I enjoy cooking despite evidence to the contrary, I simply find no pleasure eating alone. Over the years I have done several cooking classes so when I found out that a Thai cooking class was on offer as part of the pre-TBEX activities I jumped at the chance to apply.
I have to admit to not being too familiar with Thai food apart from the well-known Thai green curry but after just a few days in Bangkok I quickly realised that there is a lot more to the cuisine than that dish.
Visiting the market
Our group of travel bloggers were taken by minivan to one of the smaller backstreet markets where Jay our guide and chef showed us some of the main ingredients which are used in Thai cooking.
We saw bright pink (painted) duck eggs, lemon grass and tiny Thai eggplants. We inspected the live fish and seafood and the thankfully dead meat. We learnt about the huge variety of chilli and their differing strengths and we saw people going about their day to day shopping and then it was off to class.
Thai Cooking Class
At the Silom Thai Cooking School we each removed our shoes, put on a colourful apron and followed Jay up the stairs to wok heaven.
The cooking area was above the dining room and here in a long narrow room, 2 rows of woks were lined up waiting for us while underneath each work station (or should that be wok station?) was a little basket containing the ingredients for the first dish that we were going to learn to cook.
We learnt the correct way to rip the kaffir lime leaves, cut the lemon grass and how to chop the spring onions. And before you ask, of course I know how to chop a spring onion but much emphasis is placed on the visual in Thai cooking and there is a right way and a wrong way to do things.
And then on cue we lit the gas under our woks and things began to really heat up in the room. There was one temperature allowed – scorching – so with Jay nipping around the room with his instructions (that man has the most amazing capacity for remembering names and information) we sizzled our way to our first masterpiece.
When Jay was satisfied that the last person was ready to turn off the fire under their wok we served up and paraded with our dishes downstairs to the dining room where we tucked into our Tom Yum (spicy sour soup) while upstairs a team of helpers magicked away our dirty utensils and provided the ingredients for the next dish.
The morning passed in a really pleasant, enjoyable, fun and sociable blur and to be honest, I’m not too sure which bit I enjoyed the most – the cooking, the eating or Jay’s banter.
But we turned out an impressive array of dishes, and we all contributed and helped to grind down the ingredients for a thai curry paste in a mortar (no jars, packets or monosodium glutamate here). If you want to know more about Alice Nettleingham who is having so much fun in the picture below check out her travel blog here at Teacake Travels. I met some amazing bloggers like Alice at TBEX Asia and I love her articles – all written with style and humour.
The school cater for vegetarians and they will swap ingredients if, for instance, you don’t eat seafood you can substitute chicken, and you are free to add your own level of spiciness when you chop your chillis.
At the end of the class we were each presented with a small cookery book from the Silom Thai Cooking School and all completely stuffed full, we rolled or rather waddled out of the door.
The Thai cooking class certainly stirred up my passion for cooking again and classes are offered at a VERY reasonable price (click here for samples of the classes that they offer and the price). I have a real appreciation of the work which goes on behind the scenes; whether the food is being prepared for a nice restaurant or on a street food stall.
Cabbages and Condoms
While I am on the subject of food I would like to drop in a mention of a worthwhile project that you might like to seek out while you are in Bangkok.
Cabbages and Condoms – their motto is ‘our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy‘ was set up in part to ‘promote better understanding and acceptance of family planning and to generate income to support various development activities of the Population and Community Development Association (PDA)’
You can choose to sit outside in a pretty courtyard which is festooned with fairy lights or inside in one of the air conditioned salons. The restaurant is quirkily decorated with condoms and with messages which support family planning. There are life sized statues or sculptures of characters made up of numerous condoms – much as a flower display would be made of petals and even the carpet has a condom design.
There is a small handicraft shop here and instead of receiving an after dinner mint with your coffee you are given a condom. As well as providing excellent food in wonderful surroundings, you can eat well and know that a proportion of your bill will be used to fund the social development programs of PDA
So here are two food options for you which you should certainly check out if you have the time while you are in Bangkok. My last blog article was all about my specialty one-off tuk-tuk tour around Bangkok at night during the Vegetarian Festival, although rest assured, there is plenty to do in Bangkok other than eating and drinking.
If you want to re-kindle a passion for something that you love or once loved whether it be food, art, music or anything else, but somehow life seems to have got in the way, make sure that you continue to read my blog as I will shortly be announcing the launch of a new course which will guide you to getting the zest back into your life again.
Disclaimer: whilst I received a complimentary cooking class from the Silom Thai Cooking School this has not influenced my article. All opinions and comments are my own.
Do feel free to Pin any of the images over to your Pinterest boards if you want a reminder in the future of this article.
For someone who runs a mile from anything with a flavour, I found that post wildly entertaining, and could just imagine everything you described 🙂 A great-sounding course, and for a good cause too – what’s not to love?! Keep living the dream! x
Everything has so much flavour here – its amazing
Thank you so much for featuring my pestle action! Turns out travel bloggers really can cook eh?!
we can – and it was a fun class too – as demonstrated by your massive smile
It was quite a fun class – I’m glad its inspired you to want to cook more 🙂
It did- but the street food is so good and so cheap here its also very easy to let somebody else do the cooking
I really prefer hands’ on cooking classes, such as the one you describe, to demonstration cooking classes. Of the very few that I have done, the best was offered by Indigo Pearl in Phuket, and I’ve done one of their classes twice, on two different visits. We started with a visit to the market, where the teacher taught us how to select things from veggies to fruit. After doing this, she put everything back and then told me to do it. LOL! If I had known she was going to do this, I would have more attention. The two things I DO remember were: limes should be pliant and eggplant should be firm. At another cooking class at another hotel in Phuket, whose name escapes me, I picked up a very good tip from the chef, which would apply to any type of cuisine. When it comes to spices and condiments, put in only HALF of what the recipe calls for. Cook it half way and then taste it, after which you can add more of whatever is needed without running the risk of putting in too much of something (such as salt, which can be a disaster that can’t be remedied).
Now that is very good advice Michael about only putting in half the spices. For my first dish I put in all of the chilli – I LOVE spice but I should have perhaps followed your rule
This is an inspiring post especially for the young minds. I love small restaurants and I adore Thai food (probably one of my faves).
Thank you for your comments Lana. I love Thai food too. Have you ever taken a cookery class?
No,but i hope it will happen in the future;) Thanks