Next morning, after a surprisingly good nights sleep, we took a walk to the market which is over 100 years old and enjoyed breakfast whilst touring the streets again, some amazing hot, fresh spring rolls with crunchy crushed peanuts and a sweet chilli sauce plus bits and pieces from the market stalls whist perched on stools inside the market. I love taking shots as I watch food being prepared and I loved the charming lady making a pork dish, the smell of the food cooking was fragrant and spicy and the pork and the sauce around it tasted good too. Back to the hotel we had breakfast number two beside the river, and whilst the group took a tour of The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (the biggest and most beautiful Cathedral in Thailand) I relaxed with a coffee beside the river, planning a return trip to spend some more time hanging out in this peaceful and calm setting.
After breakfast, with a heavy heart we left Chanthaburi and started to make our way back to Bangkok. Typically this is about a four hour trip, but we had plenty of excursions planned on the trip back to keep us occupied.
First stop was Sen Chan Factory where, in the heat of the sun and the additiona heat of the machinery we watched a small group of employees making Sen Chan noodles, a delicacy of Chanthaburi province which is used is Phat Thai to give the signature texture to the dish. Sen Chan Noodles are Rice noodles and are also called rice sticks and are very popular in Thailand. With the exception of a few machines, this is very much a hands on job and the noodles, once dried in the sun, are manually arranged and sorted into neat piles waiting to be packed and despatched.
Before lunch we were treated to a cooking demonstration at Chanthorn Restaurant a beautiful french colonial type building bright and airy and a complete contrast to our hotel and Chanthaburi. Completely unfazed by us clambering around each other behind and in front of the cooking demonstration area, our hostess demonstrated how the Sen Chan noodles are used followed by another fabulous spicy and fragrant lunch ending with some beautiful home made coconut ice-cream, this one was served with an espresso granita which worked really well and is an idea I will replicate back home. A quick trip around the restaurants deli shop to purchase some Thai products, local Thai honey, coconut toffee and some aromatic Chanthaburi White Pepper which the region is famous for ended our lunch time and we were then whizzing past the scenery on our trip back towards the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and our next stop !
The final stop and a highlight of the trip was a cooking class at the infamous Silom Thai Cooking School – read more about it here (Coming Soon !)