Mama Mai showing off her expert cooking skills
If you know us, then you know that we're usually the first to hop on a plane and head for a new adventure, but the last to step foot in the kitchen. Our senior year consisted of frozen pizzas/microwave meals, and traveling constantly means food on the go or skipping meals altogether. So when Mai's mom asked if we wanted to try a Thai cooking class at their family restaurant, we decided to take a chance on a totally new kind of adventure.
With a glass of Prosecco in hand, we strapped on our aprons and prepared to cook. While we didn't quite become master chefs, we had a lot of laughs and pretended like we knew what was going on-since the class was taught in German. Luckily, we missed all the chopping and prep, so we didn't have to use any big knives and risk injury (to ourselves or other people). Watching Mai's mom toss around ingredients-including their homemade and very spicy chili paste- and explain all the steps that went into each dish was fascinating; soon we were stirring pans full of meat, vegetables and curry.
The best part was definitely getting to try all the dishes we made. We started with a soup, moved on to Thai curry with meat and rice, and finished with a coconut milk rice dessert (Milchreis) which was AMAZING. It's this special sweet and sticky rice topped with fresh mangos. All of the food tasted as good as it looked. Our cooking class sat together and enjoyed each course while everyone tried out their English to make us feel included.
Watching sassy Mama Mai run around the kitchen instructing her students and cracking jokes was really inspirational. This adorable chef had moved to a foreign country, managed to establish her own restaurant and now charmed a room with her cooking knowledge. And to think she used to be insecure that people wouldn't understand her accent.
For us, travel is all about meeting new people and learning about different cultures. Getting to know Mai during her year abroad at our university was a blast, but half the fun of getting to know international students is visiting them in their home environment. It's fun to have a built in tour guide and see a different side of the people you spent a year getting to know. While we were in Austria for the weekend, we definitely got a taste of Thai culture and a peek into Mai's life at home.
If you're ever in Austria, check out this wonderful restaurant for yourself!
Thanks for showing us around Linz and Vienna Mai Thai! See you in Southeast Asia soon :)