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.
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:
|Soup||Hot and creamy soup||Chicken coconut soup|
|Noodles||Pad rad nah
Big noodles with gravy
Fried noodles Thai-style
Mixed pork salad
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
|Pha nang kai
Banana in coconut milk
|Khao neeaw ma muang
Sticky rice with mango