We set the alarm for an early morning wake-up as we are being collected from the hotel at 8:20 to attend cookery class. We have booked with an organisation called ‘Baipai Cookery School’ http://www.baipai.com/About.html, and are picked up in a mini bus. There are nine in our group and on the way to the school we stop off at the fabulous Or Tor Kor covered market, selling a huge array of food – meat, fish, fruit, veg, dried goods and some fabrics and pottery also. Everything is beautifully displayed.
We are greeted on arrival at the market by our course leader who is obviously very well known to the stall holders. We have a guided tour of the various produce with explanations and tastings along the way. It is a very impressive market, spotlessly clean and everything clearly marked with prices. There are many unusual looking fruits and vegetables that we’ve never seen before.
We then proceed to the school, which is set in the most beautiful gardens and is run in a most professional manner.
We are kitted out with aprons and recipe cards for our menu of:
* Golden bags (minced pork with herbs and spices wrapped in spring roll sheets and tied with shredded chives)
* Spicy grilled beef (fillet beef marinaded and served with spicy salad and dressing)
* Pad Thai (stir fried rice noodles with special sauce, fried egg and prawns)
Our diverse group is made up of a delightful mother and daughter from Pakistan, an Australian couple and their teenage daughter and a honeymooning couple from New Zealand.
The two women instructing our group are a great team, very amusing and helpful. There are several other helpers constantly clearing away and cleaning up. We eat each course as it is finished and it is all thoroughly delicious.
The whole experience of the market visit and the cookery course was fabulous – set in a haven of peace and beauty with faultless organisation. It was also nice to be away from the hustle and bustle of the Bangkok streets for a while. All in all an excursion I would highly recommend without hesitation.
We are returned at the hotel around 15:00 and Ella goes up to the roof pool terrace while I stay in the room to write these notes and cool down with the freezing A/C.
As we have eaten pad Thai for every meal since arriving we decide to find a restaurant tonight and after a bit of google research discover that there is a recommended restaurant in our street that we have never noticed. The hotel receptionist points us in the right direction and we walk through the absolute mayhem of food sellers, bar touts, wandering vendors, shops and bars lining both sides of the street, travellers of all nationalities and the occasional motor bike weaving it’s way through the chaos.
We finally see a sign for the restaurant down an alley between a couple of shops and we suddenly enter another haven of peace and loveliness, and the noise and craziness of the street totally disappears, The restaurant is in an open courtyard with water features and amazingly is not very busy. A group of Thai dancers in colourful costumes is entertaining the diners when we arrive, but unfortunately we have missed most of the show and they are gone by the time we are settled at our table.
We order from a huge menu and have our first meal that doesn’t consist mainly of noodles. We choose soup and chicken wings for starters, and for mains chicken with cashew nuts and prawn and asparagus with a small portion of rice. As often happens in Spain, we receive the mains about ten minutes before the starters! We have two drinks each and the bill comes to approximately £24, as opposed to £2 that we have been paying for street food, but we both feel it was good value and we will probably make a return visit.
We wander back to the hotel by midnight and Ella catches up on the episode of Gavin and Stacey that she fell asleep half way through last night.