Discover Northern Thailand with John Chantarasak

We kick off the new season with a trip to southeast Asia. Expect fresh flavours, a lot of spice, and a wealth of culinary knowledge of the region from this rising star. Participants will learn about the unique cuisine of Northern Thailand, home to a plethora of dishes seldom known outside of their domestic homeland, hone new skills like how to perfectly balance sweetness and spice, and discover special ingredients such as makrut lime leaves. 

When: 27 - 28 January 2022
NEW DATES ADDED DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND! Now also on 3 - 4 February 2022
Price: £75 for two including £10 start of the tour discount + £5.50 delivery
Cook-along length: 1hr

On the menu

The perfect antidote to December indulgence, the menu features a variety of John’s favourite dishes including a bright and fresh som tam made with British-grown carrots and kohlrabi, gai ping, coriander and turmeric chicken skewers with a tamarind dipping sauce, and aep pla, a vibrant curry with Scottish salmon, green beans and Thai basil wrapped in banana leaf.

A note on the menu: John is all about authentic Thai flavours and therefore some of the dishes on this menu are very spicy. If you love spicy food, you’ll be in heaven. We really encourage you to give it a try – the flavours are outstanding and it’s an incredibly delicious dining experience. 

Click here to see the full allergens list

Chiang Mai herbal sausage (sai ua)

Native breed pork sausage with lemongrass, herbs and toasted spices

Fried sweetcorn fritters (tort man khao pod)

Sweetcorn and coriander fritters with Thai sriracha sauce

Grilled chicken skewers (gai ping)

Coriander and turmeric chicken skewers with tamarind dipping sauce

Kohlrabi and carrot salad (som tam)

Shaved root vegetables, peanuts and dried shrimp in sweet-spicy-sour dressing

Red curry salmon in banana leaf (aeb pla)

Scottish salmon, Thai basil and fresh curry paste roasted in banana leaf parcel

Sticky rice (khao neow)

Steamed new crop glutinous rice from Thailand

John's destination notes

The food of Northern Thailand is characterised by an abundance of flavours and influences, with many typical foods tracing their origins to a number of different cuisines, such as those found in neighbouring Lao and Myanmar, formerly Burma. The north’s historical isolation due to its inaccessible mountainous terrain has allowed its cuisine to develop uniquely from that of Bangkok and the rest of Thailand. The food is packed with bold flavours and has an unpretentiousness to it that I find completely charming. The cuisine tends to be more relaxed and unfussy compared with other regions, with taste profiles veering towards umami and herbal, giving dishes an irresistible addictiveness.

For my menu, I’ve pulled influence from both Northern Thailand and Isaan (Northeastern Thailand) – these are two regions I have cooked dishes from over the past few years with AngloThai. Sai ua (Chiang Mai herbal sausage) has to be one of the tastiest sausages I’ve ever tried, if not the tastiest! I first encountered the dish on a trip to Chiang Mai, where large spiral coils of the sausage are widely sold at markets and slowly grilled over charcoal and coconut husks which impart a wonderful flavour. Traditional versions are loose-textured and explode with bright aromatic flavours of curry paste, herbs and spices. Such a favourite dish had to be included on the menu. Som tam is eaten all over Thailand and the version I’ve included uses British grown kohlrabi and carrots that are shredded into traditional spaghetti-like strands that soak up the intense dressing made from chillies, tamarind, lime juice, palm sugar and fish sauce. It’s super fresh, with a great balance of spice and sweetness. 

I’ve tried to do some of the heavy-lifting in terms of preparation for my destination menu. People can expect to receive their sai ua (Chiang Mai herbal sausage) ready to be grilled or roasted, as well as marinated chicken and premade dressings and dipping sauces. I think it will be exciting to show people how to build the aep pla – essentially a red curry of salmon fillet, green beans and Thai basil that is wrapped in banana leaf and roasted. I’ve also included a bamboo steamer in the ingredients box so I can show people how to steam sticky rice at home, which I’m sure many people will have never done before. An ingredient that people may not have encountered before is makrut lime leaves, these are used widely in Thai dishes including curries, soups, salads and braises, given a lovely aromatic citrus flavour.

About your chef

John is the owner of AngloThai, a popular pop up that is opening as a restaurant in spring 2022. Half British and half Thai, he draws influence from his heritage, having trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Bangkok where he mastered traditional French cookery and worked with David Thompson at Nahm, at the time rated the best restaurant in Asia. He returned to his British homeland in 2014 to work at the award winning Thai Restaurant Som Saa where he was an instrumental part of the team. He runs AngloThai with his wife Desiree, where they fuse traditional Thai recipes and flavours with modern techniques incorporating the best of British produce and ingredients. John was a finalist on Great British Menu 2020.

About the wine pairings

We’ve partnered with our friends at Le Caves de Pyrene and Desiree Chantarasak, the other half of AngloThai, who’ve selected three unique and delicious wines to pair with John’s Northern Thailand menu. There’s an elegant and fabulous Vouvray with notes of pear and marzipan, plus and clean yet rich riesling with stone fruit and luscious citrus flavours. Pairing red wine with Thai flavours can be tricky, however Desiree has selected a fantastic biodynamic red from the Loire region that displays super light tannins and a crunchy pomegranate hit. A brilliantly bright and vibrant example of cabernet franc that lets this Northern Thai menu shine through. Visit the shop to learn more or add these onto your cook-along when you check out.

About the wine pairing masterclass

Desiree Chantarasak makes up the other half of the duo behind AngloThai, where she champions biodynamic and natural wines from small-batch producers. She has selected three exceptional wines to pair with this menu and will lead a wine pairing masterclass to talk through the wines in more detail during the cook-along. Desiree has extensively studied Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and worked in roles within independent wine bars across Central London, writing wine lists and leading wine tastings at events such as Wilderness Festival. She has travelled the globe to meet and discover the most exciting young winemakers of our generation and her passion for unique wines from small-batch producers is part of what the duo champion at AngloThai.

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