Should you ever find yourself in Thailand, for however short a time, both I, and essentially any travel blogger out there that has ever been to Thailand, will push one thing until our faces turn purple: Take a Thai cooking class! Thai food is distinct and vibrant and very much a part of their identity; an important step in understanding any culture is to take the time to learn about the ingredients and effort that go into their meals— right before you blissfully stuff your face.
The cooking school that my program oh-so kindly set everything up with for us was called Sammy’s Organic Thai Cooking School; a nice mini vacation from the city into the vast and ridiculously green country side of Northern Thailand.
Now Sammy wasn’t about to just throw us all in a kitchen with a bunch of chilies and unnervingly sharp knives; he took us right to the source, or rather as close to the farm you could get, first—the market. We got to see how fresh coconut milk was pressed and learned that there are like twelve different kinds of rice and that I can’t tell the difference between any of them. It was wall to wall aisles filled with fresh exotic fruits and vegetables, all grown locally. Oh and if you’re squeamish please try not to wander too far, I just about ran flat into a severed pig’s head and that is not the most pleasant encounter, lemme tell you.
Once we and made it to our cooking stations, Sammy took the time to go over the importance and uniqueness of some of our staple ingredients.
Things such as lemongrass, coconut milk, basil, and fish sauce (still don’t understand how this is so delicious but it is) are found in many traditional dishes. We even ground our own curry paste and I was reminded once again that I have absolutely no upper body strength. But hey, I still made some dang good curry.
Got creative with some banana leaf wrapped chicken
Since we hadn’t been able to cook our own food since coming to Thailand it was nice to be able to add our own personal touches to food again; as in, ZERO hot chilies.
We were fabulous students.
Photo by Aaron Bushey-Hansen
For the most part…
Post by Lizzy Southard
Lizzy Southard is an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador. She is a sophomore studying International Studies, and she participated in a UK Partner program (The Education Abroad Network) in Chiang Mai, Thailand.