Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thai Cooking School

My big goal on our trip was to attend cooking school while in Northern Thailand. I spent about a month researching different places, reading websites, reviews on Trip Advisor, and going with my gut instinct. In the end I chose, Grandma's Thai Recipes. All the research paid off! It was a wonderful 2 days of cooking instruction. The cookbooks we took home are all ready food splattered and worn out!

Jib was our cooking instructor, a petite Thai woman. She spoke fabulous English, explained everything so clearly and made the class fun (and delicious). She picked us up at 8am and we headed to the local's market. It was a wonderful surprise to be the only people in the class!

After taking in the Thai produce we learned how fresh coconut milk is made, how to pick the best tofu, how to look for fresh rice from the rice sellers, and just how large a pig's head really is.

After the market we headed out of town to Jib's house. The cooking school is in her garden/ lania area. A beautiful covered area next door to her house. There are 3 areas that we stayed in. First was the visiting area, where we tried coconut snacks, pandanus water and learned about steaming sticky rice.
Second was the prep station, where we struggled to sit on the floor while working large knives on small cutting boards. Both Justin and I got to choose 7 dishes to prepare the first day. We prepped them all on the floor and then moved on to the cook station.

Third was the cooking section. We each had our own propane stove and sauces at hand. Jib walked us through cooking each dish. First demonstrating, then helping us - but always urging us to go with our instinct and to taste, taste, taste. I loved being given the go ahead to tinker with the flavor AS I was learning. It has made cooking these dishes at home much less stressful!

Finally, we sat down to enjoy all of our creations. With 14 dishes to try there was no way we could finish up all the food. Jib's helpers expertly wrapped up the leftover food in a feat of plastic bag and rubberband usage. We ate from what we cooked for days.

If you are headed to Chiang Mai, I would check out this cooking school. It was extremely reasonably priced, fabulous fun, and we both learned SO much!

PS. Don't forget to enter my cookbook giveaway! Click here to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.


  1. What a brilliant way to enjoy the local cuisine!

  2. It sounds like you had a fabulous experience. Your pictures are wonderful.