Special Celebratory ‘Songkran in the Countryside’ Menu This April!

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For all of our guests joining in on our Bangkok classes this coming April, we’re proud to announce a special menu!

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Songkran is one of Thailand’s most famous holidays, especially for locals. When the heat of the Thai summer is in full swing, people come out to celebrate Thai New Year and the harvest season with great food, drink, and giant water fights! The holiday lasts for several days, so during this time people usually make the migration back to their hometowns in the provinces to be with family. If you’re visiting Bangkok, during this time we’d also like for you to get a taste of the Songkran celebration.

The Songkran in the Countryside menu is as follows:

  • Soothing Jungle Soup with Pumpkin and Mushroom
  • Papaya Salad Sans Papaya with Traditional Herbal Thai Whisky Tasting (optional)
  • Choice of Glazed Pork Neck or Banana Leaf Steamed Fish with Fresh ‘Jaew’ Dipping Sauce
  • Dok Jok Lotus Cookies and Ice Cream topped with Crispy Mung Beans
  • Fresh Fruit from the Local Market

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The festival with origins in India aims to celebrate the harvest season and inaugurate the start of the rainy season. Traditionally this is an extremely important time for people around the country, especially in the rural Northeast. Issan, pronounced ‘e-san’, Thailand’s poorest region is often where people forsake village life to earn money living and working in Bangkok. The five course menu pays homage to the people of the Northeast, while giving you a chance to experience a taste of these special provincial dishes. This experience is especially recommended for people who may already be familiar with the typical Thai dishes you see repeated daily in the average cooking classes in Bangkok. That means if you want to go deeper than pad thai and green curry, this is the perfect time of year to try cooking some new dishes with us!

Read These FAQs to Be Prepared for Songkran

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When is the 2018 Songkran Festival happening? Friday, April 13th – Monday, April 16th in most places. However, some cities may have their own dates.

Should I be prepared to get wet and splashed by strangers? Yes. When we visit the market in the morning, many of the market goers, people in the street, and even cars going by may be splashing water.

What items should I bring with me? We keep towels available, but you may want to bring along dry clothing if you’d like to change after visiting the market. We have a dry bag where you can safely keep your cell phone or other important small items. If you have a water gun, bring it! Most importantly bring a sense of adventure and your appetite and it should be a fun, festive, and wet time for everyone involved.

Is Songkran a safe holiday? Motor accidents, especially due to drunk driving make Songkran a dangerous holiday. You should avoid riding motorbikes, and wear your seatbelt when traveling. If joining large events happening in Bangkok, avoid taking valuables to prevent petty thefts and them getting ruined by water. We hope you come and enjoy Songkran without incident, but consider it our responsibility to inform of some dangers associated with the festival.

Should I book in advance? For the best experience, we do recommend booking in advance. Since we prefer to do small classes, the spaces can fill up quickly. If our morning 10am class is full, we may give you the option to come during our 2pm session. We will also be running our evening kids dinner and demo classes during this period.

How can I book the cooking class? Book a class during Songkran while they last here: https://courageouskitchen.org/product/courageous-kitchen-cooking-class/

Can I request a different menu? If you would like to cook more classic Thai dishes, hilltribe or other menu theme, please let us know in advance and we’ll try to adjust accordingly. Please message us with other special requests, but due to the amount of interest during this time of year, we may not be able to honor every request.

Join Our Courageous Convo with Chef Seng of the Lao Food Movement!

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Riding on the tail end of International Women’s Day, we wanted to feature one of our favorite female Chefs and friend of Courageous Kitchen, Seng Luangrath. Chef Seng is two-time James Beard nominee, and Owner of Thip Khao and Padaek the first and two of the most popular Lao restaurants in Washington DC.

However, before she was internationally acclaimed, Chef Seng was born in Laos and spent a few of her childhood years in a Thai refugee camp where she lived and watched in awe as the residents around her cooked traditional Lao food with only the simplest ingredients. Her family eventually resettled in America, and she found herself as an adult unhappily working in finance. With a little bit of coaxing from her husband of nearly 30 years, Boun, she eventually quit her day job to pursue her culinary passion. She is now successfully running two businesses, working alongside her son, Chef Bobby, and showcasing her love of Lao food with the world through what she’s dubbed as the “Lao Food Movement.”

Last fall, we had the honor of hosting Chef Seng at our SouthEATS Austin Dinner and she was able to share a little bit of her story with the 60+ guests at the intimate farm gathering. Now, we want to dig a bit deeper, so Christy will be sitting down with Chef Seng to find out more about her Lao food journey, what fuels her, her definition of courage, and what it means to be a refugee-turned-star-studded-Chef.

Join in on the conversation and submit your questions via Facebook or Instagram asap!

Follow Chef Seng: @thipkhaodc @padaekdc @chefseng

New TV Show Celebrates Culinary Accomplishments of Refugee Chefs!

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“Food is the ultimate equalizer… at the end of the day, everybody has to eat.” – Chef Yia Vang

Typically, you won’t find the Courageous Kitchen team giving you advice on which riveting television shows you should be watching. However, that may be able to change with the exciting new arrival of a show called, “Refugee Chef”. In six episodes the show will poignantly examine the challenging origins and immense contributions refugee chefs are making on the culinary scene all over the world. This includes Chef Yia Vang, a friend of Courageous Kitchen, who we were proud to feature in last year’s Courageous Family Dinner.

Watch the trailer for “Refugee Chef” on Channel NewsAsia:

Here’s the full list of chefs to be featured on Refugee Chef:

Episode 1: Queen of Nordic Vietnamese
Featuring: Anh Le
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Origin: Chef Ang Le and her family arrived in Denmark after escaping Vietnam by boat.

Episode 2: Hmong and Here
Featuring: Yia Vang
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Origin: Chef Yia was born in a Thai refugee camp after his parents escaped Laos during the Vietnam war.

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Episode 3: Afghan at Last
Featuring: Javed Ghaderi
Location: Wollongong, Australia
Origin: Chef Javad escaped Afghanistan and would be deported three times, and spend his life savings before being resettled to Australia.

Episode 4: Beyond Bali
Featuring: Anita Saborn
Location: Paris, France
Origin: Anita’s family fled Indonesia to China where they traveled on fake passports to Paris, where they were granted political asylum.

Episode 5: Redefining Shangri-La
Featuring: Lobsang Dorjee Tsering
Location: Washington, DC
Origin: Dorjee was born to nomadic parents in Tibet, and had been a monk for 18 years before fleeing his homeland.

Episode 6: Aleppo Supper Club
Featuring: Ahmad Abo Aziz
Location: London, UK
Origin: The war in Syria brought danger and great tragedy to Ahmad and his family, and they left the city the loved looking for safety.

“People don’t see us refugees but we are there.” – Chef Anh Le

In today’s political climate, giving anything a refugee label is to condemn it to controversy and scandal. This show, however, bucks the trend and takes the weighty topic head on. In doing so the show humanizes the refugee situation in a way not always possible in today’s news headlines and sensational political commentary. We’re challenged to take a look into the lives of each of the chefs and to have a sampling of the obstacles they overcame to achieve success whether with their restaurants, efforts to challenge or their efforts to help others.

The show airs on Saturday, February 24th on Channel NewsAsia at 7:30pm Bangkok time. You can also stream the episodes on demand for free, here.