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Learning how to cook Thai style in Chiang Mai

As a traveler in Thailand there are popular activities that you hear about from other travelers. These include but are not limited to diving on the island of Koh Tao, riding elephants in Chiang Mai, trekking in Pai, partying on Koh Phi Phi, etc.

Talking to other travelers is a great way to gauge different activities and figuring out what to do. When I arrived to the northern city of Chiang Mai, I came for the purpose of experiencing Songkran which is the Thai New Year celebration.

Songkran is a Thai celebration that is a mecca for travelers in Southeast Asia. So, as you can imagine I met many other travelers during this time. After Songkran, a few of us got together to part-take in some other local activities.

One of these was learning how to cook Thai style in Chiang Mai. There are several Thai cooking courses that are available in Thailand and specifically in Chiang Mai. One of the other travelers suggested that we take a course through Baan Thai Cookery School.

We signed up for a morning course which is a full day course from 9:30am to 4pm. The cost is 1000 BHT or $30 USD. The course is limited from 2 to 9 participants.

The course features:

  • Easy-to-follow color recipe book
  • All ingredients for cooking
  • Snacks, Drinking water, tea, and coffee
  • Transportation from and to your place of residence

The class allows you to choose between several types of traditional Thai dishes from each of the following categories:

  • Stir-Fried
  • Soup
  • Appetizer
  • Curry Paste
  • Curry
  • Dessert

The course started by getting picked up at the guest house that I was staying at and picking up a few other participants that were in the same general area. Following, we headed to Baan Thai Cookery School which is conveniently located in the old city of Chiang Mai, featured on the map below.

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After arriving, we were given a tour of the school and a break-down of the schedule for the days activities. After learning about the tools in the kitchen, receiving a Thai cook book, and deciding on the Thai dishes that we would cook for the day. We headed to the local market which has an abundant variety of local fresh vegetables, spices, and fruit! mmmm… Yummy!

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The instructors were very knowledgeable about different vegetables and spices. More importantly, how they can be combined to make tasteful, creative, culinary concoctions.

The instructors talked about different vegetables, etc. and then collected the necessary ingredients for the days activities! Let’s start cooking!

As stated earlier, prior to leaving for the market, we decided what dishes that we were going to cook for the day. Once we got back to Baan Thai Cookery School, the cooking began!

We started with the 1st dish which was the appetizer. Since there are multiple choices within each category to choose from, everyone was split into different groups depending on what appetizer that they chose.

The instructor for that particular dish would walk you through the steps of preparation and then cooking. Everything from how to cut the vegetables to the order of combining the ingredients. The instructors level of teaching was clear and concise.

This enabled all of the participants to produce high level culinary dishes that were equal to or greater than dishes that you commonly find yourself enjoying at local Thai eateries.

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After finishing the appetizer, we were able to eat our finished product. mmm yummy! After eating, it was time to make the next meal. This process continued throughout the day and led to a very full stomach.

I made the mistake of having breakfast. I would suggest that you do not eat prior to the cooking course so that you can enjoy all of your culinary creations. If you cannot finish everything, you can get a “to go” box.

Overall, it was a great day! I really enjoyed the layout of the course, the easy to follow instruction, and delicious food! Thanks Baan Thai Cookery School!


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Nathan currently lives abroad as an American expat and is based in Hanoi, Vietnam. He enjoys learning new languages, meeting new people and exploring new places. Nathan has been living abroad since 2014 and likes to stay busy plotting his next trip.

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