects of being pummelled and kneaded and bent in ways our bodies had never experienced before.  Chris splurged on a couple of tailored suits and custom shirts while I decided to forego the experience for myself.

At the regular night market, open every evening of the week, you can find everything imaginable, including lots of delicious street food.  As you know, we’re not doing much shopping on this trip, but I must admit I have been collecting badges of flags of the countries we have visited and have sewn these onto our large packs.  It makes for a great conversation starter and makes our bags easily recognizable which is a good thing from a security perspective.  I was thrilled to find a lady selling flags from most countries and stocked up on all the countries we were missing.

Our favourite night market has been the Sunday night market, which attracts both locals and tourists.  You need to get there early because by 9:00, you can barely move along the street that has been closed to traffic so that vendors can fill the sidewalks with their wares.  The best part of this market is the street food.  Contrary to our usual cautious approach to food, we made a point of trying different foods each week, and we’ve enjoyed most of what we’ve sampled.  Prices are ridiculously cheap, ranging from 60 cents for a snack to a buck or two for a full meal.

Speaking of food, after spending almost a month eating Thai cuisine, we thought we should learn how to cook it ourselves and so we spent a day at a farm about a half hour outside of the city, cooking up an array of dishes in the company of 10 other tourists and under the careful direction of Huey, our talented and patient instructor.  We each prepared five dishes: a main dish, an appetizer, a curry, a soup and a dessert.

Of course, we ate everything we cooked.  The class was very hands on, and was a great way to learn about Thai seasonings, cooking techniques and other unique ingredients that we had never seen before.  My favourite dish was a chicken panang curry, which quite frankly, was the best panang curry I have ever eaten.  The other dishes were made with varied success, some better than others.

Chris and I look forward to practising our new culinary skills on our friends and family when we return to Canada in the springtime.  But for now, we’ve got more exploring to do.  Today marks the end of our sojourn in Chiang Mai; we’re heading south tonight by overnight bus to Bangkok where we’ll catch a flight, bus and ferry to Koh Lanta, an island off the west coast of Thailand.  We plan to island hop over the next few weeks, making our way back to Bangkok by the end of the month.

With our return date to Canada looming in the not so distant future, we’re planning to get a few more countries in under our belt.  Coming up, we plan to visit Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos and if we can squeeze it in, Myanmar (Burma).  I may even get to India if I’m lucky.  So don’t give up on us now, we’ve got more adventures ahead to share with you.

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9 Responses
  1. Jeanne says:

    perfect and exiting looking food!! would be willing to taste anything you guys make!!

    • chris says:

      That’s great! We’re looking forward to cooking Thai food for friends and family when we get back…

      Chris

  2. Marc says:

    Hi guys,

    Mea Culpa on the clicking! I guess I may have over done it a bit…
    Great trip in Thailand! I looks absolutely wonderfull!

    BTW Christina, if you haven’t read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, I strongly recomend it. Great novel!

    Marc

    • christina says:

      Hi Marc

      Don’t feel too bad, I’m sure you’re not the only guilty party on the clicking. Thanks for the book recommendation – we’re en route to the beach where I plan to hunker down with a good read.

      Christina

  3. Lindy says:

    Have fun in the islands. Love reading about your adventures. Take care. Lindy

  4. Angus says:

    You’re making me hungry. I love Asian cuisine but as you know with my sesame, peanut and fish allergies, it doesn’t love me and I have to be extremely careful. Still I never turn down a good curry.

    When are you coming home and what’s in store for Chris and Chris Break Free the sequel?

    Angus

  5. Marc says:

    You guys are so lucky! 30 degrees ! We have the same over here except that we have in front of it!

    Bitter cold and it won’t stop for the entire week!

    BBrrrrrrrr!!

    Marc

    • christina says:

      Hi Marc
      This is definitely the place to be during the winter time – endless sunshine, warmth, crystal clear water, white sandy beaches…..and we’re not the only ones to think so. Phuket is overcrowded with tourists this time of year. I caught a cold the day we arrived at the beach in Koh Lanta so we’ve had to put off diving until I was better which meant even more time on the beach….and then we got sunburnt because we were on the beach so much which meant we had to stay out of the sun for a few days…..I know, you must feel so sorry for us :) But now we’re feeling top notch and heading a little north where we will do a live-aboard diving excursion next week. We’ve never done a live-aboard before so it will be another first for us!
      Stay warm!
      Christina

  6. Marc says:

    … Forgot the word MINUS in there!