Putting the Iron Chef to shame

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

e were up early to grab a quick bite to eat before getting picked up for our cooking class. We started off by going to the local fresh food market and selecting all the ingredients. They had every vegetable under the sun and then some. The meat section was eye opening. We were greeted by a guy picking up fish out of a tank, placing them on a chopping board and hacking their heads off, then scaling and gutting them ready to sell.

We found a stall that sold every possible part of a pig you can think of. Thankfully we weren't cooking anything that exotic. After the meat section we had a demonstration on how to make coconut milk and cream. No cans here. They had a huge machine that shredded the coconut (we tasted it and it was yummy) and once shredded they used a second machine to pulp it with water. The first time it makes the cream and a second time through it is milk. Now answer truthfully 'Did you know that's how they make coconut milk and cream?' We sure didn't.

With everything in hand we headed to the cooking school. Our first task was to make the curry paste, again no jars of pre-made paste here. We ground everything up using mortar and pestle then used it to make a curry. Meg made a Green curry and Rick a Yellow one. After tasting the first dish we realised Thai food is HOT. From then on if she said 4 chillies we put in 1.

Rick then made three more dishes. Sweet and sour vegetables with chicken, glass noodle and minced pork salad and a coconut soup. Meg also made another three. Chicken and hot basil beans, Thai beef salad and Tom Yum soup (very very spicy). With this completed we sat down, got some rice and feasted on our dishes.

After lunch we headed back to the kitchen. Rick learnt how to make steamed banana cakes and Meg spring rolls. With no room left in our stomachs we had to finish the day with a Pad Thai and Flat noodles with oyster sauce. Whilst very yummy we were both too full to enjoy them properly but will be making them at home for sure.

We both really enjoyed the cooking experience. Our chef was very knowledgeable and we learnt a lot about the Thai style of cooking and the different ingredients used. We also both got a cool cook book to take home. Dandenong Market here we come!

It was then back to our hostel to book a bus and speed boat over the border into Laos. Too full for dinner so we settled with just dessert.
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