We love Thai food and when I had the oppurtunity to take a real Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai, Thailand, of course I jumped at the chance. It was so fun and the food was incredible.
Siam Garden Cooking School
The Siam Garden Cooking School for a Thai cooking class was highly recommended by the consierge at the Pingviman Hotel. The Siam Garden Cooking School is owned by Fionnie, born and raised in Thailand with a family that loved to cook Thai food. Fionnie’s brother Tim opened the first Thai cooking school in Chiang Mai. Fionnie had the oppurtunity to work with her brother then.
After marrying and moving to Switserland with her husband she was a chef in 3 Thai restaurants. She decided she would open her own cooking school back in Thailand when she returned to take care of her family. As a family business they focus as they say “on Thai being and naturalness”. They have a garden of their own with vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices.
The Siam Garden gets excellent reviews on Trip Advisor, so you might want to check that out.
To The Produce Market
I was picked up at my hotel, picking up several others along the way to the produce market. What a treat that was. We spent about an hour there, learning about all the beautiful produce that you rarely see where I come from. We were given some time to wander around while our hosts purchased the fresh ingredients for each of our chosen meals to be prepared.
It was quite a drive to the Siam Garden Cooking School. At least 45 mins away from Chian Mai center. It was nice though, away from the hustle and bustle. I was not with my husband, but I always felt safe. There were at least 20 of us going to the class.
When we were picked up we were given a little print out to fill out. Basically a little menu of what we could individually cook. Every one got to make exactly what they wanted. So if you are vegan, don’t eat pork, they will accomadate you. It’s all very well organized. That’s really a bonus. Even some of the most famous cooking schools don’t make an offering like that.
We were divided into separate tables depending on what we had chosen to make. Each given a small cutting board and utensils of our own and a wok of our own. Then our fresh ingredients were brought to us. The recipes were simple, but believe me when I tell you that that does not equate to lacking in taste. The food I made was INCREDIBLE! I was so proud of myself and it was so easy, requiring about 5-6 ingredients.
When we finished preparing our very authentic Thai dishes and there were 5 of them, we sat down to eat. Oh, my it was delicious!
We weren’t finished yet. Dessert was yet to come and we made the iconic Mango Sticky Rice. What meal would be complete without it? It was beautiful. Mango Sticky Rice is always delicious, but we added some tiny edible purple buds from their garden to the sweet coconut sauce that was drizzled on top of the fresh mango and sticky rice. The flower buds gave our sauce a lovely lavender hue. A heavenly way to complete our cooking class.
We helped them clear our dishes (not required, but polite) and then we were all chauffeured back to our accomadations. My class started in the late afternoon and was not over until about 9:00 PM. Be sure that you are aware of that possibility and if you leave others behind at your hotel that they know too. My husband was a bit worried when it got so late. I went to call him as we were heading back only to find there was no cell signal that far out of town. There was still signal at the cooking school, the do have WiFi so you could call or text head from there BEFORE you leave.
I highly recommend the Siam Garden Cooking Class. It was a wonderful experience. The staff was friendly as we found everyone throughout Thailand to be and they were extremely helpful. Lots of humor along the way too. After the class you even get a little cookbook with the recipes in it so that you can replicate those fabulous dishes when you get home.