Thai cooking, take one

At this point you might be wondering, “What is this, some kind of cooking class blog?” I won’t lie to you, the idea of attending every cooking class I can get my hands on and then reviewing them (Lonely-Planet-style) definitely appeals to me. May be a little too niche though. This will have to do.

I recall Ubud, in Bali, having various cooking classes to choose from, but Chiang Mai takes the cake. There are so many cooking classes being offered here, it’s bewildering. So we consulted Trip Advisor and chose one of the more highly ranked classes, Siam Rice Thai Cookery School, without looking further.

The format of the class involved choosing multiple dishes to cook across several courses. There were 6 courses (soup, noodles, salad, stir-fry, curry, and dessert) and each course had 4-6 options to choose from. For example, here are the choices from a flier for another cooking school that I picked up.

Flier for the Basil Healthy Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Flier for the Basil Healthy Thai Cookery School

In theory the format seems great. Everyone gets to choose their favorite Thai dishes, couples can choose different dishes and sample each other’s. But in practice, it’s kind of chaotic.

If you’ve got 8 people in a class (or 10 or 12—too many in my opinion), and everyone is cooking different things all at once, there’s less focus on learning, technique, and quality, and more on keeping all these disparate dishes from tumbling off a cliff. In many cases the instructor would step in and just do something for us because everything was moving so fast and his attention was split four different ways. And since Stephanie and I had chosen different dishes for each course, we were put in different groups, which took a lot of the fun out of cooking together.

That said, the class was enjoyable, the people teaching us were a lot more engaging than our instructors in Laos, and once again, we ate so much food, we skipped dinner and breakfast the next morning. Here’s what we cooked:

Justin Stephanie
Soup Hot and creamy soup Chicken coconut soup
Noodles Pad rad nah
Big noodles with gravy
Pad Thai
Fried noodles Thai-style
Salad Lab moo
Mixed pork salad
Lab kai
Mixed chicken salad
Stir-fry Kai pat med ma maung
Chicken with cashew nut
Kai phat khing
Fried ginger with chicken
Curry Kaeng ka-ree kai
Yellow curry
Pha nang kai
Penang curry
Dessert Kaowbud shee
Banana in coconut milk
Khao neeaw ma muang
Sticky rice with mango
Justin making a big ball of fire in the kitchen of the Siam Rice Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, Thailand
My favorite “course” was learning how to make a big ball of fire

Update: After spending a week volunteering at Elephant Nature Park, I decided to take another cooking class, which I felt was a vast improvement over my first attempt. Read about it at Thai cooking, take two.



you cooked with your sunglasses on??bisoussssssss

Ha, it was a split-second decision I made just for the fireball!

DD and I are planning a trip to BKK in late 2013 – perusing your past posts now for inspiration.

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