For as long as Rich and I have been together (almost 7 years), it would be fair to say that we have eaten a Thai meal at least once a week.
So on this evening, it was a chance to put our taste-bud knowledge to the test with a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai.
If you have never participated in a cooking class, be set to have a lot of fun.
We booked into the Zabb E Lee Thai cooking class and I didn’t stop smiling the whole class, which was about 5 hours. We had a playful group of travellers from Finland, Canada, Holland, Germany and Ireland. And then there was our teacher.
Meet Fon. A resident of Chiang Mai at 26 years of age with twins. Fon has a wicked sense of humour. With lines like “faster, harder, stronger” whilst you are holding your phallic pestle mixing your Som Tum, it’s no longer about cooking, but food foreplay.
No one was safe and we each got a bit of a ribbing about what we were doing wrong. Whether if it was forgetting to add the sauce to the stir fry, using too many chili’s, cutting your veggies too slowly, or generally being a bit crap. The feedback was often, “you cook with too much emotion”.
So what happens at one of these classes?
First you meet at the cooking school to go through what menu you will be cooking. You are presented with a choice of 3 dishes per course and in total you will make 4 courses.
Rich chose to make: Deep fried spring rolls, Chicken Pad Thai, Tom Yum with prawns and Massaman curry.
I picked: Papaya salad, Hot and sour seafood stirfry, Chicken coconut soup and Green chicken curry.
I have made Green Curry and Tom Yum so many times at home in our Thai apartments, I wanted to compare and learn.
Well, nothing like from the get go being told that the pea eggplants that you use in your green curry are not really for eating, but garnish only.
It’s not the first time I’ve eaten garnish or wrapping. Reminds me of a fancy business lunch I went to at the Hong Kong Trade and Economic Office in Sydney. I cut and ate the baking paper the fish parcel was cooked in. To be fair I was not alone and the chap next to me did the same thing – oh how we laughed, after discreetly getting rid of the chewed up fishy paper mess in our mouths.
I was taught if it’s on my plate then eat it. Well some things shouldn’t go in your mouth. I thought I knew better, but looks like I’m still learning.
Feeling like Rick Stein with his permanent glass of wine in hand (substitute a Chang beer in our case) we cooked the best Thai food we have had in Thailand.
The ingredients were super fresh. Everything made from scratch like the Christmas smelling Massaman curry paste to the forest green citrus-y green curry.
Here’s our efforts:
Four meals and your own cookbook plus a fun time all for $20 each. I would say this is one of the best value ‘tours’ you could hope for.
You can then nurse your food baby by talking to Thai hairdressers about Buddhism and promising a lady from Pai you will go help her on her farm. Maybe I was ‘cooking’ with too much emotion at that point.
Thinking about dinner and appropriately listening to Group Therapy 146.