Learn the Art of Spices and Exotic Flavours – Thai Cooking Classes in Bangkok
Thai cuisine ranks amongst the world’s most popular. If you’ve ever tasted a well-prepared Thai curry, you will most likely agree. It is exotic and full of refreshing and unusual spices and vegetables. Miss On, our favourite local restaurateur, always ends the ordering of food with the cheeky question: “My spicy or your spicy?” which indicates the dishes have been somewhat adapted to foreign taste. The wise ones reply: “My spicy,” while the rest suffocate in hiccups and coughing fits as they consume the lovingly prepared but super-spicy food. The Asian love affair with chillies can be easily understood if you look at chillies’ health benefits and body-cooling qualities. Thai cuisine is influenced by that of its neighbouring countries: Northern Thailand has similar food to the North of Laos and China’s Yunnan Province, North-East (also known as Isan) to South Laos, West Thailand to Burma, East Thailand to Cambodia and Vietnam, while South Thailand draws on Malaysia’s influence. The beloved massaman curry originates from India and Persia.
Many find the Thai food so enchanting, they want to learn how to cook it themselves. Thais are very generous and not protective of their specialties, therefore cooking schools in Bangkok are in abundance. The most acknowledged ones include:
- Amita Thai Cooking Class (162/17 Soi Wutthakat 14, Wutthakat Road, Thonburi. Lessons: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday. Price: 2,800 baht/lesson), which is situated in an attractive home by the canal in Thonburi and will also initiate you into Thai herbs by visiting the local herb garden.
- Baipai Thai Cooking School (150/12 Soi Naksuwan, Nonsee Road. Lessons: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. & 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday. Price: 1,800 baht/lesson) will introduce you to Thai cooking by preparing four dishes.
- May Kaidee’s (59 Tanao Road, near Khao San Road. Lessons: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Price: 1,200 baht/lesson) specialises in preparing vegetarian and vegan food. The morning classes include a visit to the market.
- Epicurean Kitchen Thai Cooking School (10/2 Th Convent, Th Silom. Lessons: 9.30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday – Friday. Price: 2,000 baht/lesson) teaches you how to cook a staggering eight dishes, or alternatively go for a shorter one-hour class of only four.
- Blue Elephant Cooking School (233 Sathon Tai Road. Lessons: 8:45 a.m.-1 p.m. & 1:15 p.m.-4.30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Price: 2,800 baht/lesson) is maybe one of the most famous names amongst the cooking schools in Bangkok, with a branch all the way over in London.
- Bo.Ian (42 Soi Rongnarong Phichai Songkhram, Soi 26, Sukhumvit Road. Lessons: 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday. Price: 3,900-8,200 baht per course) is an upmarket option, with private classes given by the restaurant’s chefs.
The chances are that if you ask your local favourite restaurant, they will be able to take you on as the ‘apprentice’ for half a day, so you can master all those green, red and massaman curries, pad thai, tom-yum, papaya salad and the likes. And don’t forget to include the dessert! Mango sticky rice always hits the sweet spot.