Chiang Mai, Thailand: Thai Farm Cooking School

Our second day in Chiang Mai was spent whipping up some delicious dishes with the Thai Farm Cooking School.  BUT to kick off the morning, and because we couldn't sleep past 6:30.. we wandered around the neighborhood to find this coffee place I'd heard was fantastic.  Ristr8to was no joke the best coffee we've ever had - and Robby is NOT a coffee drinker.  I made the mistake of ordering an iced Latte, which was delicious, but they have a sign in front of the store that says 'Iced Coffee Kills Baristas'.  Robby's was 1000% more tasty than mine so it was my own fault.  (I would make up for it later in the week.) Anyways, we had our tasty coffee and headed back to the condo to meet the minivan for the farm.  

They picked us up and we headed to the local farmers market to pick up a few items the farm didn't grow.  Our cooking guide, Gift, took us through the market and educated us on the uniqueness of Thai cuisine.  She then gave us 30 mins to explore before we moved on.  We weaved in and out of stall after stall of rice and oils, fruits and veggies and then into this closed off area where all the meats were sold.  It was not a place for the faint of heart or those with a weak stomach.  

Our little market adventure ended and we hopped in the buses to make the trek out to the farm.  The property is set up to welcome multiple tour groups each day.  Each bus is given an individual building where there is an open air kitchen & the class is taught by two local cooking guru's.  When we first arrived our guides walked us around the actual crop beds and showed us what ingredients we would be using in the dishes for the day.  They prepared most of the ingredients for us and then each dish was taught separately and then enjoyed.  We made 6 courses throughout the day and were beyond stuffed but the end of it.  This is the menu, with soundbites, from our day!

1) Curry Paste - I only used 1/2 of a chili peppers and I loved my first experience with the spice. Robby on the other hand used 4 1/2 chili peppers because he can take the heat... but you can imagine how that went :) 

2) Tom Yum Soup - It was 100+ degrees and we were eating really hot (temp wise) soup.  It was good but I was so hot. 

3) Vegetarian Spring Rolls - YUM! Might have been my favorite dish of the day... but who doesn't love homemade spring rolls.  Definitely whipping this recipe out for our next themed dinner night.

4) Yellow & Green Curry - Mine was so tasty with potatoes, tofu, veggies, coconut cream and a very mild curry sauce.  Robby's was... HOT.  And by hot I mean, we think he burned some taste buds off. 

5) Papaya Salad - SUPER spicy... and I can't handle the fish sauce. It's so strong.

6) Cashew Chicken Stir fry - Who doesn't love fried rice and stir fry. 

7) MANGO STICKY RICE (!!!!!!) - This stuff is amazing & I'm not really a rice person - I've never eaten so much rice in my 28 years of life than I did within the 2 weeks we were on this trip - Back to the rice... it's incredible and sweet and the mango here melts in your mouth. YUM.'

By the time we finished cooking it was close to 4 o'clock and no one could finish their final dish.  Thankfully, the team had some experience with over indulging American's and they pulled out to go bags for us to take our goodies home.  I cannot speak more highly of the Thai Farm Cooking School.  They were well prepared, educated us on the produce around the grounds and their English was excellent.   

Here are some photos from the day. Enjoy, but don't do so on an empty stomach!!  Or you might end up eating Thai tonight :) 

Alana Buffington