Thai Cooking class at the AsiaScenic Farm


On Sunday while the guys we off downhill mountain biking I took cooking class. I eventually decided on the all day cooking class at the AsiaScenic Farm. The day started with a 9:30 AM pick up at my apartment before we stopped at the MaeJo Market, close the MaeJo University.


This is Pui(say it with a rising tone!), our guide and instructor for the day. Here she is showing us some of the produce that we will be using in our dishes today. There is actually a ton more at the market than just vegetables and fruit. You can buy rice, noodles, any spices, lunch and any spices that you need there.




Got to have some delicious peppers when you’re making Thai food. Pui shared with us that the smaller the pepper the hotter it will be. Also that fresh chilis are more hot than dried ones, and that red ones are always hotter than green. Good to know when you’re about to spend all day cooking!


For some reason the carrots just look more cute in Thailand.

After the market we all piled into the minivan and headed over the the farm. It was about a 20 minute drive. Not bad.


Our first glimpse of the farm! It is a very relaxin place with an outdoor cooking area, a large garden, and plenty of hammocks to relax in between dishes!



First thing we did was to put on some straw hats and take a tour of the gardens. Lots of the produce that we used was actually grown organically at the farm. Pretty cool.



These blue flowers have medicinal properties and Thai people sometimes make a tea from them. Pui said they don’t taste like much so people usually add a little lime or something to it. They’re also great for dyeing food and we are going to use these in our Mango and Sticky Rice dish.


To get us into the cooking mood we had a traditional snack of lime (with peel), galangal, toasted coconut, onion, peanut, syrup and a chili. We used lettuce leaves here but normally you would use a betel leaf. Surprisingly tasty! I had two.


My first dish, Pad Thai! While it didn’t come out all that well (I think I overcooked it) it was exciting to start cooking. Once I was more familiar with the utensils and format things went a lot better.


I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Spicy Chicken Salad but it was really delicious, it came out really well. The egg roll was also very tasty with some sweet chili dipping sauce.


Next we had to make some curry paste in order to make our curry dishes with a mortar and pestle! It wasn’t so bad taking turns but my arm was really sore by the end. Pui said that our paste was really small and that she was impressed. Most groups still have really big chunks.


This is my Tom Yum Soup. Easily my favorite dish of the day, but it was really spicy!


Next I decided to make Kao Soi for my curry. It had a good flavor but because I used a lot of chili paste it was too thick. Not all that spicy however. Everyone else was using only 1-3 tablespoons (not spicy to mild) of curry paste in their curry dish, so I just had to use 5 tablespoons (spicy!). Someone had to do it!


Last but not least was the mango sticky rice. The blue rice is actually dyed from the flowers that we picked earlier in the day. I’m really glad that I decided to try this dish again. The first time that I had Mango and sticky rice the mango was kind of green and the sticky rice was just rice mixed with a sticky syrup. This was really tasty and I would definitely make it for dessert.

After lounging and leisurely finishing our last dishes Pui gave us a copy of their recipe book and we all piled into the minivan to go back home. I was dropped off at my apartment at around 4:30PM, it was a long day!

Overall I would definitely recommend taking a cooking class and choosing one with a trip to the market. It really makes you feel like it’s something that you could get the ingredients for and do yourself. Cooking Thai food was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I am excited about making it when I get back home!

Lunch at Huen Muan Jai


After a long week and graduating our 15 day Thai class I was just exhausted. All we did on Friday was relax and check out a new northern Thai restaurant called Huen Muan Jai. The restaurant is mostly outdoors on a wooden deck. Mosquito spray is provided for free although I don’t think we needed it. It was lovely to sit out on the shaded deck and to feel the breeze.


We got all northern dishes, nam prick ong, gueng hang lay, and kao soi. All were pretty good but the Kao soi really stood out. It’s a pretty cheap and delicious lunch, I think that we will definitely have to get it again.

Galae and the Chiang Mai zoo


On Wednesday we went out to lunch with our Thai class at the beautiful Galae restaurant. The location is right by the river amongst a lovely garden. After a delightful lunch filled with a variety of Northern favorites including Nam Prik Ong, Gueng Hang lay, and deep fried seabass with crispy galangal we went for a short walk along the grounds.



While driving the scooters around we noticed that we were quite near the Chiang Mai zoo. The entrance was very odd, it almost looked like a private compound and there were no buses or other people besides the two in a small kiosk. We were able to buy tickets there and started walking towards the closest attraction. As it turned out we actually had entered at a small side entrance! We spent ages walking the steep road towards the actual zoo and past some very unusual signs, for example one read “Hormone extraction office” or something along those lines. I wonder if that is a mistranslation or they really extract hormones there?

Next time I would definitely take the time to find the real entrance. We had to walk over a very steep road for a long time and we then had to walk even further to find a place that sold tickets for the bus. In fact we almost had to buy two tickets for the bus around the park because they end at the entrance. Very annoying! I wish those guards had advised us to drive to the actual entrance.


Once we got over our disappointment with the entrance situation we had a lot of fun. A highlight for me was seeing the pandas! There are only two but as they only cost 100 baht extra for the ticket we thought it was worth it. We got lucky in that the zoo keepers had put out some fresh bamboo just before we got there and one of the pandas we just hanging out eating bamboo really close to the edge of the enclosure. We were maybe 6-8 feet away here. Crazy!

Another cool thing that I almost forgot to mention is that you can feed nearly any animal at the zoo. That’s right, even the carnivores! My SO was brave and decided to feed one of the jaguars. So weird! We also feed a giraffe, an elephant, and some deer.

We did skip the super expensive aquarium but I think with the pandas and various opportunities to feed the animals the zoo is so much fun. I couldn’t recommend it enough. Definitely a different experience than going back home. Just make sure that you go in the main entrance, it will save you a lot of hassle.