Thai Cooking Class: 1 Day, 6 Dishes

August 11th, 2008. Categories / Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yesterday J. and I took a Thai cooking class at Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School. According to the promotional literature, it’s the first cookery school to open here. Does being first make it best? Read on to find out.

Actually don’t. I’ve only taken one other cooking class here before, so I can’t judge. But the class was a worthwhile value at 990bht($33) each. We signed up for Menu 4 that comprised of 6 dishes: Phad Siewe (fried big noodles), Plaah Goong (northeastern style prawn salad), Gai Phad Med Mamuang (chicken with cashew nuts), Hor Neung Plaa (fish curry steamed in banana leaves), Gang Garee Gai (yellow curry chicken), and Kluay Buad Chee (bananas in coconut milk) for dessert.

The class was taught in a spacious carport-like area behind The Wok Restaurant. Everyone arrived by 10AM. The twenty people came from all over the world, but most from France and Taiwan. We talked a lot with an older loopy woman from New Caledonia who wore a permanent joker smile. There was a couple currently living in Oxford who we befriended easily too. While we waited to start, I had a cup of black tea. It made me nauseated.

Greenery at the market.

First was a taxi truck ride to the market to talk about and shop for produce. Then a spunky girl demonstrated how to prepare the first dish. Despite language issues, she tried hard to crack various jokes. Out of context, some of them would have been pretty weird, actually. You could tell she had done these demos many times. She didn’t seem jaded, but it was definitely a well-worn routine. After the demo, we’d go to the kitchen and do it ourselves. There would be breaks to eat our dish before getting the next demo.

I tell joke now?

It was fun to watch the different levels of kitchen competence. Some people would take forever just to cut an onion. Others seemed scared of the flame. You felt pressure to be swift though. We had to get through a lot of dishes, and people were wandering around directing you, clearing containers, and setting out new ingredients.

The cooking area.

My cooking station.

Phad Siewe.

Ingredients ready to go.

J. wrapping the fish curry in a banana leaf.

Gai Phad Med Mamuang.

Gang Garee Gai.

Plaah Goong and the banana desert.

Ooops, forgot how to eat. Curry burns!

After sampling all of our dishes everyone was visibly stuffed.

Making thai food is pretty easy. It’s all in one hot pan. It’s even easier when ingredients are provided and dishes cleaned for you.

After the class, J. and I drove to take a walk at the reservoir at CMU. It was starting to drizzle, so we didn’t walk for long. And I felt a little too bloated to be walking much anyway. No dinner for us.

Looking west to the reservoir and mountains.

What appears to be Michael Jackson dance instruction.

A mysterious blue water tower nearly hidden in the forest.

Time to digest.

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