Remember the heavy rain and floods earlier this year in Thailand? That’s exactly when I was there on holiday. We got lucky though; it only rained for two and a half days – and during pretty much all of the nights. For those two rainy days however, we had to come up with a plan. I mean, what do you do in a place where people primarily go for its sunny beaches? My friend Audrey had the answer: you go to a Thai cooking class.
As we were in Ao Nang – a small town in the province of Krabi – at the time, we went to the Ao Nang Thai Cookery School for our class. There are several other places you can go to, but this one had three spots available and was close to our hotel, so that’s why we chose this course. Anyhow, let’s get to the actual cooking class now.
Upon arrival we all got a bottle of water and our own notebook including the recipes of the day and space to take additional notes. We also met with the other course participants, a nice bunch of people from all over the world. Once we’d all agreed on the 5 Thai dishes we wanted to cook – the idea is for everyone to have the same food – we finally got started.
For us, that meant making spring rolls. Apparently this is not a typical Thai starter, but I couldn’t care less to be honest, I just love them. There was a lot of vegetables to cut first and once that was all done, we had to carefully watch our teacher. She showed us how to fill the rice paper with the right amount of veg & chicken mix before folding the package into a beautifully shaped spring roll.
As for us, we ended up having a bunch of funny looking spring rolls as a result of our beginner ‘rolling skills’. They didn’t taste any less good because of it though!
After the spring rolls it was time for some spicy Tom Yum soup with prawns.
If I can give you one tip, it would be don’t eat anything before you go to this class! We didn’t have breakfast that morning and I’m glad we didn’t. Although it may not seem like it at first, 5 dishes really is – a lot – of food. In fact, I don’t think there was anyone in our class – including the guys – that managed to eat everything.
Onto one of my favourite classic Thai dishes: the pad thai. Surprisingly simple to make and oh so tasty. Next up was the almost equally famous Massaman Curry, of which I didn’t take a picture for some reason unknown even to myself, sorry about that guys! For those of you who don’t know what kind of food it is: it’s a mild curry originally from the south of Thailand. It’s made from coconut milk with cashew nuts and massaman paste, meat (often lamb), onions and potatoes. If you haven’t tried it before, I would definitely recommend it!
Back to the menu now. After all, a meal isn’t truly over without a dessert, right? At this point I think none of us really wanted to eat anything anymore, but hey, we were going to finish what we started. And so we found ourselves peeling some super ripe, super juicy mangos to go with our sticky rice. We then poured a little coconut milk over the rice and voilà; we had our dessert.
Before I knew it, the cooking class was over and so was the afternoon. As proof of our honest efforts, everyone got a certificate stating we had passed our Thai Cooking Exam to take home with us.
If you love Thai food – and honestly it’s hard not to – and like to cook, this course is something to think about. It wasn’t overly expensive, we paid 1300 Thai Baht per person, a fairly good price if you look at some of the other classes. There are 3 sessions a day and the menu varies a little depending on what time it is, so you can pick whatever seems most appealing to you. Personally I think it’s a great way of learning a bit more about the Thai culture – and not just on a rainy day!