Cooking Curry in Chiang Mai

The past couple days have been an absolute blast with Chase’s mom, dad, and sis. Between the bottomless (and absolutely amazing) breakfasts, attempting to speak Thai, drinks at the night market, and indulging in street food, we have packed in a lot in the time we have all been together here in Thailand.

The night markets in Chiang Mai—the Sunday market and the night bazaar—are vibrant, selling a wide variety of goods from the colorful elephant pants that everyone buys here (I have three pairs already), to paintings, jewelry, handbags, underwear… Literally anything you can think of, they have. We had a big night at the night bazaar, where Bill and I bought matching friendship bracelets (daw), we purchased about 6 pairs of elephant pants between the crew, and various odds and ends, all while downing Chang beers and pad thai.

The next morning, we hopped in a tuk tuk (passed on getting lost on a motorbike), and made our way to the Grand Canyon. The best way to describe this hilarious place, is that it would not be legal in the US. There is no way the slides, jumps, etc. are ‘up to code.’ But, this definitely made it more fun. After bouncing and splashing around for a couple hours, we meandered over to the wake boarding section, where they have a tow as opposed to being dragged by a boat. It was an absolute blast, even when the weather turned and it started raining. In fact, we had a cooking class with Asia Scenic Cooking School that was picking us up at 4:30pm that afternoon, and were barely able to tear ourselves away in order to make it on time–which, was a stretch. We made it back to the hotel with about six minutes to shower and change before the bus picked us up.

Contrary to what we thought, we had a massive cooking class group, including two honeymooners. Aw! We began the class with our instructor, Mam (pronounced Ma’am), teaching us about each individual ingredient from their personal garden that will go into our dishes, from turmeric (can be used to reduce the itch from mosquito bites!) to Thai kale. Then, we trekked to the local market and learned about the different starches that will make up our meals.

We were able to choose our own stir fry (I chose pad-see-ew), soup (I chose Tom Sab), a curry (I chose Khao Soi), and we collectively made fried spring rolls. The class was so much fun, partly due to the awesome and friendly group we had, and the food was yummy. My favorite cooking class was in Cambodia, the most fun class was Thailand, but the best food we ever made was in Vietnam; it is interesting to compare how the classes and food varies from country to country. Making food in Thailand was a bit of a fire drill. Once you pour the oil in the wok, you have to be on our toes, ready to plop the garlic in, then the oyster sauce, fish sauce, chicken, etc. all in a span of a couple minutes, while testing the spiciness level. I am a huge baby with spice, and opted for the ‘kindergarten’ level of spice…

We ended the night fat, full, and happy, with the excitement of elephants on our minds.