These are a few of the things you’ll find at a local market in Thailand. Venture to new places, venture to new foods. This was our authentic food shopping experience, before we headed to cooking school.
It sounds so routine, but once there, we saw all kinds of foods and practices we never see at home.
Classic Home Cooking School
Chiang Mai has many cooking schools. I am not sure if one is really more superior than another. I do think for those who have gone, it’s a lot of fun.
Mao is an experienced chef, and a former restaurant owner. He and his wife, Vannee, own and run Classic Home Cooking. Mao picked us up, took us to the store, then we cooked with Vannee.
Five things I loved about Classic Home Cooking school in Chiang Mai
- On our trip to the market, we saw lots of new foods. We tasted some delicious samples that I won’t find at home.
- Our guide arranged for the class. They were flexible. They picked us up at 2pm and brought us back at 6pm.
- Mao changed the menu after our conversation in the car about how much we loved mango sticky rice.
- There was free wifi internet access, something we didn’t have in our hotel.
- It was so much fun! I think most people who go to a cooking school would say the same.
We saw what morning glory greens looked like before being cooked.
First stir-fried, then finished with a burst of flame. Our cook tossed the greens into the air 45 feet across the street. The server waited there to catch them on a plate. He succeeded.
More later on our nighttime adventures in Phitsanulok.
Fruits and Seeds
The first thing we tried was Jackfruit. It tasted like pineapple. After eating all of the yellow fleshy part, we were left with a dilemma of the greenish-brown seed inside.
I swished it around in my mouth for a while, then held it in my hand. There were no garbage cans.
Finally, Marsha asked Mao what to do with the seed. He told us to throw it on the floor under one of the tables, and we did.
They are said to have a milky, sweet taste, and may be boiled, baked or roasted. When roasted, the flavor of the seeds is comparable to chestnuts.
Spices and Aromatics
We looked at Thai ginger, and a variety of chili peppers. Vannee told us the color is not as important as the size. The smaller the pepper, the hotter it is.
Fish, Meat, and Eggs
While in Thailand, we used the guide of eating only what was cooked right in front of us. The sausage didn’t meet those guidelines, but we were with our host, so we ate it anyway.
Everything we tried at the market was good. We began to get full enough on the samples that we wondered how we were going to eat what we made.
Intestines are cleaned carefully, boiled until soft, then sliced and made into a salad. They are also fried, or sliced thin for dipping into chilli sauce. There was no tasting at this station!
The head is steamed and cooked in spices like cinnamon and star anise. Read more about offal (Kruang Nai) and how other parts of the pig are cooked and eaten here.
Mao told us these eggs are soaked in salt and are dyed pink so they can be told apart from other eggs. Salty eggs (Khai Kham) are most often duck eggs.
Salting is a way to preserve eggs. Read about it here.
Daily Shopping and Cooking
Most Thai people do not have refrigerators at home. They shop on a daily basis. This was our authentic food shopping adventure. We learned a lot. Another day I’ll write about cooking with Vannee.
Food Ventures Away From Home
I’m guessing you’ve had a few eating adventures yourself. Have you gone to a cooking class that you liked? Where was it? What did you make? Have you tried some food that was different? What was it like? Have you been to a market far away? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments or via email.
image credits: The Chiang Mai Market 2014 Marie LaForce