Intestines, Pig Heads, and Pink Eggs

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.

Chiang Mai Vegetable MarketMao picked us up at our Chiang Mai hotel in his Toyota Camry. Tom, Camille, Marsha, and I piled in the car. Before heading off to class, we stopped at the market.

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
  1. On our trip to the market, we saw lots of new foods. We tasted some delicious samples that I won’t find at home.
  2. Our guide arranged for the class. They were flexible. They picked us up at 2pm and brought us back at 6pm.
  3. Mao changed the menu after our conversation in the car about how much we loved mango sticky rice.
  4. There was free wifi internet access, something we didn’t have in our hotel.
  5. It was so much fun! I think most people who go to a cooking school would say the same.
Vegetables

Buying an onion Chiang Mai marketMao showed us around the market, bought a few herbs, and one onion for the cooking school.

We saw what morning glory greens looked like before being cooked.

Morning Glory Greens Chiang Mai MarketWe ate these in Phitsanulok, our first city stay north of Bangkok. They were prepared and served with a flair.

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.

Gigantic Produce in Chiang Mai MarketSome of the produce was gigantic. Peppers, carrots, cauliflower, radishes, lettuce, and squash.

Fruits and Seeds

Jack Fruit from the Chaing Mai MarketThe 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.

Jack Fruit Seeds Chiang Mai MarketGeeta, another travel mate, said in India they stir fry this seed. There were some toasted and available at the market here, too.

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.

Dragon fruit Chiang Mai marketThis is dragon fruit. It tastes like kiwi. It’s as attractive inside as it is out.

Spices and Aromatics

Curry Paste Chiang Mai MarketThere were many curries, each with a different flavor, and relative level of heat.

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

Sausage bought at the Chiang Mai MarketMao bought a large sample of sticky rice, and later some sausage for us to sample.

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.

Fish, Frogs and Eels at the Chiang Mai MarketWe saw fresh fish. Long skinny eels squirmed around in a bucket. Fat frogs looked at us through a net contained in pink plastic.

Intestines Chiang Mai MarketThere were intestines. We crinkled up our noses. Thoughts of Ewww! echoed inside.

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!

Liver, hocks, and pig heads in the Chiang Mai MarketThe pork section including hocks, livers, and heads. It’s said the Chinese eat every part of the pig except for the squeal, the same goes for Thai people.

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.

Pink salted eggs Chiang Mai MarketAnd we finally unraveled the mystery of the pink egg sold on the street. What kind of animal lays a pink egg?

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

 

Marie LaForce About Marie LaForce

Writer | Photographer | Explorer |Dreamer | Intentional Disciple of Christ

Comments

  1. Camille Mills says:

    Hi Marie
    A well-written story and descriptive photos help keep this memory alive-thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow! Great pictures! Everything looked very fresh and clean. It is interesting what different food people eat around the world. I wonder if others think there is something we eat that is odd. Thanks for sharing!

    • I once read that corn on the cob seemed to be pretty gross by some group. I would agree that they worked to keep things fresh and clean. I really liked Thai food. One of my favorite cuisines. I loved the food there.

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