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A Cooking Lesson in Bangkok
A Cooking Lesson in Bangkok

I learned to cook 3 dishes and eat them too!

Post by : bensalmons

Post Date : January 1970

Trip Summary

Travel Date : September 2010

Destinations : Bangkok

Activities : Thai Cooking classes

Traveller's Rating

Rating 2.621

404 votes

I’m an expat from the UK living and working here in Thailand. When my daughter came to visit me, one of the places we went to was Kanchanaburi where we were planning to go to a Thai cooking course together. Unfortunately, there was too much to do and the cooking lessons fell by the wayside. Recently, I was at a small exhibition for expats living in Bangkok and overheard somebody chatting with one of the stallholders about giving Thai cooking lessons. So I spoke to the lady who gave me a price for one-to-one lessons and for lessons as part of a group.

I felt inspired to do this quickly but there was no group lesson coming up in the immediate future (I always prefer learning as part of a group) so I thought I might put my own group together. But how to go about doing this? Well, kidnapping innocent tourists seems to work quite well.

Using what I hope is totally original thinking, I sought the help of a tuk tuk driver I know and arranged for him to tell the potential victims that Wat Po (or wherever) was closed for the day but that he would take them somewhere much better. For a small fee, the tuk tuk driver then delivered said victims direct to the cooking course for me. They were then forced to stay with us to learn some basic Thai cooking.

Noi, the tuk tuk driver soon delivered three hapless Japanese tourists who happened to clamber into the wrong tuk tuk! Ekiko, Susuki and Obi Kinobi all thought they were going to see the reclining Buddha but instead they found themselves in deepest Phra Khanong where they were subjected to a terrifying ordeal and each forced to pay a ransom of 1,500 Thai baht.

For that, we were all taken to a nearby market to learn how to buy the ingredients we would need – a wonderful market which I’ve often passed by but never before ventured inside. Then we learned to do that seriously impressive fast chopping you see celebrity chefs doing and my new Japanese friends reluctantly agreed that the small pieces of flesh which flew off would constitute useful extra protein. It never ceases to amaze me how vocal some people are when a tiny bit of pain is involved.

The cooking instructor, (you can call me Jimmy), has several years experience. She did her initial training at the first class Wandee Culinary School and is now certified by both the Tourism Council of Thailand and the International Hotel and Tourism Industry Management School. She also teaches Thai fruit and vegetable carving and flower arranging. She speaks fluent English and some Japanese. Her English is so good that she gets double entendres and, even better, she laughed at my bad jokes. A wonderful lady and an excellent instructor.

There are two main types of cooking school in Thailand. One type takes fairly large classes and lectures the customers along with providing a live cooking demonstration. The other type is more hands-on and the customers cook their own food. This was the latter type and Jimmy says she does not work with groups of more than six people. That way we get personal attention and a real opportunity to learn.

Jimmy is great, she explains about the herbs and spices used in Thai cooking and the differences between, say, various chillis, or between ginger and galangal. Very useful stuff. Then there are the handy tips she gives like how to peel shallots or garlic the easy way….how to slice meat across the grain in order to ensure it is tender when cooked…..how to make sure your stir fry is cooked evenly and lots more.

Visitors to Thailand will learn in the facility in these photos but expats living here generally prefer to learn in the familiar surroundings of their own kitchens. I learned in this facility which was good. If you’re interested in learning yourself, contact Jimmy on cooking@gapthai.com for more information or visit her website, www.gapthai.com/html/thai_cooking.html I’m not too hot with links so, if that doesn’t work for you just go to www.gapthai.com and then go to the cooking page.

Of course, the victims and I were then forced to endure eating our own cooking – sour vegetable soup with prawns, chicken & ginger and catfish salad, served with boiled rice. It wasn’t bad at all. Finally, we all got copies of the recipes we had cooked to take home with us. Jimmy encourages customers to tell her what they want to learn to cook and does her best to include some or all of the chosen dishes in the menu. 

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