Published on July 14th, 2011 | by Emma Hackwood0
Learning to Cook in Thailand
From beaches with turquoise water and pure white sand, to the bustling cities sporting exotic markets and a vibrant nightlife, it is easy to see why Thailand has become one of the most popular tourist destinations for the adventurous and young at heart. Our Flightie Sandy Coulson recently went to Thailand and shares with us her experience learning to cook with Thai food in Koh Samui and some others things you’ll find when you explore what’s outside of the kitchen:
I was lucky enough to have travelled to Thailand with a few other Flight Centre employees last month. This was my first trip to Asia and it was everything that I had envisioned and more. Thailand has always been on my “list” of places that I would love to travel to and I was so thrilled that I was actually getting this chance. In my head I had these dreams of what the authentic food would taste like and of course what the famous beaches would look like and Thailand did not disappoint. We had two amazing excursions while in Thailand: a dinnertime cooking school in Koh Samui and trip by speedboat to the Phi Phi Islands in Phuket.
At the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts in Koh Samui we learned how to prepare and cook four amazing Thai dishes. The teacher had the table all prepared for us and we took our places. Each of us was given their own station to prepare the dishes planned out for the day. This was a four hour process in all and it was so much fun. All of the ingredients for the dishes were measured out for us already but the teacher showed us how to properly cut, slice and chop each vegetable or meat correctly. She would explain what to look for when shopping for groceries and what items could be substituted if necessary. We made a pad thai dish with prawns, a spicy deep fried fish salad, green curry with vegetables/tofu and a coconut milk soup with chicken. All of them were so delicious. After we cooked each dish we would sit down, taste the dish and then immediately cook the next dish.
At the end of the cooking process we were told to go upstairs and to our surprise, the staff had set up a long table with each of dishes so we could sit down and enjoy the food. This was such a fantastic experience. I would highly recommend taking a thai cooking class while in Thailand. The food is so amazing and even better when you learn how to make these dishes at home for yourself. The teacher provided us with the recipes of our dishes and also gave us a dvd that shows the cooking class step by step.
We flew from Koh Samui over to Phuket with Bangkok Airways. The flight was only an hour and it was a beautiful day so you see the blue waters and the small islands throughout the ocean. One of the most famous Islands in Phuket are the Phi Phi Islands. You can reach these islands by speed boat and we did just that. The Phang-Nga Eco tourism company has many great itineries for day trips around the Phi Phi Islands. This is an all day trip starting at 10am from the dock and returning at 5:30pm. Lunch was included at Leamtong beach where we stopped to eat, have a swim and enjoy some free time. Our first visit on the tour was to Monkey Beach. We didn’t actually stop the boat and get off but we pulled right up close to the beach and the captain of the boat used some fruit to entice the monkeys to come down from the trees and out onto the beach. There were at least 20 monkeys that came down to say hello and of course grab a banana or two in the process. We then carried on over to Phi Phi Ley which is the island in which they filmed the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio. From there we took the boat in and around some caves and stopped when we found a tranquil spot to jump off the boat for a swim. The water was perfect. It was an emerald color and so clear and warm.
The salt content was so high in the water that you could lay flat on your back without moving your hands or feet to stay a float. This, by far, was my favorite moment/memory of the entire trip to Thailand. I loved this day and I particularly loved that I was swimming in such clear waters surrounded by high cliffs and a few thai fishing boats. It was exactly the dream I had envisioned in regards to what Thailand had in store for me. Taking a speed boat to the Phi Phi Islands is an absolute ‘must’ while in Thailand. There is no other way to see such natural beauty and it would be such a shame to travel to Thailand and not experience this.
I am still amazed with everything that I experienced while in Thailand and these are examples of just two of the days I had. I will most definitely be going back to Thailand one day and I am confident to say that if you have the chance or opportunity, you should too!
Sandy Coulson is a Manager at our Broadway and Ash location in Vancouver, BC and can be reached by E-mail or calling 1-866-643-4104.