After being in Thailand for a couple of weeks we wanted to learn firsthand what went into the delicious mango sticky rice or pad Thai that we were eating every day.
I found several options for cooking classes in the Chiang Mai area. We decided to attend the class by Thai Farm Cooking. They had such amazing reviews on trip advisor that I simply had to see what all the hype was about.
By the way, a cool website to check out when you are looking for a different experience is With Locals. This site offers a place for locals to host classes or tours for travelers who are looking to have a more authentic experience. Although we didn’t use this service for our class, it is always a great place to check when arriving in a new city.
The Thai cooking day kicked off with a bus trip to one of the local markets. Mg, our guide and head chef, pointed out local spices and rice that are common to Thai cooking. After a bit of taste testing and a short walk through the market we loaded back onto the bus to head to the farm.
Upon arrival we were greeted with an apron and farm hat. We were then given a guided tour of their organic farm. They grew herbs and vegetables that are common in Thai dishes and were put to good use as we began creating our culinary feast.
Each item she picked fresh off the tree and allowed us to sample their sweet, peppery, and sometimes spicy flavors. Mg loved discussing the many uses of each plant and how nothing was allowed to go to waste.
We were guided into an open air pavilion where we found a cooking station that was set up with freshly cleaned vegetables, a stove top, knife and cutting board. We dove right in! Our first dish (of five) was tom kaa soup.
Mg broke down the recipe into easy steps making us all feel like Michelin chefs in no time. Each course was filled with delightful and unusual flavor. We customized our recipes for a more sweet or more spicy taste.
We enjoyed the process of picking the herbs, cooking and then eating what we had created. It was a true farm to table experience. I must say the best part of the day was sitting after each dish and chatting with fellow travelers. David and I have missed our weekly time with friends back home. Having a day with a group of people was amazing! Everyone was full of great travel stories and tips. I wrote them down feverishly, not wanting to forget the must see places in Bangkok and India.
The day concluded with a feast of food. None of us was able to finish all of the dishes we had so carefully crafted. The food was amazing and surprisingly easy to cook, especially when the shopping and prep work had already been completed on our behalf. If you are interested in trying one of the dishes we made check it out here: Fried chicken with cashew nuts.
Cashew chicken (or tofu) was my favorite dish in Chiang Mai! Make it at home or try it next time you are out.
Cooking classes are offered all over Thailand. I would definitely recommend this excursion. Come hungry and chat with your fellow chefs to discover favorite travel experiences.