See those crisp, delicious "golden bags?" I whipped them up myself at the BaiPai Thai Cooking School just this morning.
With the help of a chef and a smiling team of assistants, Clyde and I mixed up our minced pork with assorted spices, folded the result into egg roll wraps, tied off the tops with lemon grass, and fried up a plate of crispy, spicy goodness in no time flat.
Meantime, I also learned why my attempts at larb gai and pad thai don't taste very authentic: I've been using the right ingredients, but putting them in the pot at the wrong times. (Okay, okay -- I've also been skimping on ingredients, like using sugar instead of both raw sugar and palm sugar in my pad thai.) Next time you come for a Thai dinner, expect a marked improvement.
This was our second trip to Baipai, and I'm pleased to report that, if anything, the program has gotten even friendlier and more engaging. The expanded facility feels like a Chiang Mai resort, complete with tranquil fountains, reflecting ponds, and well-manicured gardens. And the addition of a market trip to certain courses is a very nice touch. (Now, when we go to Super H Mart in Atlanta, we'll know what all those odd Asian fruits and vegetables are.)
If you're in Bangkok, Baipai Thai Cooking School is a very pleasant way to spend a morning or afternoon, making good food in good company. Now ... if only my own kitchen came with an army of smiling assistants who prepped all the portions and cleaned up my messes for me!