When you took a bite of the Pad Thai you had for lunch in Bangkok, did you ever wonder what its ingredients are? Or how about what makes that Sticky Mango Rice so creamy?
That fascination for what goes into the food we’re eating is what made me enroll in a cooking class in Chiang Mai. And I experienced being a Thai cook for a day at Thai Kitchen Cookery Centre.
Thai Kitchen Cookery Centre
After a few Google searches of where to take cooking classes in Chiang Mai, I settled for Thai Kitchen Cookery Centre – the first cooking school in Chiang Mai. The founder came from a family of cooks and restaurateurs so the recipes he used were a family heirloom.
Reservation was not a problem since it was low season. I booked a full day course which consists of 6 courses.
Off to the market
Pick-up from our accommodations was included in the payment. After waiting for a bit for the other participants, we headed off to the local market.
Their market didn’t come as a shock to me because it has lots of similarities to the local markets here in the Philippines. We were introduced to different vegetables and other ingredients that we will be using for the day.
Our facilitator explained their names, as well as their uses. Some of the ingredients were foreign to me, like Galangal, Ginza, and Holy Basil. So it was really fascinating for me to see them in their raw form.
Cooking Dash: Chiang Mai edition
After the welcome drinks and snack, participants are grouped by their chosen menu items and then assigned a teacher. Each of us had our own knife, chopping board, and a set of ingredients. But first, hand washing!
Their kitchen is spacious and clean, and you get to have your own stove for each dish that needs to be cooked.
The teachers are quite fun, very friendly, and they explain the dishes as well as the ingredients. They also demonstrate first what needs to be done. But more often, they just dictate what you need to do and let you do it yourself. It is definitely a hands-on experience!
I picked the following courses:
Red Curry Paste
Chiang Mai noodle
Glass Noodles Salad
Thai Herb Soup
Sticky Rice with Mango
Making the Red Curry Paste was quite challenging because of the use of mortar and pestle. Your arm muscles will definitely be put to good use!
I had the most fun in making my favorite Thai dish – the iconic Pad Thai! I was amazed by the cooks in Thip Samai in Bangkok and was trying my best to emulate them when I cooked this dish. Well, of course at a way slower pace!
A new discovery during the class was the Chiang Mai Noodles, more commonly known as Khaw Soi. The Red Curry Paste I made earlier was used in this dish. I had fun plating this one and turned out to be another of my favorite Thai dish.
Sticky Mango Rice was the easiest of them all. The rice was already cooked for us, so all we did was slice the mangoes and make the sauce for the rice. We were salivating by the end of this course.
But the best part and definitely my favorite part is what comes after cooking all of those dishes. Eating everything you cooked!
Those wonderful traditional Thai dishes are eaten inside their Chiang Mai style room where you’ll sit low on the ground with the rest of the group. I also had fun chatting and getting to know the other participants, four of which are couples on their honeymoon! I’m actually the only solo traveler in our group. Afterward, we were also given a certificate and cookbook. Drop off back to the hotel is also included.
It was like being in a cooking competition show, except that there’s no competition. Tasting the dishes I made, I must say that I did a good job of it. Although I could just be biased or I was really hungry that time. Hahaha.
Food is indeed one of the best ways to understand and appreciate a place. The cooking class let me practice cooking again after being on the road for more than a month in Southeast Asia. And because of that memorable experience, I don’t think I’ll ever look at Thai food the same way ever again.
Can’t wait for my next cooking class!
Thai Kitchen Cookery Centre
32 Soi Khroa rd. Soi 1 T. Changklan
A.Muang Chiang Mai Thailand
Full day course
09:40 am – 3:00 pm
Local market tour (excluding afternoon course)
Tea, coffee, water, herbal, snacks
Chiang Mai style room with air condition
Full-color recipe book
Free transport to and from accommodation
Free certificate for full day course
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How about you? Have you attended a cooking class while you were traveling?