Alila Cha-Am Resort, Thailand : Day #4
I just found out that Alila Cha-Am has rebranded to Hotel de la Paix. Not exactly sure why there was a change of management, but I hope that the quality of the resort is maintained. On a side note, this change clearly highlights the need for luxury resorts to maintain a high quality website. One just needs to take a look at Alila Hotels & Resorts to see the vast difference. While my blog posts on Alila Cha-Am is backed by my own experience and photographs, it is not an indication of what you will experience at Hotel de la Paix. Do check out TripAdvisor for the latest reviews on the resort!
A slight departure from the norm, I was actually looking forward towards this morning. Usually, we would be filled with dread as the last day of our overseas trip looms. This morning, however, we have an activity lined up!
We’ll be spending some time with Alila’s chef for a cooking class! Thus, we did not sleep in and instead, woke up early for breakfast.
Something special today – honey! Served right out of a honeycomb, it is definitely not something you can see everyday.
Yet another new item that was not spotted during the last few days – a lovely spread of fruits and cheese!
Also, not forgetting a delectable selection of freshly made pastries =)
After breakfast, we lingered around for a little bit before going for our specially arranged activity – cooking class! Besides being able to take part in the cooking class, we would be following Alila’s chef to purchase the very ingredients we would be cooking!
Waited around for a while and realized there would be another Swiss couple who would be joining us for today’s programme. Not knowing what to expect, we hopped onto their transportation and set off for the market.
To be honest, the Thai version of a wet market isn’t really that much different from the wet markets that used to be all over Singapore. I guess it is getting rarer to see such a large wet market here in Singapore. The trip must have been much more interesting to our new-found Swiss friends!
The chef, who also served as the guide, talked to us a little and we quickly settled on what we’d be cooking later back at Alila resort. Entering the market, we were greeted by a wide array of food items and vibrant colours!
Dessert for sale! We bought some for our lunch menu.
Seriously, I’ve never seen chilli having this light green colour. Are they poisonous?
Plenty of fresh and dried seafood for sale too! Chef thought that the seafood wasn’t that fresh, so we didn’t buy seafood here.
Uh. Our guide for the morning! The Swiss couple is kind of blocked, oops. Up till now, we all thought that Mr. Nice Guy here (he was very soft-spoken) is going to be the one in charge of the entire cooking programme we’ve lined up for the day. However, we were in for a surprise!
Purchased some vegetables for our cooking class instead. Check out the huge pumpkin and creepy looking mushrooms!
Flower garlands that are very similar to the Indian versions we see in Singapore. The stallholder was in a pretty good mood!
After we’re done shopping at the market, we set off to the seaside for another round of seafood shopping. From his expression, it seems like we’ve found better seafood! Chef was explaining some stuff to our companions.
We knew nuts about selecting fresh seafood, so the task was left to our trusty chef instead.
Chef paying for all the seafood we bought, with class fee we paid -.-”
Made our way further down the road by the seaside to yet another spot to buy more food. In all, we bought crabs, prawns, fishes, and I can’t remember what else. Overwhelmed by food!
Our last stop of the morning was this dock or something. Now, this was an eye opener.
Beyond the loading bays, we could see boats all anchored close to one another. Yells and shouts could be heard as the fishermen/workers unloaded the freshly caught seafood.
Pretty amazing sight to take in, huh? I mean, check out all the squids in those trays!
Finally, we made our way back to Alila resort. Phew.
And, we could relax for a while before the cooking started at noon. Yay!
We gathered at noon at the restaurant, and we were introduced to Alila Cha-Am’s Executive Chef, Siam Kaewcheerat. As it turns out, the nice gentleman who brought us around in the morning is his Sous-Chef or something?
A little note on Siam Kaewcheerat : We learnt from Gustini Kurniawaty, Director of Guest Services that she used to work with Siam Kaewcheerat, and both of them were previously from Amankora, Bhutan, which was pretty cool. At the moment, one night stay at Amankora is going to burn a USD$1,300 hole in your pocket!
Guessed the Executive Chef was a bit more chatty (I guess he had a better command of English) and made the cooking class livelier as he gave us pointers on what to do. We confessed that we knew nothing about cooking!
First dish completed – deep fried fish fillet, or something.
Looking at it makes me hungry!
We pretty much squirmed away when the crabs were being, err, processed.
Second dish of the day : curry crabs! Woohoo!
Chef posing with me for a picture as I was stir-frying the kang-kong.
I look weird with that hat.
Thai-style curry chicken! Too much food just for four of us, I think.
And last of all, Thai tom-yam soup with giant prawns. Shan was carefully scooping out the soup with the giant ladle.
After we were done cooking, of course we had to get a group picture of us and Alila’s Executive Chef.
Not forgetting the other couple in the cooking class too!
All good things have to come to an end, and this is it. We had a wonderful lunch, but had to rush a little bit as we had a flight to catch in Bangkok. As we were checking out, we sat down at the lobby, taking in the last few moments of tranquility at Alila Cha-Am before we returned to our busy lives.
Kind of funny that I’m only posting this entry now. It has already been six months since our trip to Alila Cha-Am. In six days time, I’m heading overseas again! Time to relax and enjoy ourselves =)
Alila : Surprisingly Different