Monday, July 1, 2013 - Cooking class and tour at Mandarin Oriental kitchens, Thai silk factory, Thai massage, and Khantoke dinner and show
Two important phrases to know in Thailand:
Hello = sawadee krab (used by men) and sawadee kah (used by women.
Thank you = kawp khun krab or kawp khun kah
Another important phrase: Hong naam = “Where’s the toilet?”
As relayed to us by our tour guide, Nok.
Our day begins at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Hotel in Chiang Mai.
This week we worked in an open-air kitchen at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s Thai Culinary Academy. Chef Om and Chef Lin begin with a demonstration.
Chef Lek explains the benefits of lemon grass; its benefits include soothing the throat and it’s a natural mosquito repellent.
Josvany’s and my presentation of Hor Mok Pla (fish souffle). The banana leaf should have been folded square; my corners were a bit sloppy. The consistency and flavor was much like a mild, steamed sausage.
Nuea Yang Nam Tok (spiced salad of grilled beef) - The addition of lime and mint made this salad refreshing.
Who can resist Pad Thai? Now, I can say that I am able to successfully produce this authentic Thai dish.
Forget the cheese dips, Lon Tao Jiew (prawn and pork dip for vegetables) is filling and decadent. Chef Om said this dip also serves well as a spaghetti sauce. I’d agree!
I’ve not included formulas in the blog, but this one. It’s so versatile; the reader must try it.
Lon Tao Jiew (Yield: 1 portion)
3/4 cup coconut cream
2 Tbsp. soy bean paste
80 grams pork (minced)
3 pieces prawn (minced)
1/2 Tbsp tamarind paste
15 grams shallot (minced)
1 piece big red chilli
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Method of preparation:
1. Put coconut cream into pan and bring to a boil.
2. Add the soy bean paste and cook for 1 minute. Then add the minced pork, minced prawn, shallot, and chilli. Cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the sugar, tamarind paste, and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
4. Turn off the heat and serve as desired.
Tub Tim Krob (chilled water chestnut rubies in sweet coconut milk) is not quite to everyone’s liking. This sweet soup dessert has chestnuts that are gooey on the outside and crunchy on the inside.
Our tour of the Mandarin Oriental’s numerous kitchens.
The Mandarin has a replica of a typical, rural Thai kitchen.
The hotel features French macarons; it has an impressive cooler dedicated and stocked with nothing but macarons from floor to ceiling.
And, they make their own yogurt in-house.
The tea and dessert cafe.
After class, we visited a silk factory where the fabric is handcrafted.
The students at the Thai massage school. As beginners, their touch was rather light, but it was relaxing none-the-less. I prefer a heavy-handed, sports massage.
Sitting on the floor in traditional Thai style, we enjoyed a for a multiple course feast at a Khantoke dinner with show.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - Cooking class at Mandarin Oriental, visited Baan Tawan handicraft village, took clothes to laundry, and dinner at Ban Suan Restaurant
Chef Lek explains the benefits of pumpkin to the digestive system, while her twin, Chef Toa, observes.
We started our food preparations with Sankaya Fuk Thong (Thai custard in a pumpkin), so that it would be ready to eat at the end of our meal.
Gaeng Liang Goong (spicy mixed vegetable soup with prawn)
Khao Op Sapparot (fried rice in pineapple) - I’d imagine this as a great light dessert.
Som Tam Ma La Kor (green papaya salad) - We, Josvany and I, went a little heavy on the Bird’s eye chili; next time, maybe 1-3, definitely not 4. Too hot for my palate.
Gaeng Khiew Waan Khai (green curry with chicken, eggplant, and sweet basil) - This was exceptional, though I’m not a fan of kaffir lime leaves; I hope I’m not too out of place, but I’m going “fusion” and omitting the leaves.
On the pumpkin custard, someone suggested a topping of burnt sugar, like creme brulee. I thought that an excellent idea for a added crunch.
An homage to my past life as a telephone installer; I don’t think looking for a dialtone in this wiring would be easy. Lines like this exist all over Thailand.
An hour strolling through the shops at the Baan Tawan handicraft village
The view from the window of my room at the Royal Princess Hotel.
A great place to get laundry done near the hotel on Khampandin Road: exit left from the hotel, walk a few blocks and turn left at Cafe de Siam. The husband and wife speak English, and they are very thorough in their work. Most laundry shops offer motorcycle rental, massages, and other services. This shop performs only one service: wash and dry for 30 baht per kilo ($1 USD per 2.2 pounds) or wash/dry/iron for 40 baht per kilo. They fold your cloths, so they’re suitcase-ready.
Ban Suan Restaurant - a local, architect’s home which he leases out as a restaurant. The views were spectacular.
Barbequed pork ribs appear to be an international favorite. These had notes of dark soy and gula melaka (sugar made from coconut milk).
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - Cooking class at Mandarin Oriental, Thai boxing class, and banana roti at hawker stand near Royal Princess Hotel
Thord Mun Pla-Krai (deep-fried fish cake patties served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce) which we garnished with fried sweet basil.
In the upper left is our preparation of Tom Kha Khai (coconut soup with chicken and galangal); it was garnished with chilli oil and fresh coriander greens.
In the center bottom is Phad Khi Mao (stir-fried noodles with holy basil)
Yam Talae (spicy seafood salad) - The lime made this salad refreshing; with the fishballs, prawn and squid, it could easily serve as an entree.
Kha Nom Jean Num Ya Look Chin Plaa (light reg curry with fishballs). This is served with cold rice noodles which are dipped or mixed into the soup by the diner.
Note to self: Don’t reheat the noodles or you will get wild-eyed looks from your chef instructor.
Thai boxing: warm-up stretches; basic kicking and punching moves; kicking a heavy, full-body boxing bag; sparring with the instructors; sparring between two students (with protective gear), and posing for photo.
This is the only group photo that I’m not in. I played the part of a “wallflower.” Simply put: I detest boxing.
I couldn’t wait Banana Roti from a street hawker; this can now be checked off my Thailand bucket list.
Thursday, July 4, 2013 - Visited Warorote Market, cooking class at Mandarin Oriental with introduction to vegetable carving, tour Wat Prathat Doi Suthep Temple, and had dinner with roommate at Whole Earth Restaurant
We began our day by visiting the Warorote Market. Here we see sparrows kept in basket, bought by the customer and released into the air to bring good fortune.
A local pharmacy
We had two At-Sunrice chefs accompanying us on our trip to Chiang Mai Chef Tan and Chef Rishi. Here Chef Rishi and student Chris check out small knives in sheathes; the knives looked more like weapons than kitchen utensils.
The street where tok toks can be hired for a minimal, negotiated price to take you to your destination.
Mangosteins a refreshing fruit; I think better than rambuttan
Motorcycles are the most prominent means of personal transportation for individuals in Chiang Mai.
Pictures while waiting on the bus.
Chef Tan sitting on the left side of the photo, Ana, Chef Em, Emma and Gian
Entering the dining room on our last day of cooking classes, we are greeted with a fruit and vegetable carving from the Mandarin Oriental.
Nathan and Jacob joke around with Chef Lin.
Today we prepared Panang Moo (pork curry) on the left and Gai Yang (grilled chicken) on the right.
Chef Lek’s Yam Plaa Duk Foo (fried catfish with green mango salad). Our minced fish was crumbles. This is a difficult dish to master; the oil has to be super hot with the initial frying before pressing the fish together into a crisp wafer.
Khao Nieaw Mamuang (mango with sticky rice)
Our introduction to basic vegetable carving.
A walk through Wat Prathat Doi Suthep Temple from above the city.
The famous 304 (306 steps) of the dragon stairs - I didn’t count, so I can’t tell you for certain.
Chef Tan at the base of the steps.
Coming down the mountain on bus - a view of Chiang Mai from above.
My roommate and I missed seeing the fireworks from our hotel room, but fireworks were launched in celebration of the U.S.A.’s birthday.
The best Samosas can be found The Whole Earth Restaurant near the Royal Princess Hotel. It serves both Thai and Indian foods.
Here is the chicken samosa. Perfectly fried and not a bit greasy. The green peas inside retained their shape and were not overcooked.
Friday, July 5, 2013 - Toured the King Project and Organic Farm, petted tigers and had lunch at Tiger Kingdom, checked in for a night at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and At-Sunrise Graduation for Study Abroad and dinner
In the morning, we toured The King’s Project.
Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej is highly regarded due to his efforts to provide employment to his people and to his humanitarian causes. One of which is The King’s Project; the program converted opium poppy fields to productive, sustainable farmland, where hydroponic gardening is used extensively.
Mid-morning, some of us visited Chiang Mai’s Tiger Kingdom, while others went for a 30 minute show and snake-handling at Mae Sa Snake Farm. Later, we all regrouped for complimentary lunch at Tiger Kingdom.
Sean with a tiger
Brittany, Chad, and Emma posing with a tiger.
The group feeding massive Koi at Tiger Kingdom.
Our lodging for the night at the Mandarin Oriental was luxurious.
Sam, Pat, and Ana relaxing by the pool.
The setting for our graduation ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental’s Rice Terrace
Director Leong addressing the study abroad class at graduation.
Jacob accepting his certificates for the Pan-Asian Culinary Program and from the Thai Culinary Academy.
A view of my certificates
Chef Rishi states how much this experience him personally and how our class has set a “new standard” with no absences and no illness during the four week program.
Jonathan and Ana convey our class’ gratitude to the people of At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy and the Mandarin Oriental instructors.
The Mandarin Oriental instructors.
Director Leong wears the Miami Heat jersey, signed by our class, and presented to At-Sunrice by Chef Bryan.
Our graduating class
Just before the rains hit,we sat down for dinner together as at the Mandarin Oriental.
Saturday, July 6, 2013 - Free and easy with dinner at Huen Zartr
I spent the doing much of nothing. I failed to take my camera for the tankful of fish feeding off Sam’s, Ana’s, Cassidy’s and my feet. Afterwards, we got pedicures; the ladies received nail polish, while I got a foot scrub.
We had our last, formal dinner together as a class at Huen Zartr Restaurant.
Sunday, July 7, 2013 - Optional day for self-chosen activities (a small group of of went zip-lining), later dinner at Whole Earth Restaurant, and one last walk through Sunday Market
Groups of us did our own activities today. Some motorcycled in the mountains and others went zip-lining, while the rest took advantage of the down-time with a well deserved rest.
Chef Rishi and Max sitting in the truck on our way up the mountainside to zip-line.
Chef Rishi, Max, and our instructor - God. Yes, that’s right; that’s his name. Our lives were in God’s hands.
Me on a wire.
Max makes it look so easy, like he’s taking a leisure bus ride.
Chris doing his Superman flight
Chris, Zack, Chef Rishi, Noc, me, Max
One last visit to The Whole Earth Restaurant.
One last visit to the Sunday Night Market