On our third day in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we decided to go the “nature” route instead of the “wildlife” one that we had been on the past two days. After tigers and elephants, a hike to a local waterfall would do the trick! We ventured out in the morning with a personal driver to Mae Sa Waterfalls. These falls are actually a series of 9-10 small waterfalls and cascades spaced anywhere between 100m to 500m apart from each other. We arrived on a chilly morning and began our hike up to see each part of the falls. Most of the falls were small
but still very beautiful, as was the hike between each part of the falls. We took lots of pictures of the green, flourishing vegetation; of the hundreds of butterflies that were flying around the park; and of course, of the falls themselves. At the last part of the falls- the highest
part- we relaxed on the rocks, basking in the sun like little turtles. It was the warmest point of the day and the sun finally felt warm and nice. We lay there quietly enjoying the sound of the water’s enchanting lullaby. After hiking a little further and finding that we were, indeed, at the end of the trail, we headed back down the many steps and hills that we had climbed and rejoined our driver at the entrance to the park.
When we arrived back at our hostel, we found our next activity awaiting us- our ride to Siam Rice cooking school! They were an hour earlier than we had expected, but thankfully had waited for us instead of leaving. We quickly dropped our stuff and changed clothes and then headed out to meet the other people who would be joining us for some Thai cooking! Once we had picked everyone up, we headed straight to the market. Here our instructor Pot showed us some of the main ingredients we would be working with: three different types of basil (Sweet, Lemon, and Holy Basil), lemon grass (which is to be used for flavoring but not actually eaten), different kinds of ginger, the kaffir lime (a bumpy version of our limes), and turmeric. After she had purchased the ingredients needed to do our cooking, we headed to Siam Rice headquarters, donned our aprons and began to choose which 5 dishes we would be making during the course of the evening. We were able to choose one kind of soup, noodles, curry, stir-fried vegetables and a dessert to make.
We began with the soup. I chose chicken coconut soup and Trent made hot and creamy soup. We both learned how to correctly slice up our ingredients and how to mix them together to create the jam-packed flavors of Thai food. When we finished cooking our soup, we began to cook our noodles. I chose Pad Thai- one, because I love it, and two, because it was the only non-spicy option. Trent chose to make drunken noodles. Pad Thai was kind of stressful to make because it is made in a very short time and the timing of each ingredient is very important. I quickly obeyed each order our instructor gave and within two minutes, I had Pad Thai ready and waiting to be eaten. Trent’s dish was not as fast, but definitely just as stressful. He got to play with fire! (It shouldn’t surprise you to find that ALL the men in our group decided to make this dish) His dish required a HUGE flame so I was glad that I got to watch from a safe distance and record him working his magic. When they finished, we all sat down to our first round of food: soup and noodles. This would have been plenty to fill me up but we were just getting started!
Next we got right back into things and prepared the ingredients to make our curry and our stir fried vegetables. I decided to make yellow curry (since I am a wuss and can’t handle spicy foods) and Trent decided to make jungle curry (a very spicy curry). We put our first ingredients into the mortar and began crushing them with the pestle. Once we had a paste, we had the base for our curry. Then we started cooking, added the chicken and combined all of the other ingredients and had the beginnings of round number two. We covered our curry to keep it warm and began making our dessert. For me, it was no question, I wanted my favorite Thai treat- Sticky rice with mango! We didn’t have to actually make the sticky rice as we were told it is a long process and can take a full day to make. But we did make the delicious sauce. Once it was finished, we sat down to rice, curry with vegetables, and dessert. I don’t think I’ve eaten that much food before or since! We packed it in until all 5 dishes had been annihilated. Then we thanked our teacher, Pot, received our class certificates of completion and a cookbooks to bring home to (hopefully) be able to replicate some of the recipes. Thai food is so flavorful and the cooking class opened our eyes to see all the hard work that goes in to preparing our favorite dishes. We really enjoyed our evening at Siam Rice Thai Cookery School!
February 3, 2014 at 12:44 pm
Nice article. I loved Chiang Mai too. Nice to see some proper culture in Thailand after the touristy stuff in the south. http://backpackerlee.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/lions-and-tigers-and-bears-oh-chiang-mai/