Annoyed at queuing for two hours just to get my passport stamped at Chiang Mai airport, as soon as I arrived at my hostel I jumped right in to seeing as much as possible.
Wandering around the city, I can see why Chiang Mai is so popular. Temples scattered around on every other street corner, it’s beautiful. I was lucky enough to come across one near my hostel, just as the sun was setting behind.
The ornate design and structure fascinates me; it should be tacky and ostentatious, but it’s captivating more than anything.
I discovered a few more temples, but it got a bit too dark by this point.
For dinner, I went to a Thai restaurant that sold curries for 60 baht (just over a pound), so I had my first Thai curry in Thailand! A “not-spicy” Panang, it was delicious, but spicy! I’ve learnt that when asked if one wants a dish spicy or not, say no. Not worth the risk of destroying my taste buds.
The next day I attended a cooking class and had so much fun. When I get back home, I definitely need to re-evaluate my kitchen a little. I want a wok, but it has to be the right size. I’ll also need so many more spices and herbs in my cupboard.
Our first mission of the day was to head to the local food market. Basket in tow, we collected vegetables for our dishes.
Upon our return, it was time to get serious.
For each course, we had a choice of what we wanted to prepare. For the soup, I wanted to try something different and made coconut milk soup.
The ingredients look pretty simply don’t they? Well from this and coconut milk, the result was…
For my second dish I chose to prepare a chicken and cashew nut stir fry, a staple dish I knew I would love and be able to replicate back home.
I made the sauce myself, which was so quick and easy. I can’t believe we would pay £1 for something that could cost pennies and a few minutes to make. The key ingredients to making a chicken and cashew stir fry (minus the chicken and cashews!):
In the wok it goes.
The soup and stir fry were served together.
Next step, making a curry paste. I opted to make a green curry, cooked with aubergines and chicken. Now this did require effort; by investing a little time, it’s simple enough and a good arm workout too.
The trick seemed to be to dry heat the seeds until they pop like Rice Krispies, and then crush them with the other ingredients.
The more paste you add to your curry, the spicier it will be. My dollop was only for a medium, but actually I added a bit more after cooking.
Kinda crazy that the above ingredients, plus a few extra can make a curry.
All you really need is the special noodle paper that they are wrapped up in and salad. Our ones had tofu added, but personally I prefer it without.
Wrap the ingredients up nice and tight. Chop the ends off, and cut into quarters.
My heights do vary a little, but they tasted great nonetheless.
Here are my masterpieces (minus the soup):
We were also shown how to make sweet sticky rice and mango. Delicious. I was so stuffed afterwards.
The class finished around 2:30 pm, so I wandered around the city once again before having a lovely foot and leg massage, by a charity centre providing employment for ex female prisoners. I also visited some more temples:
I’ve also made a load of new friends in my 12-bed dorm room, which has been lovely! We socialise and hang out together a lot, something I haven’t really experienced that much since Ho Chi Minh. I stayed in large dorms sine Vietnam, but no-one really chatted to each other that much.
One surprise, and so laughable (I think the Turkish family will only get the humour), I’ve met a guy from Scotland who just seems to be a massive fan of Turkish culture. Loves Galatastary, has got a man crush on Mustafa Sandal and also listens to Tarkan now and then. I have so words – only the crying with laughter emoji!