First DayLiz had a last minute trip to Bangkok to attend a conference on Human Rights advocacy for NGO's. I went along on this trip. I had to decide what to do. The first day coincided with "Father's Day", a national holiday in Thailand.....actually it was the birthday of the King of Thailand, a revered figure in Thailand. I spent the day with an acquaintance, Lance Woodruff, from over 40 years ago when I was in the then Republic of Vietnam. The one time we met was at a Christmas party in Saigon. He had pictures to show it.
|VNCS 1971 Christmas Party (From Left to Right) Doug, Dean, and Doug (me) copyright Lance Woodruff|
The Second Day - CookingThe second day is the main subject of this blog.
I searched the web looking for a tourist cooking school in the vicinity of our hotel in the Silom District. I ended choosing the Silom Cooking School. It received good reviews in Trip Advisor, was appropriately priced, and had a menu I was interested in learning. Of note, many cooking schools in Bangkok have two paths (especially the schools based in good restaurants): a short day course for tourists, and longer courses (recommended 10 to 20 days @ THB 10,000 per day) aimed at professionals wishing to start Thai restaurants.
|Waiting with Motorcycle Taxi Driver (the vest is a uniform)|
The morning's class met on a street corner. It happens so often the motorcycle taxi drivers knew who I was waiting for. After the meetup we went to a neighborhood market to pick up the spices, vegetables, and shrimp. Although I have taken many market tours in Asia, I always learn something new.
|Peppers, Peppers, and still more Peppers|
|Our harvest from the market|
The Silom Cooking School is aimed at tourists. It provides plenty of hands on experience with staff dealing with peeling shrimp, and breaking down chicken carcases. Good sanitation practices were followed in the preparation process: plenty of water for washing hands and vegetables; separation of meat and vegetables when cutting (separate cutting boards); constant reminders to wash up.
|The Silom Cooking School|
|Proper form with the mortar and pestle|
It is easy with a stone set (not ceramic or wooden). Tip, put the mortar on top of a dish cloth or pot holder, and chop the items in small pieces before pounding. While you can use a chopper, blender or food processor, the end result is not the same (I need to get a larger mortar and pestle set). Each person in the group (8) was responsible for preparing one ingredient or you did it in pairs. Staff divided the ingredients onto trays and we went to the hallway to cook on individual gas stoves and woks.
|Our Cooking Stations|
|Group Cooking, sitting on the floor.|
This pattern was repeated four times as our menu included: Spicy Shrimp Soup (Tom- Yum- Gung), Fried Chicken with Holy Basil ( Kra –Pow – Gai ), Phanaeng Curry Paste (Nam- Phrik- Kang- Phanaeng), Green Curry with Chicken (Kang- Khiao- Wan- Gai) and Mango on Sticky Rice (Kow -Neuw- Mamuang ).
|I can cook.|
|Enjoying the fruits of our labor|
|A main dish|
|A second main dish|