Feb 26, 2020
Thai Food Cooking at ISaan Workshop
(5 stars out of 5)
Good Stuff: pleasant market trip on chartered tuk-tuk, compli-water, good English with chef-teacher, clean and comfortable environment, to-go recipe book
Location : I AM Champ Cafe, Udon Thani, Thailand
Facebook: ISaan Workshop
I AM Champ Cafe
Stumbling-upon a fashionable cafe in Udon Thani, the I AM Champ Cafe, I met the charming owner, Chr, who invited me to partake in her forthcoming cooking class through ISaan Workshop. My last cooking class was still in Chiang Mai in Apr 2019. Now I get the chance to roll-up my sleeve again and try Udon Thani's culinary specialty!
Meeting the Gang
From my hostel at Oldie and Sleepy, I, Nim (reception OJT) and Yo (another hotel guest) took the walk to I AM Champ Cafe where we were greeted by the lovely Chr and her friendly staff. We were introduced to Nat who would be our cooking teacher. From there, we boarded a tuk-tuk that took us to Phosri Market to buy fresh produce for our cooking class.
Phosri Market was a clean fresh market that remained open late in the morning. It was spacious with all the vendors displaying their products. Nat was giving us guidelines on what to buy, how to say it in Thai, and just overall useful market tips. We purchased coriander, powdered raw sticky rice, lemongrass, galangal, shallots and most interesting of all, ant eggs. The same tuk-tuk brought us all back to the cafe.
Thai Northeaster Dishes
Larb Moo was the first thing we cooked - a minced pork salad made with ground pork, lime juice, shallots, roasted/ground raw sticky rice, fish sauce and cilantro. Next was Tom Zabb, a spicy-sour soup made with lemongrass similar to Tom Yum soup. This is where we used the ant eggs. Last, we prepared the refreshing orange-colored Thai Tea.
Lunch is Served!
Having done all the preparation and cooking, we sat down, enjoyed our meal and traded stories.
It was a lovely cooking/dining experience where the food was simply gorgeous. But I could not single-handedly give credit to just the food. Everything and everyone surrounding the event contributed in large measure - the ambiance of I AM Champ Cafe, the friendly staff, Nat's clear explanations, and last but not least, there was our gracious host, Chr, who made it all happen.
Thank you Chr and Nat and everyone else for that memorable experience.
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
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Next stop: Low Season (2020)
Udon Thani Travel Information / Tips
Phitsanulok to Udon Thani by bus
You can either go to the Bus Terminal 1 or 2 in Phitsanulok for a bus bound for Udon Thani. There are more trips from Terminal 2. But I ended up in Terminal 1 (window 34) where you only have 2 daily trips: 9:30 am and 10:30pm. B293, 6 hours. From Terminal 1 Phitsanulok, you will be taken to Bus Station 2 (and it will not go to Bus Station 1 which is further east) in Udon Thani. You may have to take a tuk-tuk if your hotel is near Station 1. Tuk-tuk/motorcycles inside the bus station will over-charge you from B100-B150. Just wait for the city bus that goes inside Station 2 - only B20. Inside the bus, you'll see a map with the bus' red-line route. Use this as your guide where to get off.
Udon Thani Attractions
- Night Market -
- Nong Prajak Public Park -
- Phu Prabhat Historical Park -
- Ban Chiang Museum -
- Wat Phothisomphon -
- Thai-Chinese Cultural Center -
Udon Thani Blogs by TheLoneRider
- Isaan Food in Udan Thani, Thailand Mar 5, 2020
- Low Season (2020) Feb 29, 2020
- Thai Food Cooking at ISaan Workshop Feb 26, 2020
- Movie Review: Parasite Feb 25, 2020
- Abundance in Udon Thani, Thailand Feb 25, 2020
Travel Tips for Thailand
How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days
This process is BEFORE Covid 19. Not sure what it is now.
- Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
b) flight booking to Thailand
c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
d) filled-in tourist visa form
e) 2 passport pictures
f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
g) passport with at least 6 months validity
- After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
- NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.
60-Day Thai Tourist Visa
NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.
- bring the following to the Immigration Office:
a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
b) Baht 1900
c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
- submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
- when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
- when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
- when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.
Book Train Tickets in Thailand
Book Train Tickets in Thailand Online by Train36.com
General Travel Tips
- arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
- put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the journey...you just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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