Revisit to Mae Sa Valley Thailand

IMG_0044I am sorting through thousands of old photos but it is time to throw most of them away to reduce enormous amounts of storage creating far too much clutter, and what time it takes as you get bogged down looking through them all. The memories return but I have to be ruthless, they will only deteriorate in storage. The photos are a bit hazy, they weren’t that fabulous in the original. IMG_0041

At the time we visited Mae Sa Valley Craft Village it was owned by a woman in Thailand whose name I can only recall as Chinda.  We were both members of the same international organisation of women entrepreneurs. Chinda if I recall correctly was the head of a bank in Bangkok, much more illustrious than my role in Australia at the time as former contemporary art gallery owner and freelance writer.

The little resort was quite rustic in its accommodation but it offered a range of activities and I opted for the cooking class and the paper making.

It turned out Chinda’s nephew is Vatcharin Bhumichitr and was quite famous back in the 90’s having run a Thai restaurant in London, published cookbooks and had designed the cookery school and course at Mae Sa Craft Village.

English: Vatcharin Bhumichitr, the author of d...

English: Vatcharin Bhumichitr, the author of dozens of books on Thai cuisine, in the kitchen of his house in Mae On, near Chiang Mai. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not sure if he is still involved or if Chinda still owns the village.  I found his picture on Wikipedia and the craft village seems to still be operating but I could not find a website for them however plenty of people have left comments on Trip Advisor recording their visits.

IMG_0042Paper making was quite therapeutic.

IMG_0045The finished product drying. I still have the sheets of paper sitting in a handmade paper tube.

IMG_0038The cooking school is housed in an outdoor kitchen.IMG_0046

I like the design of the circular benches.IMG_0039

Chinda came in to see what we were making. It was a private lesson for me and plenty of helpers to do the prep.IMG_0040

I am making a Chiang Mai sausage here.  I remember after this experience going to the butcher at West End and asking Adrian who was the butcher at the time to let me make sausages with the aid of a commercial machine. I also made the Chiang Mai sausages again a few years back at Steve’s organic butchery the Meat-ing Place in Paddington. He was going to trial them to sell but this type of sausage is best made by hand in small batches.

At the school we simply used the cut off top of a plastic drink bottle as a funnel and stuffed the meat in by hand. They are not hard to make and here is a print friendly copy of  Spicy Thai Sausage

There is one other dish I learned here that I make regularly – its short name is Ong – a pork and chilli sauce or dip and I whip it up just as quickly as you might make an omelette. I make it very spicy so I serve it with steamed Jasmine rice. We never eat savoury minced meat like our parents used to make, dreadfully bland compared to Ong.

Here is the recipe for my quick favourite pork dish Ong – Pork and Chilli Sauce

In the market I was confounded by this packet of soup mix – it comprised dried ingredients as a base for Tom Yum but I was not convinced about adding lemonade.

Recipe Thai soupThe memories are kept alive in the food we cooked and ate on our travels and in the friendships made. After our stay at Mae Sa Valley village we were collected by a driver and guide for further travels north to Laos and in the car were two people from Switzerland who have become life long friends.  We meet regularly around the world and this year we meet again in Belgium.


  1. #1 by Paule Caillat on April 11, 2013 - 9:26 am


    about saving or discarding old photos, glad you saved these. Exactly the kind of experience I would want to have in Thailand and elsewhere.

    Merci and see you soon here


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