Catchup Chronicles #6: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Of course, eating off the streets in Thailand is a requisite task. Here is a great papaya salad made from scratch by a street vendor with chili, fish sauce, unripe papaya, dried shrimp, limes, string beans, peanuts, and these (optional) little pickled crabs, still in their shells and carrying quite a salty gooey punch (check out those little dark crab legs in the photo). All of this is thrown into a mortar so that the flavors can blend together with the help of a giant pestle.
But what's more interesting about Chiang Mai is the huge number of cooking schools in the city. We found a really cool one where the lady basically takes you to the local market to buy supplies, and then takes you to her house where you cook at your own station in the backyard. It's a "mom & pop shop" in the true sense of the word. We took a short half-day all-time favorites course (four day classes are available too), which included tom yum soup, green curry, pad thai, and mango sticky rice.
On that note, the market was of course full of fresh veggies and those notorious mouse dropping chilis. I picked up some northern Thai sausages from the market too (a bit too many spices in my opinion, but still good). But I didn't quite get around to trying what I think were dried maggots (!). Anyway, definitely do a cooking school next time you're in Chiang Mai. It's a lot of fun, very cultural, and best of all - you get to eat the food after you're done cooking. :)