Tag Archives: Thai cooking

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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Papaya Salad and Pad-Thai, please

Strolling through Chiang Mai with no particular destination makes you hungry. Having completed the sweaty but fascinating excursion to the Karen Hill People Village, we searched for another new experience as we strolled the streets of the core. Passing markets filled with interesting meats, veggies, seafood and more chili peppers than a factory, our stomachs craved some authentic food. Appearing out of nowhere from a small alleyway, a frail old woman handed us a brochure for a Thai Cooking School offering daily classes.

 Best part of expat life

possibly the best part of expat life

Honestly, one of the main reasons we’re becoming expats in Southeast Asia is the gastronomical delights offered every day on just about every street corner. Understanding cooking techniques piqued my curiosity and with the school only a few blocks away we strolled over for a look. Lured in by the friendly woman, the half-day cooking class taught us why restaurants outside Thailand simply can’t create “authentic Thai food.

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