Travel Diaries: Chang Mai Thailand

We only scratched the ancient surface of Chang Mai Thailand.  But who knows how far back we went when we learned to cook Thai recipes passed down from generation to generation. Plus we had a great experience and a satisfied belly. So, if you are ever in Chang Mai Thailand, devote a day to cooking school.

We chose Baan Thai.  Located right outside the old city walls, Baan Thai was the perfect mid-sized city location to learn to cook the country’s most famous cuisine.

Chang Mai rests in the mountainous north of Thailand about a day’s train or an overnight train ride from Bangkok.  Thailand has an incredible transit system, so it is an easy in.  The city can trace itself back 700 years and boasts walls and temples at least back five hundred. CM lacks no charm.  So, when we picked up fliers for cooking class, it was almost a no-brainer.

Class started early and ended late.  We found our way to the grounds, and after  meeting the 7 or so other lucky tourists, the courteous instructors swept us away to the markets.  She showed us just what to look for as we purchased our ingredients for four meals.  Basket in hand, we discovered foods like ginger for the first time again. Other vegetables, I have not heard from since.

As the day went on, we completed recipe after recipe and delighted in the cashew chicken and green curry.  We discovered oyster sauce and learned about the pains, which create the curry paste.  We cracked coconuts and make milk.  And just when we felt like we could not eat any more, out came the next recipe.   I remember so distinctly reclining with our comrades and listening to Thai lore.  We even got a recipe book “compliments of the manager” :).  I have cooked with it for six years now but have not yet been able to recreate the authentic taste from that day.  Needless to say, I visit Thai restaurants now with a new appreciation and a greater ability to navigate the menu.  When in Thailand, you have got to take cooking school.


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