Ronald Mcdonald in a "sawadee ka" pose
What do you do when your holidays is spoilt by the seemingly endless raining? Go for cooking class! Well, that's what I did during my extended trip in Krabi, Thailand. I was there for 5 days last week, spent 3 days with the colleagues in my department for some team-building activities and extended another 2 days planning to relax at the beach. A few days prior to the trip, I found out that it's actually monsoon season in the Phuket area. Knowing that I might not be able to go for any sight-seeing, I surf the internet for indoor activities and I found lots of cooking school websites in Thailand. I've decided then that I'd join cooking class if I'm unable to go for sight-seeing.
True enough, it had been raining non-stop from the day I touched down at Krabi. We stayed in the hotel most of the time and we were even forced to conduct our team-building activities indoor!
During one of the free and easy days, I came across the Krabi Thai Cookery School when I walked pass a tour agency. It seems like this school is quite popular with tourists, as the poster mentioned that it's recommended by Lonely Planet. There are two classes in a day, and I opted for the afternoon class, which starts from 2pm and ends at 5pm. I paid 1000 baht (About SGD42) to the agent and I was told that transport will be provided as well, sounds good to me!
A colleague who also signed up for the class and I were picked up from the hotel and after a 10-minute journey, we arrived at the school that is located in a village. The school is a single storey house and there are a few cooking counters with different types of cooking utensils.
We were greeted by the chef, Mrs. Ya who is a friendly lady with a great sense of humour. She started the class by introducing some ingredients like kaffir lime, lemon grass etc, these are not new to Asians like me but it's certainly an eye-opener for the other 8 classmates of mine who are from different parts of Europe.
Then we were told to "chop, chop" and "bang, bang", that is, chopping and pounding the ingredients. Mrs. Ya demonstrated how to make three types (red, green and yellow) curry pastes and we got to try out the pastes by dipping with slices of cucumber.
Mrs. Ya pounding the ingredients with mortar and pestle
We proceed to cooking area and I could see that the ingredients that we prepared earlier were placed on the counter by Mrs. Ya's assistant.
We were supposed to cook some curry dishes and we got to choose the type of curry we want to try out. The cooking process was easy, as Mrs. Ya and her assistant were there to tell us when to put in the ingredients and when it's ready to go for the next steps.
Top: Yellow curry; Middle: Panang curry; Bottom: Green curry
After the curry dishes, we cooked some stir-fried dishes, like stir-fried mushroom, Kai Pad Pet (stir-fried spicy chicken with green peppercorns) etc. Then we were ushered to a long table where we were served with the dishes that we prepared earlier, together with rice, and drinking water.
After a hearty meal, we had to start cooking again. During the second round of cooking, we learnt how to make papaya salad and phad thai.
Mrs. Ya showing us how to prepare papaya salad
Top: Papaya salad; Bottom: Phad Thai
After that, we stopped to eat again and by then, everybody was full. But Mrs. Ya gathered all of us to the cooking area again and we learnt how to cook three types of tom yam.
Top: Tom Yam Goong Nam Sai; Middle: Tum Kha Kai; Bottom: Tom Yam Goong Nam Kun
The Tom Yam Goong tasted fantastic, especially the Tom Yam Goong Nam Kun, which was cooked with coconut milk and tom yam paste. I had 2 bowls of it, even though I was full!
I have to admit that I was initially skeptical of the authenticity of the food featured in the class. I thought that the recipes would be altered to suit the westerners' palate, but I was obviously wrong. Even though the food was cooked by amateurs like us, it was the best that I've eaten throughout the whole Krabi trip. If you're keen to learn Thai cooking, or if you're stuck in the monsoon downpour, go for cooking class!
Krabi Thai Cookery School
269 Moo 2
Ao Nang Beach,
Tel: 01-9790677 & 075-695133