Ambience and flavor at Huen Phen in Chiang Mai, Thailand

The restaurant is quite unassuming from the quiet street, but Huen Phen becomes more interesting with each step you take. Although the outside tables are bustling during the day, they are deserted at night as dinner takes place inside the restaurant.

Huen Phen in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Huen Phen - Chiang Mai, Thailand

As you enter you realize that this place is unique. They have both tables and traditional seating. Continue reading

Happy Home Cooking School – Pattaya, Thailand (day 1, part 1)

Watching the clock tick. Sleeping, eating, then napping. Not a great way to waste time on a vacation, but I had the vacation doldrums. I was waiting for my wife to catch up to me and was bored. What to do? What to do?

Well, I’ve taken cooking classes in Thailand before, once at the well known Baipai cooking school in Bangkok, and a few times at the Marriott in Pattaya. Each time was different and quite fun. I searched the internet and a couple cooking schools came up for Pattaya. One seemed to rank higher. Looking at the website, it seemed a bit more down to earth and, I hoped willing to teach authentic flavors and heat levels, as I eschew “dumbed down” tourist food. There’s a tendency for the Thai to take it easy on foreigners especially with regard to strong flavors like Pla Ra and the level of spiciness, and I would be the first to agree that it is for good reason. Not everyone can take it, and many novices may not like it. Having decided to take a chance on the school, I sent off an e-mail and booked two days, both of their intermediate classes. The cooking of Lanna and the cooking of Issan foods.

I spent a couple very rewarding days there and this is my story. Following Soi Boukow from my hotel and crossing Central Pattaya Road led me to the quaint cooking school. Formerly a bar, now converted to cooking use, thinking about it, I can’t think of a better use for the location. Continue reading

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