The food scene in Thailand is no joke! I literally ate my way through Thailand and I am not sad about it one bit, as a matter of fact I was constantly blown away by the food that I was chowing down on. As a result I decided to do a completely separate post on the amazing and random things that I ate while I was traveling through Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Krabi. This list is going to be a combination of some of my favorite food places and some of the unique and delicious things that we ate at those places. I hope you enjoy the adventure.
Thailand Cooking Classes
I can’t take you on our culinary adventure without talking about the Thai cooking classes that we took while we were in Thailand. This is the first time that we have ever taken cooking classes on our travel adventures, and I have to say that I am a huge fan. I loved learning how to cook some of my favorite Thai dishes, because it gave me a better appreciation and understanding of the food that we were snacking on. It also made me realize how different the food could be from region to region within the country. All of the classes that we took were AMAZING and I would highly recommend any of the schools that we attended if you are planning a Thailand trip. Below is a quick recap of the cooking schools that we attended and the food that we got to make in each class. Stay tuned for recipes from our trip, such as this amazing and simple Chiang Mai Curry!
Bangkok – BaiPai Cooking School
The BaiPai Cooking School was located in an open air building in Bangkok…I basically wanted to live in the building that the school was in! The chefs were super friendly and offered a ton of veggie options for this vegetarian, so I was a happy camper. We grilled, mortared and pestaled, simmered and seasoned our hearts out! Over the course to the afternoon we learned how to make tom yum soup, chicken/tofu satay, red curry and mango sticky rice.
Chiang Mai – Four Seasons Cooking School
In Chiang Mai we stayed at the Four Seasons hotel just outside of the city. We took our cooking class inside of our hotel at the Four Season Cooking School. Similar to the BaiPai Cooking School in Bangkok, the Chef would demo all of the dishes first, which left room for questions and made learning and cooking the dish so much easier. Over the course of the afternoon we made a young green chili dipping sauce for veggies and pork, red curry paste (which was totally different from BaiPai’s red curry paste) and a Chiang Mai curry, which was my favorite!
Krabi – Rayavadee Cooking School
The cooking school that we went to in Krabi was actually located in the Rayavadee hotel that we were staying at. We were supposed to have the cooking class outside, but since it was raining they held it in the open-air part of the restaurant, which was perfect. They partnered us up, introduced us to the Thai chef who runs the restaurants at the resort and we started cooking. The cooking class was neat, because this was the first time that this chef has ever hosted a cooking class for a group. This class was also a bit different from the other Thai cooking classes that we had taken on this trip, because this class was structured like a Top Chef episode, which was a fun twist. We were given instructions on how to cook each dish, the Chef would float around and offer cooking suggestions and tips, and then she would come back and taste each group’s dish and pick a winner. At the Rayavadee Cooking School we made fried chrysanthemums, a prawn curry and fried soft shell crabs.
Now let’s move onto the amazing and bizarre food that we snacked on during our adventure.
Even if you are not staying at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, you should definitely plan to have at least one meal at their Verandah Restaurant in this hotel along the River of Kings. Some of our most memorable meals were enjoyed at this hotel. A few of our favorite things that we ate during our stay was a spicy basil fried rice, a shrimp pad Thai, the best green curry that I have ever had, a pad see ew and one of the most epic breakfast buffets that I have ever seen!
Ayutthaya Temple and Market
We saw a lot of temples on our Thailand adventure, but Ayutthaya was one of my favorites. You can read more about the temple in my Bangkok post. On our way back from the temple we strolled though an amazing Thai market that had a ton of interesting Thai foods that we got to try. Derika and I ended up trying some salty taro sticks, some peanut brittle and some banana chips. The salty taro sticks were so amazing, that I ate a whole bag after sharing some with the group I was with!
My favorite thing that we picked up at the market was the cotton candy! This is not your ordinary light and fluffy cotton candy. This cotton candy actually looks like Barbie Doll hair, and comes with a sweet kind of tortilla that you roll the cotton candy strands into!? I know it sounds so strange, but it was soooo awesome! It tasted amazing and was one of my most favorite and bizarre things that I ate the whole trip!
Chatuchak Market aka The JJ Market
We went to the JJ Market to check some of the 8000 booths that are at this market, and to try some unique Thai delicacies. We tried things that looked like cherries and miniature vegetables, but were actually not a fruit or a vegetable at all. These mysterious looking fruits and mini vegetables were made completely out of mung beans!? Look how cute they are!
You could also find these unique mung bean delicacies in the shape of pearls and were floating around in our coconut cream desserts.
Derika got brave and tried some Durian. Durian is (I pulled this right from Wikipedia) a fruit whose “edible flesh emits a distinctive odor that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as having a pleasantly sweet fragrance; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as rotten onions, turpentine, and raw sewage. The persistence of its odor has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in Southeast Asia.” I think it has a bad rap, but I think that you get the point.
My favorite thing that we tried at the market was a fruit called a rose apple. It is a bizarre zombie looking apple that tasted a little like a pear and a little like an apple, but was just a touch sweeter than an apple. They were sooo good even if they are creepy looking!
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
At the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Bangkok, we sampled some grilled bananas on a stick that came with a sweet honey-like dipping sauce. You can also read more about the floating market in my Bangkok post.
Also at the floating market we hopped off at the only shop you could walk around in and tried our hand at making and taste tested some palm sugar mounds. That little man in the photo made about 30 mounds to my one. He was super nice and so friendly; I wanted to hang out with him all day.
Inn Chan Restaurant and The Rose Garden
We had lunch at Inn Chan at the Rose Garden. The scenery was incredibly beautiful, but the neatest thing about this lunch spot is they featured all sorts of amazing carved fruit. I mean, look at the detail of the fruit carving below!
In addition to seeing some of the most beautifully carved fruit, we had some amazing traditional Thai food in a beautiful setting and some of the best coconut ice cream for dessert. You can get coconut ice cream all over Thailand. If you see it on the dessert menu at any of the restaurants that you are at, I highly highly recommend trying it.
In Chiang Mai at the Loi Krathong Lantern Festival we tried some sweet street tacos. I could have eaten 10 of these! The exterior was a thin and crispy pancake that tasted like a fortune cookie. The insides consisted of marshmallow cream and shredded vegetable matter. Pumpkin? Squash? Googling “Thai Tacos” did not shed any light on the matter. You could get them sweet or savory. I loved all of them.
In Chiang Mai, I FINALLY got to try a REAL Thai iced tea. It tastes so different that what you get in the States. Most of the Thai dishes that you order come with all of the condiments on the side so that you can heat it and spice it to your own liking. I love this because then you can cater your food to your own spice preference, and it makes sharing so much easier. The Thai iced tea in Thailand is served the same way. They serve all of the tea condiments on the side so that you can make it as creamy and as sweet as you want it. So yummy!
One of my most favorite meal times in Thailand was breakfast, and I am not even that big of a breakfast person. Every place that we stayed at had an amazing breakfast buffet, but you could also just get a warm noodle soup packed with a bunch of veggies, a protein of your choice and this all came with an amazing side of condiments. I had soup every morning for breakfast even when it was in the 90s. I was a bit obsessed!
That about sums up our Thai culinary adventure and now all I can think about is Thai food! This was one of the few countries that I have ever been too that I was not sick of the food when it came time to leave. I actually think that this travel adventure made my Thai food cravings even worse. If I leave you with one thing, I want it to be this…Try the doll hair cotton candy on your Thailand adventure. I would not have tried it if someone hadn’t talked me into it. It seriously was something that I think that everyone should experience at least once.