A trip to Chiang Mai is not complete without mastering your skills in the kitchen with a traditional Thai cooking experience. Surprisingly, Julie was excited to step into the kitchen to create something delicious and have some fun. Back home, I’m more of the cook in the family. While Julie can whip up a mean pre-packaged bagged Stir-Fry, I knew I wasn’t marrying her for her cooking skills. None the less, we thought this would be a fun way to ‘spice’ up our Chiang Mai Honeymoon.
There are several cooking schools in Chiang Mai, but we chose We Cook Thai Home Garden Cooking School because along with an extensive menu to choose from for the six-course class, they also included an authentic food market tour in the experience, which was important to us. The afternoon class and market tour began with a pick-up from our hotel at 4:00pm. We were then taken to a local market to meet up with Miw, our instructor and owner of the school, as well as the whole group of students. Miw turned out to be a funny, vibrant, and talented chef/teacher. Throughout the class, Miw offered thorough instructions to create our delicious dishes, alternative uses for the spices and produce we were cooking with, and her tried-and-true natural hang-over remedies.
We toured the local market with Miw, learning about the exotic produce and delicacies often not found outside of Asia, and sampled some of the fruits offered by the food vendors. After the guided tour, we were given a few minutes to roam the market to take photos. Despite being familiar with many of the foods at the market, we learned how the locals use the particular produce in their foods and some of the specialities in North of Thailand. It was a great cultural and learning experience for anyone interested in Thai food and the local markets.
Once finished at the market we all made our way to Miw’s lovely home not far from the market. Upon arrival we were taken to the main dinning room in her home, which added a special ‘local’ charm to the class. While we were enjoying some good conversation, the We Cook team was finishing up all the preparation so that we could waste little time while learning to cook six different Thai dishes. Earlier at the market, we all made our selections of dishes we wanted to make from a variety of amazing traditional Thai dishes and some local Chiang Mai specialities. There are options for everyone, from seafood/meat lovers to vegetarians.
We each made fresh curry paste from scratch. I made Massaman Curry and Julie made Red Curry to use as the base for her Panang Curry dish. After that we made a soup, Chiang Mai Thai Noodle Soup for me and Tom Kha Khai for Julie, which Julie still says is the best she’s had in all of Thailand! Following that we made fresh Spring Rolls and Som Tam (Papaya Salad), and stir-fried dishes Pad Thai and Cashew Nut with Chicken. Finally, we made and enjoyed fresh and delicious Mango Sticky Rice!
Our group got on well together very quickly, which made for a lively evening. Luckily, there was a good variation of dishes chosen between all of us, so we were able to learn and taste nearly all of the dishes offered in the class. Miw continued to crack jokes, and was full of enthusiasm about cooking and teaching her family recipes. Even though our group was larger than normal, she was still able to answer all our questions and keep her composure.
After cooking a course or two, we would retire to the dining area to taste those dishes while the We Cook team prepared the next round of prep work for the entree’s etc. The food was plentiful and we were already stuffed after just the first three courses, so make sure to you do not eat too much prior to the class. All the dishes were amazing. One of our favorites was the homemade mango sticky rice! If you leave Thailand without trying the Mango sticky rice, you have not experienced Thailand!
Our whole group got on together so well that we ended up going out for drinks, and partying in the old city of Chiang Mai after the class. A fun afternoon and evening enjoyed by all.
The whole experience was excellent, unique, filled with fun, laughter, tasty food, well priced compared to other schools and above all meeting and making new friends. We Cook comes highly recommended and should be on the top of your list of activities to do whilst visiting Chang Mai.
Insider Tip: Be sure to book early as the classes do fill up. (Phone number: +66 86 921 7378)
Thanks to the We Cook Team for an amazing experience, you guys rock! A special thank you to Liljana van Vliet for helping us capture some of these great shots of the evening at We Cook.