One of the best things to do during a trip is to take a cooking class. Really, it not only adds to the unique experience but also helps you to better appreciate the culture and knowledge of the country you are visiting. In Chiang Mai, the best place to take a cooking class is at the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School, the first cooking school in Chiang Mai.
What to expect at the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School
There are several courses you can choose from. For the best experience, I have chosen the dishes which I personally do not know well or lacking in the right techniques.
The first part of the course was the visit to the market.
The second part of the course was the cooking class itself.
Visit to a Chiang Mai market
After being picked up from our hotel, we met up with the course instructor at a Thai market. Here it was filled with the bustling sights and sounds that made me felt alive. The smell of raw meat, the colours of all the vegetables and fruits, and the constant buzz of people haggling and shouting. It was wonderful!
What I have learned was the different products which I would never have bought or known:
- Ant eggs are a local delicacy
- Fried Pork rinds are also eaten here in Chiang Mai, just like in Denmark
- Prickly ash is a spice not unlike the Sichuan pepper
- Freshly pressed coconut milk will give you the best fats to make a good Thai curry
Cooking at the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School
The Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School itself is located in a big mansion in the suburbs of Chiang Mai. After the market, we were herded into a van that brought us to the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School.
First, we learned cooking in a specially built classroom. As you can see in the pictures, the instructor taught us every single dish we were going to make that day. There is a mirror where you can see exactly what the instructor was doing.
Then comes the practical part. We had to make all the dishes we had learned. To do that, we each had our cooking station. The ingredients were presented to us and we had to do exactly what our instructor had shown us earlier, including cutting and preparing the ingredients.
I must say that I had learnt a lot, as although I am Singaporean, some Thai techniques are foreign to me. For example, the slow swirling preparation method to tease the oil out of freshly pressed young coconut milk is such a beautiful method. The way the Thais cut their kaffir lime leaves as well helps to induce the maximum amount of fragrance.
Throughout the whole process, the instructor went around to guide us, so it didn’t matter if we did not remember what she said earlier.
The last and the best part of the course was the tasting. We got to eat all our creations in the company of the instructor. I must say I was quite impressed by what I had done!
To book a course, go to:
Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School
47/2 Moon Muang Road, oppo Tha Phae Gate
Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand