Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2010, Day 347 - Bangkok, Day Three

Today was a food oriented day. After getting up rather early, again, we decided to get breakfast in the hotel again. They have a very nice buffet and it changes a little every day but the staples are always there and quite good. The problem is that we don't know where else we might go for a quick breakfast and while the buffet isn't terribly cheap it isn't expensive either and, as far as we can tell, most breakfasts are going to be similarly priced unless we eat street food, which would be fine but the street food in our area is a little more frightening than others we have seen.

Anywho, we had a full day of cooking classes at Baipai Thai Cooking School. They picked us up from our hotel bright and early. Upon arrival we were given some lemongrass tea and were introduced to the first menu. We made crispy rice crackers with spicy tofu topping, pomelo salad, massaman curry and stir-fried tofu with crispy basil. The class was a lot of fun and it made the cooking of Thai food much more accessible. Our afternoon menu included egg custard, spring rolls, spicy grilled mushrooms and green curry tofu. I must admit that I enjoyed the afternoon class more even though I found that I liked the first menu better. We had different instructors in the afternoon; Chef Noi and her assistant Golf were a lot of fun. They joked around a lot between giving instruction and were both entertaining and informative.

Part of the compound that makes up Baipai.

The instruction area.

The dining room used by the students upon completion of their culinary masterpieces.

Surprise! Chef Noi and her assistant Golf.

Lesson one - a good assistant needs to be beaten into submission.

Much was learned about the properties of Thai food as well. Spicy food makes you sexy. Hard rapid striking of the pestle against the mortar is an indication that the person will make a good spouse. The making of egg custard will give you soft hands. Kaffir lime juice is good for your hair when directly applied. Polemo skins boiled in water make a soothing treatment for chickenpox (you bathe in the water).

The culmination of the day's work, green curry with tofu and eggplant.

When the class was completed we were asked where we would like to be dropped off. I had bullied Brad into the idea of going to Chinatown earlier in the day. Yes, I know, Chinatown in Thailand sounds odd but there is a historic Chinese presence throughout the country and Chinatown is reputed to be a bustling hectic network of stalls and shops littered throughout narrow allies. Seeing as I am the kind of person who finds markets fascinating I really wanted to go. Fortunately the driver at Baipai ultimately decided that he would brave the traffic and drop us off in Chinatown.

Our adventure in Bangkok's Chinatown was everything it was reputed to be. There were crowds of people and scooters down the tight allies filled with street food, purveyors of dried foodstuffs, fresh produce, random electronics, pieces of Chinese decor all partially sheltered from the setting sun by a variety of tattered awnings. It was a little overwhelming but I enjoyed it immensely.

Dinner, cooked for order.

A Siamese alley cat.

Narrow, cramped and crowded.

After a while we decided to find transportation back to our hotel. Although we had wanted a taxi we were talked into taking a tuk tuk, after all, what's a trip to Thailand without a harrowing tuk took ride? Despite the fumes from the little engine and the lack of any kind of safety equipment it was no more frightening than a cab ride in China.

In all, it was an informative day with a touch of adventure.

1 comment:

  1. Ach! So Jealous!!! That looked amazing. I literally squeaked when I saw the cooking school... sad face. And then I had to keep telling myself that i'm going to disneyland tomorrow, which I have heard is supposed to be exactly the same as a chinatown in thailand, except with $5 churros. Miss you! Love you! Don't let Brad sell you!