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
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……
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…..
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
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.
4. Thai welcome snack (Meang Kum)
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
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
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!
3. Making curry paste
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.
After all the careful cutting and angry crushing…, our “beautiful” curry paste was finally made!
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!
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!
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!
There 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
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.
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.