However, only part of that is true. I did exhaust myself with an active and full day of cooking. But when my alarm went off in the morning, I couldn't move. I was unbelievably sore. Turns out my overnight trek was haunting me. And somehow--after at least 3 showers--I still felt like I had dirt all over me.
After lying in bed for several minutes wondering how I would ever get out of bed and get dressed to go, I swung my legs over the side of the bed and put mind over matter.
Our class was so small that more times than not, I found myself sitting alone as the others cleaned their stations, went to the restroom, or got coffee. It was so drastically different from my previous two classes. But that did not slow down Chef Pon one minute. He was on: performing as usual . . . So much fun to watch!
Our menu for the day consisted of Yellow Curry With Chicken (Gaeng Garee Gai), Steamed Fish in Banana Leaves (Hor Neung Plaa), Chicken With Cashew Nuts (Gai Phad Med Mamuang), Fried Big Noodles With Sweet Soy Sauce (Phad Siewe), Spicy Prawn Salad North-Eastern Style (Plaah Goong), and Bananas in Coconut Milk (Kluay Buad Chee).
The Gai Phad Med Mamuang was my favorite! I loved that the vegetables were cut in big chunks and the flavor was completely altered and heightened by adding the cashews. Chicken and cashews for life!
The Phad Siewe, pictured below, was also quite good. It had the same noodles in it that we fried up on cooking day number 2.
My favorite dish to prepare was the Hor Neung Plaa. We were steaming fish in banana leaves, so we got to wrap it up like a little present. It was so much fun to put together! The flavor was good, different: saltier than I had expected.
Look at me folding up fish in banana leaves like a boss . . .
Since I had arrived in Chiang Mai 8 days earlier, I had been feeling like it was sort of an Austin-y/Nashville Asian city. There was just something about it that reminded me of my two favorite cities in the States. It was friendly, filled with coffee shops and bars, easy to navigate, there were people on bikes and scooters everywhere, and the style was relaxed. I felt very comfortable there.
Then--as I was waiting to board my plane--I came across the above image in a magazine. Um, my description was spot on! How much more Austin-y and Nashville could it be??! Ha!
I can't wait to go back in December. I have a feeling Chiang Mai and I are going to become very good friends.