Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand...what an interesting, unique and ridiculously delicious place!  Now, there are things I love about Chiang Mai and some that I found extremely disappointing if I'm being honest.  I tend to get very high expectations based on what other people say...one of the reasons I never go to the movies to see blockbusters that everyone is raving about, I'm always disappointed! I think the same thing happened with Chiang Mai...at first. Everyone I knew told me how amazing it was and kept describing it as a "town" with a medieval-like wall around it, amazing markets and lots of historical and beautiful temples.  Now, technically that is all true...but to me those words conjured up an image of a small town that I would ramble through at leisure as I wistfully fingered silk at the markets.  Enter the reality of Chiang Mai.  This "town" may be up North nestled in the hills of Thailand, but town it is not...it is a big, crazy bustling city!  Horns honking, tuk tuks two-wheeling around corners, air thick with smog and dirt and oh so many people!  Of course, it's not Bangkok...but you expect Bangkok out of Bangkok and this is not what I was expecting out of Chiang Mai.  Yes there is a wall around the city (which is beautiful...especially at sunset), more beautiful temples than you could ever imagine and even an amazing and huge Sunday market (the normal nightly market, not so interesting!) where you can wistfully finger fine silk scarves...there will just be a lot of noise and commotion around you as you enjoy all of these things.  But if you set your expectations correctly, as I did after a day of adjustment, Chiang Mai is a fantastic place.  Particularly because of the food! So onto the food we go!  
SG Video: Trying Crickets in Thailand
 

Here’s a fun video that I’ve been a bit slow uploading...me trying my first ever insect!  We tried thai-spiced crickets while in Chiang Mai, Thailand and here you get to watch my actual reaction as I take my first bite.  It was super hot and sweaty there and we had been walking around all day so while it’s not my best looking video it’s still pretty fun!

Link to the video here or with the rest of my videos on the videos tab of this site.

And of course, as always, I’ll caveat that until I get my own TV Show (anyone?  anyone?) my videos are definitely amateur but for me it’s really all about sharing the experience with you not creating a perfect video.  I hope you enjoy it!  
Thai Food & Photo Party!

Traditional Thai Condiments (along with fish sauce and palm sugar of course!)

 

Before vacation slipped too far from our memory, we decided to put our newfound Thai cooking skills to the test and throw a Thai party for our friends.  With of course, the “cost” to our friends of having to sit through a slideshow of 300 of our favorite pictures from Thailand and Cambodia...he he.  If I do say so myself though, we earned their viewership...the food we made was GOOD!
Phanang Curry

This is one of our favorite types of curry...the addition of peanuts to red curry paste makes it a bit more rich. As with most curries any meat works well with this, but we like chicken or pork...and this is a pretty spicy one, but feel free to dial it back.

The recipe is adapted from the one we received at Siam Rice Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Mangoes with Sticky Rice

  Oh, who doesn’t love mangoes with sticky rice? Christian was absolutely in heaven sitting on the beach eating this (almost every day when we could find it!) so we had to learn how to make it right. Traditionally the rice is just a bit sweet, but not overpoweringly sweet, but of course you can add more sugar/coconut milk to your liking.   The recipe is adapted from the one we received at Siam Rice Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Khao Soi – Northern Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

This might have been our favorite discovery in Thailand.  I had read about this soup, that was mostly found in Chiang Mai, before we even left the U.S. and I knew I had to try it.  I’m a sucker for regionally specific foods and I love me some noodles.  When we got to Chiang Mai a local friend we made at the hotel told us of a place around the corner where we had to go to get Khao Soi...funnily enough it was also in my guide book and the place that I had earmarked.  So my choice being corroborated by a local, we headed to Huen Phen for dinner, our bellies growling with excitement.

Unfortunately we missed the memo...Khao Soi is a lunch time dish only, so we were out of luck for dinner.  We ate there anyway and had a fabulous meal, but my mind was nervously churning.  We only had one day left in Chiang Mai and we were in a cooking class from 9am until 1:30pm and Huen Phen was only open for lunch until 3 everyday.  So our only chance was to force our already over-filled bellies coming from our cooking class to stretch a little bit more so we could try the famed Khao Soi from the best in the area.  Were we up for the challenge?  You bet!  And we’re we ever so glad that we didn’t give up our quest for Khao Soi...it is now one of our absolute favorite Thai foods and I think it will be yours too!
Traditional Pad Thai

So, I hate to disappoint you, but the orange gooey mass of noodles that we call Pad Thai here in the U.S. is not true Pad Thai. Shocking, right? We sampled Pad Thai in almost every Thai city we visited (for about $1 on the street and seriously some of the best food you’ve ever had) and found it to be pretty consistent across the country. It is much milder in flavor than what we get here...mostly due to the fact that they don’t really use as much Tamarind in it, which is what makes ours orange.



The recipe is adapted from the one we received at Siam Rice Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Som Tam – Spicy Thai Green Papaya Salad

This is a super spicy dish...very deceiving too because it’s a cold salad and looks so refreshing, it makes you think that it’s purpose is to cool down your palate from all of the other spicy dishes your eating. Not so...this is one of the spiciest of them all! Of course, you can dial back on the chilis to make it less spicy, but then it wouldn’t be authentic ;)   The recipe is adapted from the one we received at Siam Rice Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
Oh, I’m down for the count...sick with a cold and not moving from the couch.  So, my sweetheart of a husband cooked up one of our favorite soups, a nice Thai twist on Mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup...just what the doctor ordered!  The recipe below makes about 4 servings...but we always double it since it’s so yummy.  Quick & easy for weeknights too...and only one pot, so quick clean up.
Thai Red Curry with Kabocha Squash & Shrimp
This is a recipe I stumbled upon because I had a Kabocha squash lying around the house from a recent farmers’ market trip...so I turned to the trusty google and found this FABULOUS and EASY recipe on Epicurean.com.  My husband loves Thai food and he thought that this was restaurant quality...we’ll definitely be making this one again, yum! http://www.epicurean.com/featured/thai-red-curry-with-kabocha-squash.html