One of the best activities during my recent trip to the nation of Thailand was participating in an extensive cooking class with a local expert. To learn more about a new country and understand a foreign culture, start with the food. This post shares an insider look at a cooking class with Spice Spoons in Chiang Rai, Thailand. At the bottom of this post, I am sharing my Top 10 Recommended Cooking Class Programs offered throughout the country of Thailand – ranging from classes offered right in the heart of Bangkok, to the beaches down south and jungle region up north, these are the best options for experiencing a truly authentic Thai cooking experience no matter what part of the country you choose to visit.
Shopping at the Local Food Markets in Thailand
We started the day super early at about 7:00 AM with a visit to the local food markets. Here, we were guided by our cooking instructor through the various tented markets. I was immediately consumed by the foreign smells, vibrant colors and contagious energy whizzing about the space. Most people in Thailand purchase their food fresh in the morning for the preparation of meals that same day. Consequently, the market was packed as it always is. You could find anything at the market, even specialty items like a pig head, friend frog or live catfish. My favorite part about visiting the food market was the opportunity to observe local life in action – people shopped with children in their arms, pets nearby, and all seemed to enjoy the experience of picking out favorite food items to share back at home. Many of the vendors could not speak English, but we seemed to be able to communicate just fine with smiles, nods and a bow of respect where appropriate. Once we had all the fresh items needed for our lesson, we made our way over to the Cooking School for the next phase of the day.
Private Cooking Class at Spice Spoons
Much more than just a cooking class, Spice Spoons offers a rich and interactive immersion in Thailand’s world famous gastronomy, renowned for its artistry and unique four flavor balance of salty, sweet, spicy and pungent. The facilities offered at Spice Spoons are top notch. There are individual cooking stations fully equipped with stove tops, kitchen tools, and ample counter space for each participant to get comfortable. In a step by step class, we were given careful instruction on how to properly dice the vegetables, add the spices, and cook various ingredients to create our own individual Thai masterpiece.
When our meal was near complete, Spice Spoons set up a formal table to enjoy the fruits of our labor for lunch. We prepared a traditional pad Thai dish served in an “egg basket” with shrimps. To say this dish was delicious is an understatement. Try for yourself by making a delicious traditional meal from scratch by taking a Thai Cooking Class.
Top 10 Cooking Classes in Thailand
- Spice Spoons
- Basil Cookery School
- A Lot of Thai
- Amita Thai Cooking Class
- Baipai Thai Cooking School
- Blue Elephant Cooking School
- Pum Thai
- Kata Thai
- Silom Thai Cooking School
- Four Seasons Cooking School
Pad Thai Recipe
Here is what you will need to create your delicious pad thai at home:
- 5 ounces pad thai rice noodles
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 6 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined (optional)
- 2 tablespoons 1×1/2×1/8″ slices pressed tofu (bean curd)
- 1 tablespoon sweet preserved shredded radish, rinsed, chopped into 1″ pieces
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 5 tablespoons tamarind water, or 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon tamarind paste mixed with 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (or more) Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons simple syrup, preferably made with palm sugar
- 4 garlic chives, 2 cut into 1″ pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon ground dried Thai chiles, divided
- 2 tablespoons crushed roasted, unsalted peanuts, divided
- 2 lime wedges
Then follow these easy five steps and enjoy:
- Place rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with several inches of room temperature water; let soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain.
- Whisk sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, and tamarind paste in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat.
- Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir until chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil and minced garlic in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Stir in eggs; scramble until eggs are nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add cooked chicken breast slices and rice noodles; stir to combine.
- Stir in tamarind mixture, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, and salt; cook until noodles are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in peanuts; cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with bean sprouts, chives, paprika, and lime wedges.