We like great food here at Niteo Tours. Which is why you’ll find the occasional recipe for things like savory flan or lemony cookies sprinkled throughout our blogs. Including great food in every tour is a top priority. So is seeing where the food comes from—an olive grove, a truffle farm, a vineyard—or rolling up your sleeves and playing chef for day.
A group of us drove outside Chiang Mai to a family-run herb farm that covers five to six acres. The owner is passionate about using herbs for good health and for extraordinary cooking. People from around the region come to buy herbs and the products she creates with them. She also invites people to her farm to play chef for a day. Today was our day.
“Aunt” Mary was her sidekick. A cross between Aunt Bee and Paula Dean, this friendly woman has taught cooking in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Indonesia. She was boisterous, entertaining, extroverted and everything we’d been told a Thai person was not.
“If you’re going to cook,” she said, “you’ve got to have fun. If you do, your food will taste good.”
And so the fun began. She handed out mortar and pestles
And we pounded away at a blend of lemongrass, shallots, bird peppers, and other herbs and spices, turning it into a creamy green curry paste.
Then we thinly sliced pork tenderloin. Or maybe I should say we tried to slice it thinly. Easier said than done.
And the whole time Aunt Mary was ordering us around, in a friendly sort of way, that is.
After slicing the pork, we scooped the curry paste out of the mortar into a saucepan with coconut milk.
They simmered together and then we added the pork and a few other veggies until they were cooked. After throwing in a little palm sugar and fish sauce, the green curry with pork was done.
Result? Deliciousness. Not too bad if I do say so myself.
That was just one of the four dishes we made. Playing chef for day and learning to make something authentically Thai was fun. Doing it with friends made it even better. And getting the chance to interact with Aunt Mary was priceless. Fun, food and friends–the heart of a great tour.
Have you played chef for a day overseas?
What did you make and what did you think of the experience?