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A Thai Cooking Class

One of the activities that I enjoy the most while abroad is taking a cooking class. I’ve found them relatively cheap, interesting, a great place to meet other people traveling in the same area, super fun, and delicious! All the classes I have found are locally run and if you do a little research, you can usually find one that has a farm attached. It’s a prime opportunity to get to know the community that you are in better and to get some one-on-one time with locals - who have great insider advice about the area and what its really like.

Market Chaos. 

Market Chaos. 

One of those bags holds a lifetime of spiciness (for me at least). 

One of those bags holds a lifetime of spiciness (for me at least). 

The cooking class photographed here was in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was about a 45 minute ‘bus’ ride outside of the city through Thailand’s beautiful jungle. About half-way through the ride, we stopped at Ruamchook market, a semi-outdoor market that’s packed to the gills with everything edible. And you’ll come to notice that, from a westerner’s perspective, ‘edible’ is a term used quite flexibly here.

Yes, this part of the market smelled terrible. 

Yes, this part of the market smelled terrible. 

At the market our guide, Garnet, pointed out several herbs and vegetables that I had never seen before. She then told us how they are used in cooking and what herbs are typically used in what dishes.

I can't remember what this is. I was too distracted by how crazy it looks. 

I can't remember what this is. I was too distracted by how crazy it looks. 

Also explained to us was the different types of rice (I had no idea there were so many… I felt pretty ignorant here) and what they are best used for.

I would have sworn before that there were only five types of rice: white, brown, basmati, whole grain, and sticky. I was very wrong. 

I would have sworn before that there were only five types of rice: white, brown, basmati, whole grain, and sticky. I was very wrong. 

Endless chilis, sauces, dried fish, dried… somethings, rices, spices, nuts, noodles, everything. Even coffee and clothing.

Then we were off to the class! Let me tell you, it was AWESOME. Garnet was funny, informative and well-spoken. We took a tour of the garden and headed to the kitchen. They had prepared the portions for our dishes, went through all the ingredients with us, and the day of cooking began.

We got individual attention and guidance and as far as I’m aware, everybody’s dishes turned out great. We all ate what we had cooked, mine were certainly delicious. And I’d learned how to make things that before were utterly out of my culinary reaches: tom yum soup, pad thai, mango sticky rice.

Tom Yum Soup! 

Tom Yum Soup! 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my day, as did my two friends that I was with. I’d highly recommend cooking classes in general, but in particular this one. We left with full bellies and a recipe book for everything that we had cooked that day. Thailand amazed me again.

This is a link to the website of the class that we took. They were great and I highly recommend them! 

Alexis chowing down. 

Alexis chowing down. 

 

 

Kathryn GarciaComment