So today consisted of: class, really cool market, more class, and a brief walk around Chiang Mai university campus in the evening. In class we covered how to order food and what different types of food are called to prepare us for the market we were going to visit later. The whole market complex is called the Gad Luang market which is composed of two smaller markets: the Ton Lamyai Market (as shown in the left picture) and the Warorot market. The market, however, sold much more than food. You could find any of the following (amongst other items I’m sure): flowers, raw meats, vegetables, fruit, dry goods, items used in Buddhist ceremonies, toys, souvenirs, kitchen items, fabrics, beauty products, sausages, candy, cheap clothes, handbags..I think you get the gist. Around every corner there was something new (and sometimes something you really would have rather not seen). Dried fish was definitely a hot commodity at the market, I was quite surprised that there was so much at the market. My purchases consisted of a bag of Durian flavored candy (which I plan on tricking people at home into eating) and a miniature sewing machine that makes clean seams super easy.
Later this evening a few of us out of the group made our way to visit Chiang Mai University’s campus area and see how it’s ambiance compared to that of Madison during the summer. In doing so we came across what was probably our favorite market yet. It spanned about 2 city blocks, so it was pretty small, but the fact that it was small did not limit the variety of food that was present; we found some of the best street food yet! (quick tip on the street food: do not eat street sushi..our Farang stomachs aren’t quite ready for that). A few new foods we tried consisted of fried banana, fried salmon balls, and a banana egg Thai-style omelet (roti).
Tonight is earlier than most for our group considering we have an earlier start tomorrow morning. The ISDSI bus is coming to pick us up an hour earlier so that we can seek out certain foods from the market, after which we will taught how to prepare a Thai meal with the ingredients we bought.
The market was great! We were split up into 3 different groups and each group was assigned a certain part of the meal to make. The meal consisted of Pad Thai, Papaya Salad, Dragonfruit and Mango, and dtom kaa chicken (right: sliced dragon fruit and mango, left: finished Pad Thai)
To start, however, we were responsible for gathering the ingredients for the meals, which would have been easier if the list was in English. Luckily our group happened to encounter a Thai woman who teaches Thai cooking in San Diego. She (the Thai woman the farthest on the left in the picture on the right) took on our list and gathered our ingredients for us! Also, she was a perfect example of the general group consensus that Thai people are abnormally kind.
We had three Ajaans teaching us the ropes on preparing Thai meals. Our Ajaan taught the 5 of us how to prepare papaya salad.
How to make papaya salad:
Ingredients (to serve 20+ people)
3 large green papayas (shredded), 2 large carrots (shredded)
10 long green beans (broken into inch long segments)
1 cup dried shrimp
Fish sauce (4 spoons), tamarind pulp (one cup), 3 spoons of sugar, 2 gloves of minced garlic and 2 cups of water. Heat this over an open flame until boiling.
8 cloves of garlic
20 cherry tomatoes (halved)
12 green Thai chile with seeds
1 cup brown sugar
So all of the ingredients above are fairly relative in terms of proportion. Basically you add based off preference (as is for most recipes). The carrots and the papayas are peeled and shredded before-hand and the tamarind sauce is prepared ahead of time as well. The dish was made in steps because the bowl
that we mashed the ingredients in could only hold so much papaya and carrot. To start you add a few garlic cloves and tamarind sauce to the bowl and mash it together. Then you add a large handful of shredded papaya, a smaller one of shredded carrot and three Thai green chiles (or however many you want; add to taste, remember) and the juice of one lime and continue to mash in the bowl. This is repeated as many times as you have sufficient ingredients for. At the end you mix each batch together, add the roasted peanuts, sliced cherry tomatoes and dried shrimp together and you serve it. I really enjoyed the final result, it was the perfect mix of sour, salty and sweet and you don’t feel bad eating it either (well our mouths felt pretty bad, it was really spicy).
The Pad thai group did most of their cooking on a small out-door wok (right 3 pictures below). The dtom gaa chicken group was the only group with meat so a large portion of their work went into preparing the meat and spicing the broth (left-most picture below).