Thai cooking can oftentimes seems a bit daunting.  There's a lot of ingredients that go into a dish but if you stand your ground, you'll begin to understand and see how it all comes together.  In most dishes, if not all, there are the 4 flavor profiles that are used and can always be adjusted accordingly to your taste.  These 4 flavors (shall we name them the Fantastic Four or Four Flava Flaves?) are sweet (sugar), sour (vinegar w/jalapeƱos or fresh lime), salty (fish sauce), and spicy (chili).  You'll also find that Thai food owes a lot of its unique properties to the fresh herbs that are used such as the ones below:  

 Is this guy going out to the garden to cut down some fresh herbs? Why yes, I particularly think so! The trays on the right include: chives, green onions, cilantro w/root (or coriander on where you're from), Thai sweet basil, kaffir lime leaves, mint, holy basil, Chinese celery, Thai eggplant, shallots, galangal, chili, lemongrass, lime, kaffir lime (the bumpy textured round one), baby corn, tomatoes, Asian green beans (the extra long ones), onions, and mushrooms.

Is this guy going out to the garden to cut down some fresh herbs? Why yes, I particularly think so! The trays on the right include: chives, green onions, cilantro w/root (or coriander on where you're from), Thai sweet basil, kaffir lime leaves, mint, holy basil, Chinese celery, Thai eggplant, shallots, galangal, chili, lemongrass, lime, kaffir lime (the bumpy textured round one), baby corn, tomatoes, Asian green beans (the extra long ones), onions, and mushrooms.

 Chopping up fresh ingredients to make a paste for a Burmese influenced traditional northern Thai dish called Khao Soi.

Chopping up fresh ingredients to make a paste for a Burmese influenced traditional northern Thai dish called Khao Soi.

 Voila! My first time trying Khao Soi and I instantly fell in love with this regional dish.  Coconut milk, curry, and noodles...what more could I ask for? On the right is, of course, Pad Thai because no cooking class is complete without making this.

Voila! My first time trying Khao Soi and I instantly fell in love with this regional dish.  Coconut milk, curry, and noodles...what more could I ask for? On the right is, of course, Pad Thai because no cooking class is complete without making this.

 The  Smart Cook  school in Chiang Mai where we rode our bikes from the train station to the building.  You even get to hop in the garden to see the herbs being grown there. 

The Smart Cook school in Chiang Mai where we rode our bikes from the train station to the building.  You even get to hop in the garden to see the herbs being grown there. 

What looks like the exterior in the picture above of the cooking school is actually an open space where students can learn and pick up some important skills, technique, and knowledge about Thai cuisine.  When traveling in Thailand, you'll often find that cooks and their kitchens are outside.  Eating "street food" is quite popular and can be incredibly delicious! Most street vendors will dedicate their cart and craft towards making one dish or similar dishes that don't require larger spaces and more supplies than what they need.  No trip to Southeast Asia is complete without sitting on a colorful plastic stool, perched over a bowl of hot noodles all the while sweating in the heat and humidity the country has to offer.  So don't be afraid to rub elbows with the locals, share tables, and smirk because you've just had an amazing meal all less than a daytime matinee.

Posted
AuthorLinda I