My best friend and I went on a short trip to Chiangmai to celebrate her upcoming nuptials, and attended a half-day / 6-course Thai food cooking class at Basil Cookery School.
Cooking classes are a popular activity among tourists visiting Chiangmai, and a good friend found Basil Cookery School for us based on reviews online. We signed up for the morning session, and were picked up from our hotel at 8:30am (along with three other participants)
We selecting our dishes while in the car (there were ~ 3 options for each of the 6 courses), and the instructor (who was also the driver) brought us to a local market to learn about the ingredients used in Thai cooking, while buying some for our class.
After shopping, we headed to the school, where we were handed aprons, and quickly got started on our first dishes. I chose Pad Thai (my best friend chose Thai Drunken Noodles), and our ingredients were laid out in the kitchen at each of our stations.
Instructions were very straightforward and clear, and after all the chopping and processing, we hit the stove to do the actual cooking.
After some simple steps, we were done with our first creation! We plated it, added some lime, chili, and nuts, and sat down in the dining room to consume it.
This was basically the order of business for the entire workshop. Cook – Eat – Cook – Eat – Cook – Eat, and these were my remaining creations (in chronological order of preparation):
Cooking and eating for the entire morning was a tiring affair – we were in desperate need of a nap after (might also have been the food coma from non-stop eating :p)
Details of the workshop
Duration: ~5-6 hours (including transport time)
Price: THB 1000 (~SGD 40) per person for the class, includes transport from the hotel, ingredients, and a recipe book to take home
Level of “fun”: 4/5
Having eaten a lot of the Thai dishes I selected before, it was exciting to be able to learn what goes on behind creating each dish. This is particularly fun for people who don’t cook very much (i.e. me). We got to use the mortar and pestle to pound the ingredients for the curry, squeeze fresh shredded coconut in warm water to get coconut milk. Albeit tedious, these steps let you appreciate how the raw ingredients get transformed into the dishes in the most traditional way.
Level of difficulty: 2.5/5
The classes were not difficult at all – every step was clearly explained and demonstrated by the instructor. Granted, we might not have precisely controlled the heat or timed our frying down to the exact minute, but the instructor was walking around to keep an eye on us, making sure we don’t ruin our food.
Some strength and perseverance was needed to pound the curry paste, but the rest of the cooking (that led to decently tasty food) was relatively simple 🙂