Chiang Mai 2015 – The Legend of a Vegan – Day 5 and 6 : Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School
This marks the most exciting finale of our trip as we went on to sign up for an amazing outdoor cooking full-day workshop with Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School. There were several Thai cooking schools recommended on Trip Advisor but I have not come across Asia Scenic. So I would think this is a hidden gem, for sure! It was actually recommended by the receptionist from our previous hotel at Buri Gallery Hotel and I am so glad that we went ahead with her recommendation as it was one of the best cooking class I’ve attended so far!
We woke up bright and early to some fluffy homemade pancakes and orange juice.
The owner made no-bake mango cheesecake so she asked us if we want to give it a try. Too sweet and kind of her to offer us a slice of cake!
It was so sweet of her to offer us something special.
At Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School, you can opt for a half-day or full-day cooking class. You could also choose between indoor and outdoor cooking. I thought outdoor cooking would be one of a kind and it would be nice cooking outdoors and using fresh herbs plucked from the garden.
The first part of the tour is a local wet market tour and the local market was located quite a distance from the city area. It’s actually about 30 minutes of car ride and this is usually where the local Thais would get their fresh produce from.
So, our bubbly guide/master chef introduce to us some of the common local ingredients used in Thai cuisine. It goes from the various type of curry paste to the types of noodles, from bee hoon to kuay teow.
Heard of Tamarinds?
This is an essential ingredient for making Pad Thai.
We were taught from the very basics from the way we should cook the noodles to the ingredients each noodle is made up of. The glass noodles, for instance, is made from Mung bean and thus is lower in calorie as compared to other types of noodles. It is most commonly used Thai salads and other dishes too.
Glass noodle or bean vermicelli, a type of transparent noodle which is made from mung bean starch and water.
Our guide, who calls herself Pear, has a very interesting personality. You might think that she is young and inexperienced but the truth is, she is very knowledgeable, patient and humorous at times. It was really enjoyable to be learning alot of things about Thai cooking from her.
Afternoon nap. Catching a few winks before the actual cooking begins.
They drove us into this hut with a kitchen and a large backyard where various types of plants could be found. It’s like a farm-cum-garden where we get to pluck fresh vegetables and herbs from the soil. Outdoor cooking can be so much fun!
We have a farm tour where we went around to get vegetables and herbs with our guide.
Kaffir lime leaves
This is a whole basket of herbs which we will be using for cooking later!
When we eat rice, we are actually eating the seeds of a grass. So is rice a plant? Yes it is!
There’s a great amount of space and sunshine for gardening!
Here’s the butterfly pea flower where the colour from its flower petals are extracted to make food colourings.
Thai food isn’t thai without these spicy red hot chillies.
This is the-never-seen-before-fruit that is long and oblong in shape.
These grounds are owned by the owner of Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School. He even has a house right next to the garden!
This is a Thai appetizer which people from the olden days would serve their guests with. It’s betel leaves wrapped with condiments like peanuts, chilli, onions, shallots, honey, lime, ginger and garlic. It represents all the different tastes – sweet, sour, spicy and salty – all combined together to give that flavorful punch to fire up your taste buds.
And here’s the fun part – creating magic in the kitchen!
There are vegetarian options as well and to make the dishes vegetarian-friendly, they would just replace the meat with tofu and oyster sauce with soy sauce.
My first dish! Vegetarian Phad Thai!
Fried Spring Roll
After about an hour of cooking, we had a short break where we get to eat what we’ve cooked.
Next up – curry!
We made our own curry paste from scratch – using pestle and mortar.
There’s the stern look from Vanessa.
Whatcha doin’ ?
We cooked seven dishes in total within 3 hours? That’s not too bad! And it is really worth it considering the price we paid for this cooking class which costs about SGD50. The course fees includes a recipe book too.
Last but not least, we made mango sticky rice which is made bluish with the natural dyes obtained from the butterfly pea flower.
It was truly tiring and we felt so full after consuming all seven dishes (which were already served in smaller portions!) that we decided to skip dinner altogether. We enjoyed ourselves alot during this cooking class and we highly recommend Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School if you are heading to Chiang Mai to learn some cooking.
Day 6 : Farewell, Chiang Mai!
Before we leave for the airport, I had my one last vegan meal in Chiang Mai at Blue Diamond Restaurant. It’s a really cool place and would love to dine here again!
This Kombucha tea is potent! Real strong and bitter. Not recommended for the faint-hearted. This is a fermented tea which is believed to bring about several health benefits such as improving the digestive system.
I must say that this trip to Chiang Mai has been a rather fulfilling one and I am so glad to have my bestie, Vanessa to travel with me. Yes, solo travel can be eye-opening but travelling with a pal is way more fun!