19 July 2013

in the kitchen

i love thai food. how can you not? we get it all the time at home and relished eating pad thai and pad king tofu and all our other favorites for every meal in bangkok. but making it yourself? seems inaccessible. so i was a bit surprised and apprehensive when i learned that my mom had signed our whole family up for thai cooking school on wednesday.

i had nothing to worry about. sompong thai cooking school was amazing, and the food was delicious, and i actually cooked thai food! by myself! sort of... the instructors had to hover over to remind me to cut the shallots "more thin, more thin" or to focus on not ripping my tomato rosette a second time because then "no have beautiful presentation."

some of the spiciest chilis at the market.

we started the day at the market, seeing the different stalls and learning how to select every ingredient from lemongrass to dried chilis to kaffir limes. i also drooled over the tropical fruits like rambutan and mango, but that's beside the point. one of the coolest things was seeing the man selling coconut as he shredded fresh coconut meat and then juiced it to make first coconut cream and then coconut milk.

we then went back to the school and started cooking. luckily for us, that day's menu was perfect and included some of our favorites: pad thai, green papaya salad, penang curry. making the curry paste for the curry was the most involved part of the process; there are so many steps and ingredients to get the perfect blend of spices and grind the mixture to the perfect consistency. i have a new respect for thai cooks - and a new appreciation for the premade packets of curry base also sold at the market!

for the rest of the morning, we chopped, stirred, sliced, and fried as we prepared the rest of the meal. i am not usually a cook. i also belong to the "it still tastes good" school of thought - my creations usually aren't beautiful presentation. but these somehow were, and our lunch ended up being a feast of some of the best thai food i've ever had. and the whole day was a ton of fun. 

my prepared penang curry. i can't believe i made and ate three dishes this size, plus cooked bananas for dessert!

we mastered the bangkok train system and even took a commuter boat.

i loved seeing normal thai people going about their daily lives. we were the only tourists on the boat.

oh yeah, then we spent the end of our couple days in bangkok just hanging out at some boring old buildings with some unimpressive buddhas made of emerald or gold or something.

we visited the king's grand palace, including his personal temple, which houses the emerald buddha, and several throne rooms and museums.

we like that they make you go barefoot in all the temples.

you dip the flower in holy water and sprinkle it over your head for good luck.

making new friends.

and getting attacked by tourists wielding umbrellas.

umbrellas are sharp. and eye level. OUCH.

i adore thailand.

a shrine near our hotel.

rocking the gap year pants.

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