One of my favorite things to do, wherever I travel, is experience the local culture through food. I love learning to make new dishes, meeting local people. I had the opportunity to visit a rural family in Lamphun, on the outskirts of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Cooking outside on reed mats was one of my all-time favorite experiences of all my time in southeast Asia. I got to experience this through Traveling Spoon, a website that connects travelers with authentic food experiences in people's homes. I traveled with my host Nid to her mother's home outside Lamphun, around rolling farmland and temples. We cooked Thai dishes I had never heard of -- the minced catfish salad remains the best thing I ate in all of Thailand. It was an experience I'll never forget.