My First Thai Cooking Class
Culture and Cuisine: The experience of cooking and eating like a local.
I've lived in Thailand my whole life but never cooked Thai food. It’s the first day of my internship with Expique and The Market Experience and what do I have to do? Join a Thai cooking class!
A country’s food is strongly linked to its culture. Joining a cooking class is a unique way to experience the local cuisine. Not only will you get to know the dishes but also the story behind each delicacy. Furthermore, the most exciting part is indulging in your cuisine!
I had the opportunity to “Thai Cooking with a Twist” at the Bangkok Flower Market. The prime location overlooking the market is an incredible setting for the cooking class. With me was a lovely lady from Italy, passionate about cooking, ready to take this journey with me. The 4-hour experience of Thai cuisine started with making Miang Kham (เมี่ยงคำ), a Thai Royal Appetizer introducing the core ingredients used in the creation of Thai food. It is fascinating how a handful of ingredients are fundamental to various dishes. The instructor explained the meaning of its name to us. I was reminded that the name of the dish means “Single Bite” and thus provides a massive hint on how to eat it.
After devouring the first platter, it was time for the hunt! The instructor, a true local raised in the area itself, guided us through the market, passing and stopping by local stalls where the ingredients we used were bought. What is interesting is we get to see the local lifestyle. We got the chance to interact with the friendly vendors and they responded to our curiosity. People work extremely hard to earn their lives. You could see a grandma picking out mountains of chili stem by hand. Some of the things you find in this market is unique to this region of the world. We went along and stopped at a local snack shop, trying a dessert of 60-year recipe.
We were welcomed back to the cooking school with a surprise special refreshing mocktail made from the ingredients used to cook to Tom, Yum. Then we started making Som Tum (ส้มตำ), famously known as the papaya salad. Then Pad Thai (ผัดไทย) ingredients were brought out for us to prepare this stereotypical Thai dish. Again, we learned about the Thai taste, a combination of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. Comprising these tastes is the key to Thai cuisine. The last masterpiece was a choice between Green Curry and Red Curry. I picked Green Curry (แกงเขียวหวาน) and was delighted. We made the curry from scratch starting from the paste itself.
As a local who has yet to fully engage in the art of cooking Thai cuisine, it felt fresh to reconnect with my culture. Moreover, I was able to enjoy Thai food according to my taste preference as the class allowed me to customize my dishes. The cooking process was a splendid and exploring the market was an astonishing experience. The class was notably amusing, the cooperation between the teacher and student has a high impact. Staff and instructor are extremely amiable and ready to help you throughout the day.
This article was written by Alissa during her first week of a 3 month internship with Expique