I took my first-ever cooking class in Ubud while I was in Bali and absolutely loved it.
And then I took another cooking class while in Chiang Mai – and I completely forgot all about Bali.
If there’s one thing you should do when you come to Thailand, it’s take a cooking course. It’s something you have to experience in person. Because really, you can’t taste all the different flavors and smell all the varying aromas in a measly blog post – you just can’t. And the accomplishment of making new cultural dishes is so satisfying and amazing, it might tempt you to cook more often (says the girl who eats out every day and visits 7-11 every night).
Here’s the cooking course I took in Ubud: Canting Bali (highly recommended)
- Tempe lalah manis (sweet fried tempeh)
- Tahu kare (tofu curry)
- Soup ayam jamur (chicken mushroom soup)
- Lawar bali (mixed veggies with Balinese spices)
- Sate lilit (fish skewers with minced spices)
- Pepes tuna (grilled fish served in banana leaf)
- Dadar gulung (rolled cake with coconut and palm sugar)
I didn’t like the Balinese course as much since we were just given the food – we didn’t have the option of picking which dishes we wanted to cook. Everything was just laid out for us, and we cooked dishes family style. Some of us chopped vegetables, some of us fried tofu, some of us stirred everything together – but all 7 of us basically contributed a small part to a buffet set of food. In Chiang Mai, we cooked our own dishes individually with the guidance of our instructor, so I preferred that a lot more – that way, I could make things as spicy as I wanted.
Chiang Mai’s cooking class (MaMaNoii Thai Cookery School) was even better since it was led by a hilarious ladyboy (I think) who told us that the person who crushed the curry paste together the hardest in the stones would be guaranteed to marry soon.
We were toured around the farm in the first hour, shown the pigs (“Come back in the spring if you want to eat,” to which my stomach turned) and hot chili peppers – my favorite. I loved how we were shown a giant menu with five dishes in each category to choose from. We literally made five GIANT dishes in total – I added the last one in (deep fried bananas) since I ended up finishing one of the guy’s leftovers because I’m a beast. And it gives you an idea of just how fat Thailand is making me. 🙂
- Nam Prik Khao Soi curry paste (for Khao Soi – Chiang Mai’s specialty curry noodles)
- Pad Thai
- Lab Gai (chicken spicy salad)
- Tom Yung Kung (hot and sour prawn soup)
- Khao Neow Ma Muang (mango sticky rice)
- Kluay Tod (deep fried bananas)
I was a little too excited to make the Pad Thai with all the spices in my power, since I normally don’t receive things Thai spicy here even when I ask for it. I think the locals are scared ferangs will roll over and die, perhaps? I dumped a heaping soup spoon of chili flakes in, as well as 7 or 8 Thai full Thai chili peppers in, since the average Thai person puts 5-10. I thought I was such a badass and could handle it.
I was okay for the first 5 minutes, and then my eyes started watering and my lips were on fire. I have a really high tolerance for spicy food, but I completely overdid it and learned my lesson from those chili peppers. Never again will I dump full chili peppers into my dishes…
All I want to do is take cooking classes around the world – I can’t wait to go back to Japan and take one there, as well as everywhere throughout Europe. Food is life.
“Good food is like music you can taste, color you can smell. There is excellence all around you. You need only be aware to stop and savor it.” (Ratatouille)