Memos from Asia

Cooking Schools in Bangkok and the Dishes that will Delight

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Fancy being a Thai Master Chef and wowing your friends back home with your kitchen skills? Holidays in Bangkok are now becoming more than spa visits and pub hopping. So if you want to do something noteworthy and meaningful on your holiday read on.

Every year thousands of tourists flock to Thailand to experience the culinary delights that await them. Now not only can you try these dishes but you can learn to create them yourself, with the increase in cooking classes and workshops all over Bangkok and Thailand. Thai cuisine uses fresh ingredients and flavors unique to South East Asia, and many of the recipes have been passed on for generations. In recent years it has become an increasingly popular holiday activity to learn to cook these mouth-watering, traditional dishes as well as the more modern ones that have become popular the world over. Here are some of the fabulous cooking schools Bangkok has to offer that will teach you to recreate a taste of Thailand long after the holiday is over.

Silom Cooking School

Replicate beautiful dishes and have a total immersive experience at the Silom Cooking School, where the emphasis is on cultural elements and learning about ingredients. You will begin your day at the market where a teacher will hand over a bottle of water and guide you to choose the freshest shrimp or most complimentary spices that will best enhance the dish you will be making later. Teachers are all culinary school certified, speak English fluently and will ensure you have a great time while feeling like a celebrity chef.

You will prepare a lavish 5 course meal, starting with the famous hot and spicy Tom Yum Soup, then move on to the most-loved, Pad Thai (stir-fried noodles with shrimp and tofu), Thai Green Curry with chicken, locally known as Geang Kiew Wan Gai or Phanaeng – a spicy and aromatic red curry made with lemongrass, ginger and shallots, and finally for dessert the beloved Mango Sticky Rice, glutinous rice served with mango and a coconut cream sauce.

The school offers 8 different courses so you can learn about making coconut milk which goes into many Thai dishes especially curries or make your own curry paste, which is another corner stone of Thai cooking. Vegetarian and other dietary options are available as long as you notify the school on booking, reservations are essential, but this is one cooking class you won’t want to miss.

Address: เลขที่ 6/14 ถนน เดโช Suriya Wong, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

Blue Elephant Cooking School

The beautiful, historic, Colonial-style building that houses the Blue Elephant cooking school is a drawcard to this cooking class, along with the fact that Blue Elephant restaurants are renowned throughout the world for expert chefs and their high-end dining. Then it would come as no surprise the cooking classes are of that level as well.

Under the tutelage of expert chefs you can learn to create the famous Thai papaya salad, coconut soup, a plentiful variety of Thai curries such as the massaman curry, using traditional flavors such as coconut, lemongrass, galangal, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Although a different menu is provided every day, the focus here is on “Ancient” Thai cuisine.

Newbies and advanced professionals are all welcome, however opting for the half day class means than there will not be a chance to get lost or bored. The day will start with visiting the colorful Bangrak market to choose ingredients to be used later. This trip also gives students a good chance to understand the dynamics of Asian markets and groceries. Then students will return to the school and the magic can begin.

Address: Surasak BTS Station, 233 S Sathon Rd, Yan Nawa Sathon Surasak, Bangkok 10120, Thailand

May Kaidee’s Cooking School

Most cooking schools in Thailand cater to vegetarians but May Kaidee’s cooking school focusses entirely on vegetarian, and vegan cooking as well.

You can pick from a variety of classes from tofu making to raw food cooking, fruit carving to impress even the hardened critic and express Thai cooking for those wanting to create seamless and delicious meals in minutes, this is something you won’t want to miss. After the cooking lesson, move on to an introduction in traditional therapeutic Thai massage. So at the end of a course you could have learnt plant-based, nourishing cooking and the basic tenets of Thai massage.

May Kaidee’s ambition is to share traditional Thai cuisine with the world and combine it with holistic, health-restoring recipes that revitalize mind, body and soul. The cooking school has become so popular it now has branches in Chang-Mai as well as New York. You can learn to make up to 8 different traditional dishes every class. Ranging from Pad Thai, red, green and yellow Curries, Papaya salad, Vegetable Spring Rolls, peanut sauce, Tom Yum chili paste used to make the famous hot and spicy soup, and of course, mango sticky rice.


Cooking with Poo

Chef and founder Khun Saiyuud Diwong or “Poo”, as she is affectionately known, started out in humble beginnings in one of Bangkok’s slums, Klong Toey. After selling her dishes to her neighbors and friends she was struggling to get by, so she decided to branch out into cooking classes which have now become such a hit with tourists, its arguably one the most popular cooking classes in Bangkok.

The school is still located in her home neighborhood of Klong Toey. Booking a cooking class with Poo or one of her friends is an excellent chance to support the local community, as her neighbors double as teachers, in addition to seeing life through the lens of a local as opposed to a tourist. Poo sticks to the classics such as Pad Thai, Mango Sticky Rice and Tom Yum soup.

A class with Poo starts out in the morning at the local Klong Toey market, where students can gain a better understand of the ingredients and then moves back to the school where the real mastery begins. This will be the most authentic cooking experience you could ask for.

Unfortunately due to Covid-19 Poo has been forced to close her school for the time being.

5. Bai Pai

“Master the art of fine Thai cooking in a Zen environment” is how this cooking school describes the unique experience that it offers. Set outdoors, where all the cooking takes place, students are provided with a spacious cooking area, ingredients and utensils and experienced professionals give instructions on how to prepare the authentic cuisine. The airy environment and beautiful gardens make this school a favorite with locals as well as tourists who describe the classes as always fun and interesting.

Bai Pai’s location is just outside of the city, so there is more space and beautiful gardens. After a demonstration, professional chefs supervise the cooking. Close attention is paid to presentation so that dishes look as aesthetically pleasing as they taste. It’s a great day escape if the crowded concrete jungle becomes too much.

Be prepared to make 4 authentic Thai dishes, learn a host of new techniques and be able to recreate the dishes once you leave. Once the cooking is done you can reward yourself with the fruits of your labor and a hearty and delicious meal.

Address: 8/91 Ngam Wongwan Road, Soi 54 Ladyao, Chatuchak Bangkok 10900, Thailand

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