Whenever I travel to a country known for their cultural delicacies and cuisine, I ALWAYS try to book myself into a cooking class. I love food, I love to eat and I’m always curious to know how different traditional dishes are cooked – which is what brought about my love for cooking. Luckily for me Thailand had an over abundance of cooking schools and classes.
You can find cooking classes all over Thailand and they are quickly becoming a popular activity amongst tourists. In these classes, you are taught by a local how to cook traditional Thai dishes including Pad Thai, Thai Soups and Curry pastes from scratch (say goodbye to store bought curries). Please do not leave Thailand without experiencing a Thai cooking class – you will have loads of fun and you will learn lots of new recipes to impress your friends, families, and partners with because I’m 100% sure they are tired of the same dish you’re always cooking (just saying).
During our stay in Chiang-Mai, myself and Annabel decided to switch things up a little . We went from buying Thai street food to cooking our own AUTHENTIC street food (0 to 100 real quick) with the help of Sammy’s Organic Thai Cooking School run by Sammy and his adorable wife. Sammy’s school is located 20-25 minutes outside of Chiang-Mai on his beautiful rice farm! We paid 1,000 baht ~ £24 approx for a full day class (7 different dishes), market tour and transport.
Around 9am we were picked up from our hostel by Sammy – with others who had signed up for the cooking class. We were taken to our first stop which was Sam Yaek Market where he gave us a tour of the market and information on the different Thai ingredients and spices we would use in our class. We were also gave us a few minutes to tour the market individually and buy a few things before making our way to Sammy’s. Shortly after, we arrived at his farm and I was instantly in love with the serene atmosphere and greenery. It was so peaceful and quite nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of Chiang-Mai. Sammy gave us a quick tour of the kitchen and the large garden/farm area where he grows his crops and spices, and the relaxation area dotted with colourful hammocks and beds.
COOKING UP THE STORM
We were then shown to our cooking stations and given a quick run down of how the day was going to go. We were also given a small menu of thai dishes we wanted to cook – we had to choose a curry, soup, stir fry, appetizer and desert option.
I chose to cook:
- Thai Red Curry with Chicken;
- Tom Yam (Hot and Sour Soup with prawns);
- Pad-Thai (Chicken stir-fry noodles);
- Papaya Salad;
- Mango Sticky Rice;
- I also made extra spring rolls because I’m a pig as stated previously
We were shown how to make our curry paste from scratch – and to be honest it was not as hard as I thought it would be. Thai red chillies is the key ingredient to give the curry it’s red colour. After smashing all the ingredients together in the pestle and mortar you get your curry paste.
Tom Yam doesn’t sound appealing at all and I picked this soup option because it had prawns in it. However, it tasted really yummy, I also loved that this soup wasn’t too heavy.
I was so excited to finally learn how Pad Thai was made and cook it by myself, because Lord knows I was getting sick and tired of having to pay £10+ for this dish (and best believe, since Sammy’s cooking class I’ve been making my own Pad Thai from scratch!)
After we cooked the first three dishes we went back to the dinner table to enjoy our meals. All that could be heard was “mmm’s” and “aah’s” which I’m guessing meant everyone enjoyed their meals. We were then given just over an hour to have a break, digest the food, relax, chat to the others in the class, or take a nap on the colour beds and hammocks I mentioned earlier on. If you know me, you know I love a nap (especially when suffering from the itis, so this was a perfect touch) so I went straight for the hammocks!
APPETIZERS & DESSERTS
After eating our main meals, napping and trying to walk off all I had eaten, I still felt so full and bloated. But what did I go and do? I carried on making the appetizers and desserts (and also eating them) because I paid money for this. Just know my stomach was not in agreement with the decisions I made.
10/10 class! £24 (equivalent) for a FULL DAY cooking class which includes transfers, market tour and 5-6 amazing dishes on a beautiful farm with the most hilarious chef? How could I even complain? This was the best cooking class I’ve ever done and at the end of the day Sammy gifted us with a very detailed recipe book of Thai dishes which I still use today! I really appreciate that this class was very hands-on and not just a demonstration class – both Sammy and his wife were always available to help and give advice. When I visit Chiang-Mai next, I’ll be back at Sammy’s to cook up another storm.