To say I ate well in Thailand would be one of the biggest understatements I could make. Not only did I eat well, I tried a lot of dishes and everything I ate was delicious, fresh and flavorful.
I was introduced to Thai cuisine at an early age. Five minutes from my home in California there is a terrific Thai restaurant run by the friendliest family from Chang Mai, Thailand. I fell in love with curries, but whenever I bought pre-made curries at the supermarket or tried making my own, they never even tasted close. So I decided to treat myself to a cooking class at Silom Thai Cooking School in Bangkok so I could discover the secrets of making a curry and anything else I could pick up.
The 5-course class cost 1,000 baht ($32); the class was fun and you get to try a lot of food, but it’s not for people who are looking for an advanced Cordon Bleu experience, because a lot of the ingredients are pre-cut to speed up the process. The morning began with a visit to a market where there were bags of pre-made curries for sale (photo above), machines buzzing as they grated coconut, and men and women carefully inspecting tables piled high with seafood. We picked up key Thai ingredients including sweet basil, holy basil, lemon/lime basil, bird’s eye chilies, spur chilies, limes, kaffir limes, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, Thai coriander, tamarind, galangal ginger and mung beans. Up first was tom yum goong, hot and sour prawn soup.
This was one of my favorite dishes. The soup combines prawns, straw mushrooms, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal ginger, fish sauce, lime juice, water, tomato, coriander, green onion, Thai chili paste, coconut milk, and bird’s eye chilies, if you can take the heat.