Tag Archives: Thai cooking school

Back to Basics

Ah, holidays without cold and snow. After a rather dreary and gray November, skies cleared this month, the temperature dropped, the sun shined brightly albeit a tad hazily for so early before “burning season”, and it began to look like a perfect Tropical Christmas Card. For those following along, you’ll recall how much I’ve craved real fresh roasted turkey. Harder to find than a good pastrami on rye or a beef hot dog, turkeys roam wild all over Asia and maybe that’s because nobody ever tried to catch them. Although commercially raised turkeys are available in Chiang Mai, they’re not very good and the quality and can’t hold a candle to North American Butterballs. Having attended a Thanksgiving buffet last month at a friend’s catered event, disappointment abounded when the turkey turned out to be a pre-cooked processed roast similar to deli sandwich meat.

arriving at Thai Cooking School

Although we didn’t move to Asia expecting to eat turkey sandwiches, burgers and pizza, Chiang Mai is a hub of western expat civilization with throngs of farangs from Christian missionaries out of Omaha to digital nomads from Europe, Australia and everywhere in between. Add in the thousands of retirees, millennial dropouts, begpackers and tourists that never leave and you’ve got a sub culture looking to eat everything from burritos to haggis. (I’m not sure where you can find that but it’s probably somewhere). Since arriving six months ago, there’s been a crush of new western food outlets opening all over and many say they serve “authentic” cuisine. Taking some of the fun out of what used to be a town filled with mostly local ethnic Thai food, the largely opinionated Facebook food group people go on and on posting about the greatest new burger in town and then rave about some ribs cooked by Europeans from nations that normally specialize in herring or schnitzel. Granted there is some good western style food here and it literally blows the shit out of Penang’s version but after a while it all seems to blend together. Yearning for the good ol’ days, we put aside the stereotypes associated with cheesy tourist attractions and did the only sensible thing. Looking for a way to further indulge our inner Thai gastronomic urges. we went to a Thai cooking school.

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15 Tasty Thai Treats

Almost 23 hours after stepping on Cathay Pacific Flight 102 at 12:30 AM in San Francisco, Diane and I stepped out of our hotel in Bangkok, breathed in the torrid tropical humid air and stepped on the Chao Prya Express Boat. Famished, tired, jet-lagged and excited, Thailand was our first visit to Southeast Asia and part of our annual Expat Destination Research Vacation. Like Anthony Bourdain, I also believe a perfect bowl of noodle soup is the world’s most perfect food. Seeking an unknown destination and any available delicious bowl of perfection close to the hotel, we traveled two stops and hopped off the boat.

 We exited the boat here

We exited the boat here

Although Penang, Malaysia is our intended retirement destination in about six months, Thailand has always been a close second and our “Plan B”. Awesome experiences awaited us on the trip including a village homestay with a hill tribe, an elephant rehab farm adventure and strange signage. Acclimatizing our stomachs to spicy food every day seemed important when considering a move to neighboring Malaysia so we tasted and photographed.  Bon Appetit !! Continue reading