Cooking class in Chiang Mai: Asia Scenic

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai

Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai 

One of the best things to do when you’re in Thailand is to take a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai. I love to cook and I love Thai food especially Pad Thai, Tom Yum and green curry! After doing some intensive research I finally registered for a half day evening course at Asia Scenic. (My friend convinced me after telling me his special experience with Ai, one of the cooking teachers at Asia Scenic.)

  • A half day evening course: 1. Selecting categories (a Tom Yum crisis) – 2. Herb garden – 3. Local market tour- 4. Trying Thai welcome snack – 5. Cooking – 6. Enjoy food!

Asia Scenic & Ai

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai
This is a picture of Ai, my cooking teacher in Asia Scenic. He speaks really fast and uses very simple English with his unique voice. And he’s a type of person who makes people laugh without trying hard. Ai = Humor! Let me give you an example of his jokes. When he was teaching us how to make deep fried bananas, he showed us banana and said “Thai banana is very small.” And then, he asked a big, tall, muscular European guy “But how big is your country’s banana size? The guy said “It’s very big!” And Ai went like… “Ahhh~” so everyone started laughing. I’m not a type of a person who feels comfortable talking about sexual jokes, but Ai delivered it really well and I still can’t stop laughing thinking about it.

There were 15 people from different countries in our group. We all sat together and talked to each other while waiting for our cooking teacher. Finally, a short guy wearing a pink apron approached us and introduced himself as Ai. When I heard his name was Ai, I felt that today’s cooking class in Chiang Mai would be great!

1. Voting on the menu

But the beginning wasn’t totally smooth. Disappointement awaited when Ai said we had to vote on the menu. Because this was a half day course, we couldn’t cook the “full menu”. So we had to vote for the 2 categories we wanted to cook. I voted for stir fried (Pad Thai), and soup (Tom Yum). But to my despair, the majority voted for stir fried and dessert – not soup! I was devastated. I had dreamt of learning to cook Tom Yum in this cooking class, but it had all fallen apart……

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai
Half day course: You cook 5 dishes: curry paste, curry , spring rolls and 2 more dishes from 2 categories that you have to agree with the people in the class. To see the menu, click here.

What a disaster! (a Tom Yum crisis)

Most people in our cooking class in Chiang Mai were Europeans who weren’t used to eating spicy food, so they had voted for dessert instead.

At that time, I was like “Mango sticky rice?!” “Deep fried banana?!” What’s wrong with you people! Making Mango sticky rice is a piece of cake! Are you kidding me? All you need is mango, sticky rice, coconut and some palm sugar!!!”

I can’t describe how mad I was at that time. I even thought they were unwilling to commit themselves to experiencing Thai culture. Thai food= Tum Yum soup. Not wanting to learn to cook Tom Yum in a cooking class in Chiang Mai? Maybe it’s just me…..

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Tum Yum - Chiang Mai
This is one of the best Tom Yum soups I ever had in Thailand. : )

But they simply couldn’t handle spicy food. What else could I do? I had no choice but to accept the reality of this cooking class in Chiang Mai. After surrendering, I started to feel excited again about learning how to cook Thai food.

2. Herb Garden

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai

After the dramatic decision-making, we went to the herb garden in the backyard. Ai explained the different ingredients of Thai food and also let us touch, smell and taste them. It was all so fresh and delicious!

3. Local Market tour

Next, we headed to a nearby local market. Ai showed us key sauces and pastes for cooking Thai food such as oyster sauce, fish sauce, and Tum Yum paste. We also had time to look around the market.

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai
The small round white colored vegetables at the top of the picture are Thai eggplants. They are used to make curry. Korean egg plants are purple and quite big and long. But Thai eggplants have a pretty emerald color and are super cute!
Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai
There are two interesting vegetables you can see in the picture. One is Galangal which is in the middle of the picture with roots. It’s a kind of ginger and it is used to add fragrance to Thai food. Another is the vegetable on the right. It’s Turmeric or Kamin. It’s also kind of ginger. It’s very yellow when you peel it.
Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai
The Swiss man with a backpack is Micheal. He loves Thai food so much that he comes to Thailand just to buy Thai food ingredients! He’s explaining some of the ingredients to Spanish couple.

4. Thai welcome snack (Meang Kum)

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Thai welcome snack - Chiang Mai
This is a snack for people who visit a Thai family to welcome them. It’s a plate with roasted peanuts, gingers, shallots, green chillies, sliced lime with the skin, toasted coconut, betel-leaves, and sweet-syrup. You place a leaf on the palm and put in all the ingredients you like.

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Thai welcome snack - Chiang Mai

After the local market tour, we came back to the Asia Scenic cooking class and tried a Thai welcome snack (Meang Kum in Thai). You can taste 5 different flavor – sweetness, sourness, spiciness, saltiness, and bitterness according to our cooking teacher, Ai. 

Can you imagine eating roasted peanut, gingers, shallots, green chillies, sliced lime skin, toasted coconut, betel-leaves, and sweet-syrup all at once? It sounded like a very weird combination. I thought it would never be delicious. Of course, I was afraid to try. I was like a child at the hospital before getting a shot. But it wouldn’t be fair to deny giving Meang Kum a chance to be in mouth. 

I started to chew. As Ai explained earlier, I could taste the 5 flavors at the same time. This strange combination of sweetness, sour, spiciness, saltiness, and bitterness turned out to be really great! It was way more delicious than I thought. I found myself reaching for another leaf and putting things on it. It was a perfect treat after the Tom Yum crisis!   

5. Time to cook

1. Stir fried – Pad Thai

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Pad Thai - Chiang Mai

Ai showed us how to make Pad Thai. I don’t even remember how I made it. After doing exactly (I hope so) what Ai told me to do, I had made my first Pad Thai! I liked Pad Thai from the street vendors, but I enjoyed mine even more. Mine was less salty, less sweet! It tasted really healthy. : )

2. Spring roll

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - spring roll - Chiang Mai
As you see in the picture, you need bean sprouts, chopped chive, minced tofu, minced chicken, glass noodles, and chopped garlic with some sugar and fish sauce.

Ai asked for two volunteers to make spring roll contents for everyone. I volunteered with another girl. I was responsible for making it as delicious as I could for everyone’s sake. Under Ai’s direction, I prepared the spring roll ingredients successfully. It tasted good! ; )

After cooking, we put the contents on the spring roll wrapper. I put too much stuff on and was afraid it would break. Luckily, I managed to wrap the spring roll paper in a perfect cute puffy shape!

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - spring roll - Chiang Mai
This is my cute puffy spring roll! : ) Super delicious!

3. Making curry paste

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - making curry paste - Chiang Mai
These are ingredients to make curry. The one on the left bottom is for Panang curry, another one in the middle is for Green curry, and the other on the right is for Red curry.

There were 3 different groups – Panang curry team, Green curry team, and Red curry team. (Of course, I was in team Green Curry as a Green Curry lover.) Making curry paste was quite simple but it required a lot of physical work.

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai
First, we had to chop every ingredient as tiny as we could with big knife on the wooden chopping board as you see in the picture. People struggled to cut things small, I don’t know why.
Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai
Second, a person who took charge of the mortar had to crush all the ingredients in the bowl so that you can’t see the original shape of each ingredient. Crushing the ingredients requires a lot of power. So when we crushing things, Ai said, “Think about your bad ex-boyfriends, think about your mean ex-girlfriends! Put in your anger! You can do it better. Imagine these ingredients in the bowl is your ex-boyfriends, and ex-girlfriends! Everyone started to be more energetic and powerful and to crush everything into tiny pieces. 🙂
Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai
She’s thinking about her bad ex-boyfriend and crushing everything with anger. Of course, I joined her too. ; )

After all the careful cutting and angry crushing…, our “beautiful” curry paste was finally made!

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - hand made curry paste - Chiang Mai
I know these curry paste doesn’t look that pretty…… but it’s tasty though……

4. Making my first Green curry

Cooking Green curry was way easier than making curry paste. All I needed to do was just boil some coconut milk, add curry paste and chicken and put in the vegetables, palm sugar and fish sauce!

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Green Curry - Chiang Mai
Ingredients for Green curry with chicken: chopped chicken breast, egg plant, Thai sweet basil leaves, green curry paste, and skin of lime. (You can put palm sugar, fish sauce, coconut milk)

5. Mango sticky rice (Sticky rice with mango)

I think the only difficult part of making Sticky Rice with Mango is cooking the sticky rice. But Ai did it for all of us, so it was very convenient. After stirring the sticky rice with the coconut cream, sugar and salt, it’s done!

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - cooking thai sticky rice - Chiang Mai
This is the bamboo steamer that Ai used to cook the Thai sticky rice. If you want to know how to make Thai sticky rice with in a bamboo steamer. Click here.

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Mango sticky rice - Chiang Mai

6. Time to eat!

I was quite full after eating the Pad Thai (After the whole group finished the first category – stir fried – we ate the food we made). But I couldn’t give up on the other delicious Thai food that I’d made at the Asia Scenic cooking class in Chiang Mai!

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang MaiThere was Green curry with rice, Sticky Rice with Mango, and spring roll! I got so full after eating all of them. (I hate wasting food, especially when it’s delicious! )

Asian Scenic – good food, good laugh, good friend

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai

Even though I couldn’t learn how to make Tom Yum in this cooking class in Chiang Mai (You will get Asia Scenic cookbook at the end, so don’t be sad that you didn’t have a chance to learn your favorite Thai dish) I felt like I’d gained at least 2 kg after eating so much. But I felt so good that I had such a wonderful time with Ai, and the other people there, especially two nice girls from Kenya.

Cooking class in Chiang Mai - Asia Scenic - Chiang Mai

Taking Asia Scenic cooking class in Chiang Mai was one of the best things I’ve ever done in Chiang Mai. I got to love Thai food more, and I got to love Thailand more. Asian Scenic Thai Cooking School in Chiang Mai was really nice to me. : )

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How was your cooking class in Chiang Mai? I’d like to hear your experiences taking cooking class in Chiang Mai. Please leave a comment below.

 

 

7 thoughts on “Cooking class in Chiang Mai: Asia Scenic

    1. Yes Da young! We can cook together when I go to Australia and stay with you! 😉 I’m not sure when but I’m so looking forward to it.

  1. well, this all looks amazing~~

    keep up with the cooking classes in different places so that when you come to new york you can teach us too 🙂

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