Anyone who knows me, knows I love to eat my way through life. Kidding… kind of but actually though I shamelessly love food.
So it comes as no surprise that when my girlf announced that we were officially going to Thailand (because she booked the tickets after much of my deliberation over prices and times) I was already salivating at the thought of being reunited with all of the tantalising flavours and dishes that were awaiting us *drools*.
Before we were even on the plane I was dreaming about that delicious massaman, the crispy noodles balancing on top of a khao soi, the lime and peanuts that would accompany a dreamy pad thai, and the gorgeous Thai omelette that somehow tastes like a regular omelette but reaches every one of my tastebuds with a different element of flavour and deliciousness with each bite.
Once we landed, our foodventure was officially underway! Starting in the bustling city of Bangkok, we ventured out and stopped at a street vendor selling padthai for 35baht. This was my girlf’s first time in Thailand so I was super excited to see her reaction to SE Asia flava…long story short: she loved it, and we were off to explore and conquer Thai dishes together!
I’ll try not to go into too much written detail of how amazing the food was, and is, in Thailand for anyone who hasn’t been, I’ve attached some pictures to speak for themselves.
We were so blessed on this trip to have met so many wonderful people who’ve welcomed us and shown us a bit about Thai cooking on a more personal level, namely Benny and her partner Nan, who run Benny’s homecooking in Chiang Mai and the beautiful owners of the Sabaidee Lanta hostel in Ko Lanta, Yin and Geng (apologies for incorrect spelling if you ever read this guys, I forgot to ask how to before leaving)!
The morning of our cooking class with Benny, there was a torrential downpour in classic wet season style. The rain provides a nice break from the heat and looks and sounds beautiful, so we were happy to receive it. Benny let us know that due to a cancellation, we would be the only people in her class that day- which was amazing to us because it meant we would get unprecedented time with her to learn about Thai cooking and ingredients as well as enjoy hers and Nan’s company in their beautiful home in rural Chiang Mai!
Before arriving at Benny’s, we stopped at a local market way outside of the old city, not a single tourist was in sight and nobody spoke English- a great opportunity for us to brush up on some Thai we had attempted to learn. Benny showed us around a selection of stalls, where we were able to taste some local dishes such as the famous Chiang Mai sausage- the stall we visited was apparently the best (in Benny’s opinion) in Chiang Mai, and the recipe a very well kept secret. We also tried sticky rice and banana, as well as sticky rice with sweet potato both smoked in bamboo leaves. We were given the opportunity to buy ingredients of our own- for a fraction of the price we’d pay at market stalls in the main part of the city- and Benny taught us loads about the ingredients she uses and how Thai food is prepared and cooked.
Once the market tour was complete, we went to Benny’s home. Nan greeted us with delicious butterfly pea tea (grown in Benny’s garden), purple in colour until we squeezed some lime juice into it, turning it blue aka mindblown. Benny grows most of the fresh ingredients she uses in her own backyard so when it came to getting ingredients ready for cooking, we were literally able to pick it ourselves right out of the earth. You can’t get fresher than that!
Benny and Nan were wonderful hosts and I feel truly blessed to have met them both, and to have had exclusive time with them to learn about cooking. I love to cook at home, and while previous cooking classes in Thailand have been great fun, the personal nature of cooking with Benny, and her very handy cookbook full of tips for cooking with Thai ingredients (as well as substitutes for when certain things aren’t available in the UK) has resulted in Beth and I being able to enjoy the real, nostalgic flavours that we love so much from SE Asia on a very regular basis. We now are able to prepare our own curry pastes for our all-time favourites, and eat fresh Thai food whenever the feeling takes us.
Towards the end of our trip, we ventured down to Ko Lanta, a decision that was somewhat last minute, and something we had debated about for a bit, but are very glad we agreed to do, as some of the best parts of our trip took place on this gorgeous island. The Sabaidee Lanta hostel is hidden off of the main road in Lanta, opposite Klong Dao beach and a string of local restaurants and shops. The island is gorgeous, and things move at a significantly slower, more relaxed pace than the mainland. We intended to spend no more than two nights here, but ended up staying for a week because we fell in love with the hostel and the people who ran it. We spent every evening drinking and eating with Yin and Geng, and their friends, who made us feel like more than just guests at the hostel, they took the time to cook for us and take us out to a local bar one evening when the classic Thai rain was in full swing- resulting in a powercut and being soaked through like we had just showered in our clothes!
One of the nights we were there, Yin sat us all down and showed us how to make a penang curry, with sticky rice and Thai omelette. According to Yin, the most important part of a Thai omelette is: the eggs! We all got to watch how it was made and contribute, and I wrote down the recipe so that I could make my own back in England, although I can’t seem to get that omelette as good as hers…
The next day we decided to explore Lanta and find somewhere to get ingredients to make some of the recipes that Benny had given us in her cookbook. It was extremely difficult trying to communicate what we wanted at the markets, and try as I might I just don’t have the pronunciation of certain words down, so I received a lot of puzzled faces in response to my queries! Thanks to Benny, I managed to get all of the bits we needed as she has both English and Thai translations of ingredients in her book for literally everything! We made chicken massaman and fresh spring rolls, with a fresh peanut satay dip #thanksbenny!
Cooking with Benny and Yin were my two favourite little foodventures on our trip, but we literally spent our entire time eating our way around the country! Last time I came to Thailand I was so not down for any kind of Western food, I wanted to literally try everything Thai, but this time round we were on a legit foodventure, and were appreciative of the Thai take on western dishes, which included fry ups, mexican, pizza, and more! Our main goal was to find the best massaman, and I would say BierStube in Chiang Mai was among the tastiest we encountered- check it out next time you’re in town!
Here’s a few more photos of our quest for the best in Thailand! (I know a plate of fruit isn’t exactly part of our foodventures, but most of Beth’s breakfasts were just that so I had to include some! Ha!)
Our foodventures haven’t just stopped now we’re home, check out my instagram @hollygoesglobal for more pics of our continuing foodventures in the UK!
I hope you’ve had a beautiful week, and are going into the next mindful and positive,