Taking home Asia: Cooking classes in Thailand

Bringing Thailand to our home by learning how to cook Thai food.

We are sometimes those people who bring back T shirts that say “I ❤ Paris.”

Mostly, we don’t buy souvenirs from the places we travel, except to give as presents to our friends.

We prefer to bring home the intangibles, like a sense of that place from our experiences there. If we really love a destination, we will take home something that reminds us of that place again and again…in our home kitchen.

Cooking classes are a great way to sample the local flavors and gift yourself knowledge about that place that will stay with you for a long, long time.

Two of our favorite cooking classes in 2018 was in Phuket, and Thailand is one country where we absolutely love the food and want to cook it for ourselves, family and friends.

The Phuket Thai Cooking Academy

The Thai Cooking Academy has branches in Phuket, Bangkok and Hua Hin. For our time in Phuket in July, we had looked for a cooking class as soon as we arrived as part of our DIY itinerary.  We decided on the Thai Cooking Academy (TCA) because although it was not the least costly program, it had bonuses like transfer to and from our villa and for the simple reason that the TCA staff were really responsive to our questions. They also give you choices of the menu you will cook, up to five choices including dessert.

Not all cooking classes take you through the entire process of cooking a meal. TCA did, taking us first to the market, where we learned about Thai fruits and vegetables, including the pygmy pineapple and the eggplants that feature in many Thai curry dishes.

After the market, we rode the van to the cooking school’s location, which is a house with a roofed terrace where the cooking is done.

Each person in the class (there were 8 of us total) had their own station and set of equipment. Each one of us had aprons and chef’s hats, photos of which we will not be publishing here to protect my vanity.

We were given the ingredients for our dishes and had to prepare mis-en-place. The great thing about this part of the course is that after mis-en-place, we went through the cooking of each dish one by one. Each person in the class had a different pace, so we had a personalized process for our chosen dishes. I thought this was a really effective way to make the knowledge stick. I still remember how to make all the dishes from that class, because it was so hands-on.

Cooking stations on the terrace at Phuket Thai Cooking Academy.

Here is a summary of pluses from this cooking class:

  • Responsive to online query
  • Transfer from location to market to cooking academy and back to location
  • Friendly staff and humor during the class
  • Organized kitchen
  • Personalized learning tailored to your pace and level of knowledge of cooking
  • Detailed explanation of seasonal fruits and other ingredients
  • Personal station and pace of whole process
  • Choose your own menu to cook

After cooking our meals, each of our dishes were placed on the long dining table near the cooking stations, and we had lunch.

I would recommend this class if you’re ever in Phuket, Bangkok or Hua Hin. What you learn will most likely stick and you can enjoy Thai food you like in your own home.

Light Chaser Life recommends:

Thai Cooking Academy

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