Arriving in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I wanted to try something local, new and different. I enjoy impressing the ladies with my cooking skills and I wondered if it would be possible to pick up a Thai cooking class to learn some new skills.
I’ve never taken a cooking course on my travels before, this was new to me and I wanted to share how I got on:
Booking through WithLocal
My friend had told me about a travelling website called WithLocals which aims to connect locals with travellers passing by through experiences.
I’ve been wanting to try this website out for some time now as I’ve often searched around its user friendly site pondering around the possibilities for some time, it all looks very exciting.
The website offers a lot of local connections such as: guided tours, picking rice in a paddy field or simply cooking a meal with a local family in their home.
The opportunities are endless and I’m looking forward to trying out more experiences with WithLocals as I continue to travel around South East Asia.
How my Thai cooking class started
I booked the Thai cooking course through WithLocals before arriving in Thailand and I was instantly kept up to date by emails from the cooking teacher, Vanne who was excited to meet me, this added a nice encouragement and I couldn’t wait to get started.
Once I arrived in Chiang Mai and located my Condo where I will be staying for the next few months, I emailed over my address and they arranged to pick me up the next day. Dates and times were flexible, which was nice as I could attend the 3 hour course to fit around my plans nicely.
Pick up service all over Chiang Mai included
I got picked up on Monday at 13:00 and we proceeded to drive to a food market around 15 minutes out of town. During the drive I got a menu where I could pick the dishes I wanted to prepare, then we would go around the market and buy the ingredients we would cook later.
I went for a Massaman Curry paste, Stir fry chicken with Cashew nuts and something I’ve always wanted to learn how to make, spring rolls (Lumpias!).
walking around the Thai food market
Walking around the food market was very educational, the food guide informed me about many useful points such as:
• Where the location of the ingredients comes from.
• Rough cost of what each ingredient should be.
• How to check if the ingredients are fresh or not.
• New Asian foods I’ve never seen before such as the Ear Mushroom.
• The different varieties of food on offer in Thailand.
I learned a lot about South East Asia food, an area I didn’t have a lot of knowledge in and know I could happily go along to a local food market myself and know what to buy and how best to select which foods, very informative guided tour indeed.
Then we continued to drive to the cooking school, which was just around the corner, I met a couple of other backpackers from Isreal who would be joining me as well and I finally got to meet Vannee, my cooking instructor who was just pure awesome.
Time for Thai cooking!
It was great to meet Vannee, she made me feel right at home and gave me strict instructions, but very effective, She always walked me through every ingredient we added, why we added it, where you can buy it and when we should add it to the dish.
Even with the other backpackers, she equally gave me enough time to get my dish cooking to perfection.
I’ve never taken a cooking class on my travels, this was something new for me to try and as I have a love for cooking I’m amazed that It took me this long to give a Thai cooking class ago.
I absolutely loved it!
Maybe because I had the best cooking teacher in the world, Vannee was amazing or the fact that I walked in with no Thai cooking skills and walked out knowing exactly how to cook Thai style like a pro, I just had a lot of fun with the whole experience.
What I learned:
• I know how to create Curry paste using a pestle and mortar and roasting techniques.
• How to prepare an amazing cashew Chicken stir fry
• Prepare spring rolls, fresh off the bat.
• Made a friend for life with Vannee (My new Thai cooking master!)
BOOM! Thai cooking class in the bag and I can’t wait to use my new skills in the kitchen. I’ve fallen in love with Thai food whilst being in Thailand and now with my added skills I can prepare some dishes at home as well!
Also at the end, I got a Certificate of my achievement and a Thai cookbook full of all the ingredients and steps to take home with me to recap, just perfect!
Thank you Vannee From Classic Home Cooking, Chiang Mai for being such a great teacher and be sure to check out With Locals which hook up these incredible experiences on your travels.
If you would like to try a cooking school experience with Local in Bangkok, check out this useful blog post from Solitary Wanderer for further information.