I’m back in Thailand!!!! Thailand is a VERY special place for me, and one that I have spent a lot of time in the past. It seems to keep calling me back and back…I feel very connected here to many things: the food, the people, the spirituality, the lifestyle, the tropical weather, and more.
I first traveled to Thailand a few times during my year studying abroad in Australia in college, and it was the first place I went on my around the world trip. It was a hub I would come to to connect between traveling in China, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Indonesia, Malayasia, the Philippines, Japan and many other places. I came back one year with my parents and other time with friends. I have spent in total a few months in the islands, and also in the north, and passed through Bangkok at least for a night or a week several dozens of times!
Bangkok feels as familiar to me as New York, and in some ways I am even more comfortable here!
But let’s get going with the journey now already :)…
I’m here doing a cooking intensive for 2 weeks, mostly with a private teacher. The Thai markets are extremely interesting! We cooked one day with this water vegetable, where the white part has the consistency of wet paper towel or styrofoam. You peel it off before you eat it, and it is a little like watercress. Love finding new veggies!
One day, as I was wandering the streets of Bangkok, as I do daily when I get done with cooking, I happened upon this huge parade. I still have no idea what it was for, but it sure was fabulous… and colorful!
Cutting the limes Thai-style. They estimate the bigger piece is about 1 tsp squeezed and the smaller ones are about 1/2 tsp.
So you don’t need measuring tools for the limes.
(And yes I know, I need a manicure very badly! )
Som Tom, one of my favorite salads we made here! Without fish sauce of course, and I omit the sugar from mine as well, which is also commonly used.
Ah, the Grand Palace. I’ve been many times, but it is still spectacular to see!
Buddhas everywhere! An estimated 95% of the Thai population is Buddhist, and you can feel the energy everywhere, even in a crowded city like Bangkok. The people are smiley, kind and compassionate, there are Buddhas and temples all throughout the country- both large ones and smaller ones in front of individual homes and shops. I love it!
More Buddhas, from the Grand Palace and also Wat Po.
I love to do the Buddhist ceremony as a monk showed me again on this trip, where you bless the water and pour it over the shoulders of Buddha, saying blessings for your family and world peace.
So one of the biggest differences about the way I’m cooking now is I’m using a mortar and pestle SO much! To make the chili pastes from scratch, etc. They don’t traditionally use blenders or food processors. I love that it’s the traditional way of cooking that they have been doing for hundred of years.
I love it and will definitely be mortar and pestle-ing a lot at home :).
More Thai markets!
Mothers take their children everywhere with them here, wherever they work.
I just love talking to the people here. This sprite woman (84 years young!) and her friend were teaching me about Buddhism one day; I met them on the street.
Through a little shop I met in the street, I met this amazing tailor, who custom made me a few dresses, modeled after a favorite one I wear a lot.
We did the fittings in her tiny little work area, which was found through a set of winding alleyways. It was packed with her sewing stuff, bikes, boxes, and her family! This pic is taken at the front door, and I wedged in behind that card table at the back to try things on!
One thing that has changed is the price of coconuts! They used to be only 10 Baht, but now they are 30 Baht, which is $1. Still, in the heat (April is the hottest month of the year)- it is nearly 100 degrees every day- I am drinking at least 3 a day to stay hydrated and to help keep my energy up.
I love all the fresh herbs and flavors-here is lots of chopped kaffir lime leaves.
Learning some basics first in my cooking class- and filling up my journal with notes!
Thai food essentials: galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chilies.
Beautiful murals and stupa at the Grand Palace!
Monks of all sizes. I enjoy talking to them very much.
Mediation bowls. You get a little bowl like this of coins and walk along, dropping one into each bowl. You can say mantras or prayers as you go along.
Plant art and fruit carving are everywhere for display! I saw this at a weekend market/festival I happened to come upon.
Rambutan (left) and mangosteen (right), both of which I have been indulging in a LOT.
The green beans sure are long here!
Besides the mortar and pestle, I’ve been making everything else in the wok.
After many, many visits, still in awe of the huge Reclining Buddha!
Here’s another view of the Reclining Buddha, so you can sort of see how big it is.
Please look out for our YouTube travel video we’ll be posting in a few days, so you can come along for the video journey!
Hope you enjoyed this quick trip to Thailand. Stay tuned, as I will be posting lots more, and also recipes and ideas inspired from my cooking classes here.
Let me know any questions you have about Thailand! Enjoy your day and take care.