Exploring Thailand and Vietnam on the Sriracha Trail

Oyster Omelet Chef, Thailand

Oyster Omelet Chef, Thailand © Zicasso

These days it seems like sriracha is the trendy condiment of choice for teens and young adults, but did you ever wonder where it comes from? This year, luxury tour company Zicasso offers a culinary tour of Thailand and Vietnam that offers families an in-depth look at these fascinating destinations while sampling sriracha and other local flavors along the way.

The two-week tour covers plenty of ground in this exotic part of the world, from the southern beaches of Thailand to the northern forests of Vietnam. Explore destinations like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Ho Chi Minh City to learn about the evolution of culinary traditions in each area.

Did you know, for example, the original sriracha condiment began as small batches of artisan homemade chili sauce made for friends and family by a woman named La Orr Suwanprasop in the seaport town of Si Racha, Thailand in the early 1930s, and that its marketing was strictly by word of mouth?

These days her 81-year-old son, Lakut Suwanprasop, runs the same workshop, personally sourcing fresh chili and other ingredients at the local market to produce the same award-winning original recipe. On the Zicasso tour, you will be able to meet with the family in the original workshop and learn to make your own Sriracha sauce from a local celebrity chef during your private cooking lesson in the town of Si Racha.

Thailand Gold Medal

Thailand Gold Medal © Zicasso

Of course, dining is a big part of the tour. The Thailand itinerary, for example, includes dinner at three different neighborhood restaurants listed in Michelin Guide Bangkok in 2018. You can also experience the difference between northern and southern Thai food when learning to cook five traditional Lanna dishes in Chiang Mai.

A highlight of the Thailand tour will be dinner at the famous bun cha restaurant where President Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain dined together during one of the Parts Unknown episodes.

Meanwhile, in Vietnam, coffee lovers will enjoy a meeting with members of the Lahu community for insight into the workings of their sustainable, organic coffee plantation and a tasting of what is billed as the world’s most expensive coffee, harvested from wild weasels, during a private coffee tasting in Hanoi.

Also in Vietnam, you can tuck into a multicourse dinner in the extraordinary residence of Ben Xuan Garden House, accompanied by a member of the former imperial family. You can even learn to cook like a local during an exclusive cooking class in the central Vietnamese town of Hoi An, and discover local microbreweries in Bangkok and Hanoi, famous for handcrafted beer.

Home microbrewery in Bangkok, Thailand

Home microbrewery in Bangkok, Thailand © Zicasso

The Thailand portion of the tour is priced from $3,675 per person, double, and includes accommodations at 4-star hotels for eight days, as well as the flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The optional eight-day Vietnam add-on, which also features 4-star hotel accommodations and two flights within Vietnam, costs an additional $2,720 per person, double.

The flight from Thailand to Vietnam is included for travelers purchasing the full itinerary that includes both Thailand and Vietnam.

Saigon, Vietnam

Saigon, Vietnam © Zicasso