Oh glorious Thai food! This post is a special one focusing on the fantastic cuisine in Thailand – I have been eating curry after curry and soup after soup since I arrived in the country. It has been heaven (for the most part).
Since Jil’s arrival, we have been taking it to a new level, trying some of the top restaurants and even taking a cooking class! Yesterday, we had dinner on the beach at Same Same but Different. This came highly recommended by a close friend who has fantastic taste – I knew we were in for a treat. We started with the Tod Mun Pla – fried fish cakes with spicy plum sauce. Jil decided to have the Pad Ped Pla Tod Krob (fried curry paste with crispy fish fillet and coconut milk) with steamed rice while I chose the Cho Chi (steamed fish fillet with yellow coconut curry). I loved my dinner so so much, we may have to go back for another dinner before we leave Lanta.
After watching the sunset and devouring our delicious dinner, we went to pick up our laundry (8lbs of laundry washed, dried, folded for less than £3/$5). We stopped at a little beauty salon where I got a manicure and had some waxing done – Jil decided to get a foot, back and neck massage while I was getting my wax on – we left after an hour and a half, having only spent $20 in total! Amazing. We went home happy, full and relaxed – so we took a selfie!
We spent this morning at the beach where we had a sweet snack before our cooking class. While Jil decided to try the fried ice cream, I stuck with a classic: sticky rice and mango.
We also had time for a quick game of darts, which, hate to toot my own horn but, I won.
We then got ready for our cooking class. I had read about Time for Lime cooking school prior to arriving in Ko Lanta and called to book our spots on arrival. The school (restaurant and bar and bungalows too) is highly rated on Trip Advisor but my favorite aspect is that all proceeds go towards the Lanta Animal Welfare organisation that takes care of stray animals on the island. Jil didn’t want to do the whole cooking class (he mainly wanted to eat) so I took the course and he was the “lazy partner” – their words, not mine! Luckily, they are located right on the beach and have an excellent list of happy hour cocktails… So he had a great time.
We started with an introduction to Thai cooking, flavours and ingredients. Mai, our fantastic chef, taught us which direction to cut each type of ingredient as well as the things we shouldn’t be eating in Thai food (for example, kaffir leaves in soups!). We then started by making Mieng Khan (“Thailand in one bite”). This is made by making small baskets of wild pepper leaves and filling them with Thai red onions, lime bits with the skin, peanuts, diced ginger, dried shrimp, roasted coconut flakes and birds eye chilies (spicy!!) – you top it all off with a small spoon of honey! We then turned to making a Thai red curry paste – this takes tons of time and lots of arm strength with a mortar and pestle (not sure I will be able to reproduce this at home)! Mais demonstrated her mad chopping skills and taught us how to “kill it” when chopping garlic and chillies (by yelling kill it while slamming down her giant cleaver – awesome). Luckily we all took turns working all of the ingredients into a paste but we didn’t get to taste the curry because we had lots of other stuff to make! Even though curry wasn’t on the menu this evening, I was glad they showed us how to make the curry paste by hand (with a food processor being a close second to the mortar/pestle method….luckily!).
Next up was the Pad Thai preparation: this mainly involved a bit of chopping and organizing in anticipation of being able to throw it all into the wok with the noodles right before serving. We then turned to Som Tam, a spicy unripe papaya salad. While this sounds somewhat unappetizing, it is similar to a spicy coleslaw without any sort of cream base. Instead of a creamy sauce, Som Tam has a fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar base. Once we finished preparing the Som Tam, we decorated the plates and then turned to cooking the Pad Thai noodles with shrimp. We plated the Pad Thai and the Som Tam and finally got to taste our creations! Amazing and definitely a hit with my lazy partner!!
After a well-deserved break to taste our glorious food, we got back into the kitchen to prepare Pla Som Rot (3 flavour sauce with fish fillet and deep fried sweet Thai basil) and Pad Pek Boong Fai Daeng (stir-fried morning glory – water spinach). The 3-flavour sauce was surprisingly easy by combining chopped coriander roots, garlic, pickled garlic, pickled garlic juice, birds eye chilies, tamarind sauce, Palm sugar, soy sauce and sriracha. The sauce, in my opinion, was the hit of the evening – it was salty, sweet and spicy all in one! As you can see from the pictures, the stir-fried morning glories were quite fiery! It was similar to wilted spinach but we used garlic and chilies to season the morning glories before frying up. Also, the topping on the fish, besides the amazing sauce, is fried sweet Thai basil leaves. You flash fry them and they come out translucent and crunchy! So delicious!
We finished off the evening with fried banana in coconut milk (which we didn’t prepare) and it was a sweet ending to a spicy and flavourful class and dinner! If you are ever in Ko Lanta, take a class with Mai at Time for Lime – you will not regret it!