Between doing Lonely Planet’s self walking tour of the temples of Chiang Mai’s Old City and going to a Muay Thai Boxing Fight in the evening, I tested my hand at a Thai cooking class. Taking a cooking class when coming to a new place not only teaches a good skill, but also is an introduction to new people, and after class, I made a plan to meet up with two friends the next day.
When making the various dishes and especially the green curry, the teachers would ask what level of spicy we desired. There are two different spicy scales, foreigner spicy and Thai spicy, and unfortunately, the locals seems to have some difficulty converting back and forth. The scale conversion is not quite as well defined as Celsius-Fahrenheit or the English-Metric. I indicated that I wanted foreigner spicy or Thai medium spicy, and although I was making my own curry, judging the spiciness level is not an easy task. In the end, my green curry had some real kick and I ended my meal very hydrated as the cool water provided some relief from the hot food.
At Baan Thai Cookery School, which I would recommend to anyone traveling to Chiang Mai, I chose to prepare gaeng keau waan kai (green curry with chicken), kai pad med ma-maung (fried cashew nut with chicken), pho pea thod (spring rolls), and kao neeaw ma muang (mango with sticky rice). And after a tour of the local market, I sort of learned how to prepare those dishes. Having someone look over my shoulder, add a little extra of this, and throw in a pinch of that into my wok definitely improved the final outcome.
P.S. While writing this entry and drinking my fruit shake in a small restaurant, I heard a group discussing which cooking class to take, and I highly recommended the Baan Thai School and made a friend in the process.