Last month, my parents planned a surprise visit to Chiang Mai! It was quite last minute, but they hopped on a plane mid-March and were here for almost a full week. Planning for my parents was easy: the laid-back fun stuff, only. Per the recommendation of my roommate, Katie, I booked a day cooking class through Thai Orchid Cookery School.
The class is run by Aey and her husband, who live in the old city in Thailand. You basically cook in the courtyard of their home! It's a cute setup, and each person has their own work station. Aey has a large selection of dishes to choose from, and you get to pick one from each category: spring rolls, soup, curry, stir-fry, dessert. I chose fried spring rolls, tom kha gai, panang curry, cashew chicken, and a banana cake.
After the first two courses are explained, prepared and enjoyed, Aey took us to a nearby market (which happens to be one of my favorite markets in the city. It's so colorful and organized!), where she explained all of the fruits that are different from what we Americans are used to. Our class that day consisted of entirely Americans, and we had a blast joking and enjoying each other's company while we cooked and tried new dishes.
Aey walked us through each dish regardless of what we chose, so we were able to see everything made the correct way. It was always pretty fun to walk back out to our work stations are see that our places had miraculously cleaned themselves and all of the ingredients for our next dish had appeared magically. If only all cooking happened this way.
While waiting on our desserts, we sampled some Thai fruits together: pomelo, a rose apple, and durian. If you don't know much about durian, here are the facts: it smells pretty bad, so hotels don't let people bring it inside. It's the most expensive fruit in Thailand. It's creamy (yes you read that correctly), and I probably won't ever eat it of my own accord again.
I didn't really tell my parents we were doing this until after they'd already arrived. They were both a little skeptical, but ended up enjoying themselves more than they thought. This is quite literally one of the most fun things I've done while living here, and it was such a blast to be able to share it with my family. If you live in Apex, NC, look out for my mom's new Thai restaurant.