In the midst of booking my first cooking class I ended up double booking classes from different schools which worked out since my first choice forgot me. The class I ended up taking was at Silom Cooking School. I booked it for my last day in Bangkok as a relaxing morning with a delicious lunch. Unlike the other school I had to figure out how to get there on my own and I decided I’d try and take a taxi, not realizing that it would be so difficult to catch one during the morning rush hour. I’m also terrible at hailing cabs, I couldn’t stop sticking my hand out like I kind of needed a cab but too embarrassed that all the cabs had people in them that I quickly would withdrawl my hand. Plus I didn’t want to hail a tuk tuk. Originally I had planned to take a bus but I didn’t want to get on the wrong one or have any problems that might cause me to be late on my way there.
Luckily after a half hour of walking in the direction of the school and trying to hail cabs along the way, one taxi driver noticed my tentative outstretched hand and pulled over. I gave him the addressed asked for the meter and we had no problem, no arguing or haggling, just this sweet elderly man who drove me to the hotel near the meeting spot. Of course I hadn’t realized the hotel was on the wrong side of the street. But luckily the people around the hotel were use to it and when I mentioned the street corner I was looking for said “cooking class” and motioned across the street.
I rushed across the street and saw a small crowd of people just chilling on the street corner and a woman with glasses, half white and half black and frizzy hair wandering around with a clipboard. I had barely made it and was so relieved. The morning Silom cooking classes include a market tour. The woman passed us off to our chef after checking if we had allergies or any dietary restrictions before handing us baskets with water bottles in them.
We were led to the market where our chef took us first to a selection of shrimp and held up two before asking us which was better, which was fresher. We all got that answer wrong and I learned that a shrimp that’s tail is closer to it’s “face” is fresher than a shrimp that’s tail is further from it’s “face”. There’s more rigor mortis going on and the muscle hasn’t quite relaxed. She got a bag of shrimp and put it in someones bag before leading us off to the coconut salesmen where we watched them toss coconuts into a machine that came out in a powder. I got that in my basket, which I was pretty happy with because I love coconut. We learned about old coconuts versus young coconuts and that the younger ones are sweeter. We learned about different types of ginger, vegetables, and herbs before we headed off to the school our baskets full of produce fresh from the market.
We were sent up to our room and sat down at tables, put on aprons, washed our hands, and put our stuff in little lockers. The walls were covered with recipes and food pictures and we wasted a little bit of time before going off to our first lesson.
First we made Tom Young -Goong or a spicy sour shrimp soup. It was nice that we were able to select how much of each ingredient we wanted, for things that might be spicy or bitter. Like cilantro is another thing with the spicy sour shrimp soup but since I can’t stand cilantro I was able to skip using it. First we cut up the ingredients and then were sent outside to stand in the hall and cook with our chef walking back and forth taking photos for us and making sure we did everything properly. We could hear other teachers on other floors.
The second thing we made was pad thai. After each thing we made we were sent back to our room to eat.
Our teacher made laab gai that we didn’t really help with and we got to taste a spoonful of. It’s a bit like chicken salad.
We helped our teacher make green curry paste, mostly with crushing it.
However we then took that green curry paste and made Geang Khew Waan Gai or green curry with chicken. I learned that in Thailand a lot of curry is watery, like the kind I had at Brown Sugar because it’s quicker. But we made it properly and took out time, it was a lot tastier because of this.
And while we were coming and going. Cooking/attending lessons and then eating people behind the scenes made us khaw neaw mamuang or sticky rice with mango which was amazing. This is where some of our coconut went, we took the crushed up coconut from my basket and milked it, then our chef and the people behind the scenes steamed the rice for us.
I had a lot of fun. I ate a lot of delicious food and had a great time with the people in my class. I even made a new friend. The Silom Thai Cooking School is open every day and they teach different courses every day. Mine was the beginner Monday class and I went in the morning. They also teach afternoon classes that go to the market and night classes. If you take 3 or more courses you can get a certificate too. At the end of the class is when you pay, as you’re leaving. It was 1,000 baht in cash. (~$28). We also got recipe books that included everything from all the courses even if we only took one class.