As proud as I am of my own country’s cuisine, I have to be a traitor and admit that Thai food reigns supreme in Southeast Asia (sorry, Malaysians).
The moment I tried green curry and tasted the smooth, creamy texture in my mouth, mingling with the heady fragrance of steamed jasmine rice, I knew that I’d keep coming back for more. And I did.
After I lost count of how many times I went to Thailand only for the food, I did the next most logical thing — I learned to cook it myself.
How to Find a Cooking Class
You won’t have any problem finding a cooking class in any tourist destination in Thailand. And by tourist destination, I mean everywhere in Thailand.
All you have to do is look at the many tour brochures at your hotel/hostel reception and you’ll be certain to find at least two or three different cooking classes in the area.
Some classes may also include a market tour, so that you can learn about the local ingredients and how to buy them.
Siam Cuisine Thai Cookery School, Krabi
During my stay in Krabi, I finally decided that it was time for me to learn to cook Thai food from the experts. After comparing the prices of several different classes, I settled on Siam Cuisine Thai Cookery School, as they seemed to offer the best value for money. It was THB 1,200 for 6 different dishes.
Booking can be done through your hotel reception or by contacting them directly through their Facebook page, e-mail, or phone number.
Do note that at the time of booking, you will be required to pre-select the dishes that you wish to cook in the class. This is so that they can prepare the right ingredients for you.
You can choose 6 different dishes (one of each course), as listed in the menu below:
- Salad: Papaya salad (som tam) / spicy glass noodle salad / savory minced chicken salad (larb kai) / seafood salad
- Soup: Hot & sour prawn soup (tom yum goong) / chicken in coconut milk (tom kha gai) / clear cucumber soup / wonton soup
- Fried Dish: Thai-style fried noodles (pad thai) / fried thick noodles with soy sauce / deep-fried spring rolls / fried rice with prawns
- Stir-Fried Chicken Dish: Stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts / stir-fried chicken with ginger / sweet and sour chicken / minced chicken with holy basil
- Curry: Massaman curry / green curry / red curry / Panaeng curry
- Dessert: Sweet sticky rice with mango / banana in coconut milk
There are also special courses for slightly more complicated dishes. These will cost you THB 1,600 per course.
Special Course A
- Fried chicken in pandanus leaves
- Hot & sour prawn soup
- Deep-fried fish cakes
- Steamed whole fish with lime
- Curry paste & curry (of your choice)
- Mango with sticky rice
Special Course B
- Deep-fried spring rolls
- Chicken in coconut milk soup
- Steamed curried fish in banana leaves
- Deep-fried whole fish with sweet and sour sauce
- Curry paste & curry (of your choice)
- Black sticky rice with young coconut
What to Expect
There were morning, afternoon, and evening classes available. I chose the 1:00 p.m. class so it would coincide with lunch time. The teacher personally picked me up from my hotel about 30 minutes before the class started. I was the only participant.
After arriving, the teacher served me with a drink while she went and got everything ready. The school is a large open kitchen surrounded by a beautiful garden, where they got some of their ingredients from.
First, I was introduced to the ingredients used in Thai cooking. This class didn’t include a market tour, but since I was already familiar with the ingredients (they were very similar to the ones I used back home), this was not an issue to me.
To save time, all of the ingredients that I would be using had been cleaned and cut prior to my arrival. So, don’t worry if you’ve never entered a kitchen or used a knife before — you won’t have to deal with the unexciting parts of food preparation.
The teacher also demonstrated to me how to make the curry paste from scratch using the pestle and mortar, and I did get to try my hand at it. However, it was a tedious and lengthy process and would take a long time to finish, so she let me use the paste that she had pre-made for me instead.
We began with the easiest dishes. The first one was the papaya salad (som tam). This only required the mixing of the ingredients to make the dressing, and tossing it together with the julienned vegetables. The second one was the dessert of my choice: mango with sticky rice.
Next, we proceeded to the next level: cooking pad thai (fried noodles) and tom yum goong (sour and spicy prawn soup). I had never cooked with a wok before. It was a lot less forgiving than my usual non-stick pans, so I had to move fast.
In fact, everything was so fast I barely registered what I was learning. My teacher had to help me with some of the ingredients so that I wouldn’t burn the dish.
Please note that after each of these rounds, you will sit down and eat what you have prepared, so it’s wise to come with an empty stomach (or empty food containers).
Our next dishes were my favorites: green curry with chicken and stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts. This time around, I could no longer fit anything else in my stomach, so my teacher helped me pack them in small plastic bags (bring your own containers if you want to avoid plastic usage).
In total, the class took about 2 – 3 hours, including meal time. If there are more of you in the class, it might take longer than that, so do allow some extra time when planning your itinerary.
I was given a booklet of all the recipes that I learned on that day, which was a good thing, because there was no way I could have remembered everything. On the first page, there’s a cute little diploma signed by the head chef.
After a photo with my teacher, she then drove me back to my hotel.
Is the class suitable for beginners?
Absolutely! Your teacher will be guiding you along the way and explaining every little detail, so you don’t have to feel embarrassed about not knowing your ginger from your galangal.
In my class, all the raw ingredients had already been cut and cleaned for me, so I didn’t have to worry about accidentally cutting myself with a knife either. However, I’m not sure if they do that for bigger groups. In any case, they would help you out if you’re struggling.
Is the class suitable for vegans/vegetarians?
Most Thai dishes contain some sort of meat or seafood, and fish sauce is the staple condiment to give them that distinct Thai flavor. However, at Siam Cuisine, you can choose to skip these ingredients and make them 100% plant based.
Are the dishes spicy?
Most Thai dishes are. But since you’ll be the one cooking, you get to decide how much chili to dump in there, or none at all. Most importantly, make sure you come hungry, as you’ll be expected to eat what you cook.
Final Thoughts on Siam Cuisine Thai Cookery School
This was my first cooking class ever and honestly I didn’t know what to expect. But what I experienced at Siam Cuisine Thai Cookery School had far surpassed any expectation I could have had.
Everything was well-organized, from the booking process to the drop-off back at my hotel. As a solo traveler, I sometimes have a problem booking tours or activities, since some of them require a minimum of 2 persons per booking. But there was no such issue with Siam Cuisine. The teacher entertained me with as much enthusiasm as if the class had been at full capacity.
On top of that, the food was so good I almost couldn’t believe that I had prepared all those dishes with my own two hands — they looked and tasted so professionally made!
So, if you want to bring home something more impressive and memorable from Thailand than those souvenir T-shirts, go and book a session at Siam Cuisine Thai Cookery School, and impress your friends at your next dinner party.
Note: This is not a sponsored post.
Have you ever joined a cooking class while traveling? Share your experience in the comment section below.
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