One of the things I do while I’m traipsing around the world is attend cooking school. I like to cook, but I don’t like buying little knick knacks/souvenirs. So I figured that cooking school was a souvenir of knowledge that I could take home and share with lots of people. It also means that I learn about food and culture, whilst providing an opportunity to relive my adventures through smell.
It’s a cold Sunday afternoon here at home and I need to start thinking about the week ahead. The work that needs to be done, the study, the gym sessions, the after work functions, the planning… But for now, it’s time to relax. I’ve just spent most of the afternoon with a friend and now I feel like letting my mind wander back to some of my trips.
When I was in Hoi An, Vietnam falling in love with the quaint seaside architecture and pace of a small town, I met a woman from England. We clicked instantly and she ended up coming with me to cooking school the next day. We looked ridiculous in our Vietnam hats that ward off the sun as we made our way through the local market, dodging the wayward sea creatures in their final attempt for freedom. We gossiped endlessly as we cooked a 4 course meal. It was a fabulous way to spend a day, and I want to send my mind back there.
As soon as I start chopping the ingredients for this Amok, I can smell Siem Reap. The smell of life abroad is one that I easily forget about when I’m home because there is nothing in New Zealand that smells remotely like it. I was the only person in the cooking class and I got to know the instructor pretty well. We went through the market and learned about the 11 types of eggplant, most of which look nothing like eggplant. I think they just like the word. I remember the lemongrass martini, and the serene surroundings. Sitting in a tuk tuk on a back street with a driver who came up to me on Pub Street and held his umbrella over me, asking if I was okay. He told me of his heartache of his recent breakup and we taught each other words while getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. It was on this trip that I saw a live Muay Thai fight. Making bets with an English guy, watching someone get kicked in the face.
I wonder what cooking school will be like in Manila. I wonder if there is a reasonably priced one in Kuwait or Dubai. I need to do some research.