Wondering how to choose the perfect Bangkok cooking class? This post will help you find a class where you’ll get to immerse yourself in Thai food culture and learn how to cook an incredible authentic Thai meal.
What’s in our Guide to Finding the Best Bangkok Cooking Class?
1. Our Bangkok Cooking Experience (Video)
2. Find Your Perfect Cooking Class on Cookly
3. What to Look for in a Cooking Class
4. What We Loved About our Bangkok Cooking Class
5. What Surprised us About the Class
6. What We Didn’t Love About the Class
7. Practical Details for Chef Aey’s Cooking Activity
8. Other Amazing Adventures in Bangkok
“Stronger! Stronger!”, urges Chef Aey, as I mush my gloved hands through a huge bowl of freshly shredded coconut. Before today, I always though of coconut milk as something that comes out of a can, or maybe a Tetra Pak if you’re getting really fancy.
But, of course, coconut milk comes from coconuts. The process, which is step one in what we’re learning at Chef Aey’s cooking activity in Bangkok, is gloriously simple.
- Step 1. Go to the local market and buy enormous quantities of freshly shredded Thai coconut.
- Step 2. Add a little water to the coconut and squeeze. Squeeze!
- Step 3. Sample the richest, creamiest, most delicious coconut milk you’ve ever tasted.
I know it’s hard to believe — since we are committed foodies, full-time nomads, and we love to cook — but in all our years of travel, we’ve never taken a cooking class before.
Partly, that’s because most cooking activities don’t cater for vegans and vegetarians. In Thailand, though, where different kinds of protein can be freely substituted in the country’s signature dishes (think green curry with chicken, seafood, or tofu), the recipes are easily changed to suit the taste of the cook.
So while our one fellow student, a quiet solo traveller from Korea, cooked with shrimp, egg, and chicken, we made the same recipes with tofu instead.
Like an orchestra conductor, Chef Aey deftly managed the whole operation, exhorting us to bring up the temperature here, drop in a little spice there, and keep tasting until we’d created a culinary masterpiece!
How to Find the Best Bangkok Cooking Class
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If you’re looking for a great Bangkok cooking class, watch the video and then read on to find your own perfect Thai cooking class.
If you want to find a great hotel, you use a hotel site like Booking.com, right? So, it makes sense that if you want to find the best cooking class in Bangkok, you use a site that’s completely dedicated to cooking courses.
That’s where Cookly comes in.
Cookly is dedicated to listing a wide range of cooking classes, not only in Bangkok, but around the world.
Before any class can be listed on Cookly, the team attends the class, meets the teachers, and makes sure that they deliver an exceptional experience. On Cookly, you can choose classes based on location, time, and category (like vegan and vegetarian).
Cookly was founded in Bangkok, so if you’re looking for a Bangkok cooking class, it’s the perfect place to start.
Here are five things to check before you book your cooking class.
- Location: Bangkok is a big city and it’s not easy to get anywhere. Try to find a class with a meeting point near you or at a convenient metro stop. Some schools even offer free pick-up from your hotel, so choose that option if you’re worried about finding your way.
- Time: Are you a morning person or a night owl? Classes start at different times of day, so you can choose your perfect time slot.
- Reviews: Cookly includes class reviews so it’s easy to find a well-reviewed and popular class.
- Class size: Do you want a personalized learning experience? Then check that the class you choose limits class size.
- Dietary options: If you have dietary restrictions, like vegan or gluten-free, check before you book to make sure the school can accommodate your needs.
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We had a great time with Chef Aey at her little home-based business in a quiet neighbourhood of Bangkok. Here’s what you can expect if you choose her class.
A brilliant teacher
No matter what kind of class you’re doing, whether it’s higher mathematics, surfing school, or a cooking class, the whole thing succeeds or fails on the strength of its teacher. Our leader for the day, Chef Aey, was personable, knowledgable, and committed to giving us a fun learning experience.
She has spent her life teaching tourists, first as a rock climbing instructor on Ko Phi Phi, then as a cooking instructor in a big school. From there, she decided she wanted to start her own small cooking activity in her home. During the three hours we spent with her, she entertained us and gave us a great foundation in Thai food and cooking.
A lesson in Thai food culture
Like many Asian cuisines, there is much more to Thai food than just eating. Chef Aey taught us the importance of balancing the five Thai flavours: salty, sweet, sour, spicy and creamy. We spent some time smelling, feeling, and tasting key Thai ingredients, like the four different kinds of ginger (yes, there are 4!), lemongrass, Thai basil, chilis, two kinds of lime, and coriander.
We learned that in Thai cooking, the four food groups means something a little different, at least to Chef Aey.
- Key ingredients. These are the ones you can’t make a particular dish without, like galangal, lemongrass, or Thai basil.
- Seasoning. This can change according to taste, and includes salt, chilis, and soy sauce.
- Decoration and filler. These are the food that aren’t really necessary but make a dish look more attractive. This one made me laugh because it includes vegetables! That’s so true of Thai food – veggies are almost always an afterthought.
- Protein. You can substitute the protein as much as you like in Thai food. It’s up to you whether you add meat, fish, tofu, or something else.
The delicious five-dish meal
Of course the very best part of our vegan Thai cooking class in Bangkok was the eating part!
Between the two of us, we made five dishes: Tom Yam Hed, a pungent clear soup with lemongrass, Thai basil, and mushrooms; Tom Ka Hed, coconut milk-based soup with mushrooms; the classic pad Thai, but without the eggs or shrimp; green curry; and delicious mango sticky rice for desert.
With Chef Aey instructing us on what to chop, when to turn the heat high and when to stir, everything was cooked perfectly — even the worst cook in the world could have done it!
I can honestly say this is the best Thai food we ate in Bangkok.
There were only three of us in the class, which meant that we could ask lots of questions, get more information on the aspects of Thai cuisine that interested us, and be sure to really learn how to cook the dishes on the menu.
Since both Stephen and I cook a lot and are pretty handy with a knife, we didn’t expect to learn all that much. However, Chef Aey taught us knife skills we’d never heard of before (do you know how to properly juice a lemon?), details about different foods we didn’t know (have you ever eaten finger ginger?), and interesting tidbits about Thai culture as it relates to food.
To be honest, there wasn’t much we didn’t love about this cooking class. Just one small thing…
We started the morning in the local market, which was off-the-beaten track enough that I got stares from many of the marketeers – tall, red-haired women obviously don’t frequent their market too often!
I would have liked to spend more time exploring the market stalls and learning about the strange assortment of foods on offer. There just wasn’t enough time to do that and learn to make all those amazing Thai dishes, too.
When: 9am & 1:30pm daily
Where: Bangkok, near Thailand Cultural MRT Station
Length: 3.5 hours
Menu: Menus varies day by day
What to bring: Your camera, an empty stomach!
Once you’ve seen Bangkok’s traffic, cycling in the city might not seem like the best idea. But, trust us, it is!
We did a bike and boat tour with Grasshopper and were treated to a cycling adventure down narrow alleyways, across tiny bridges, and through local neighbourhoods. After that, we got to hop into a canal boat to see the city from another side entirely.
We hope you find your perfect Bangkok cooking class using this guide! We had a great time learning to cook authentic Thai food and we’ll be putting those lessons to use as soon as we can find a kitchen!
♥ Happy mindful adventures, Jane & Stephen
We were guests of Cookly for this cooking class. Of course, we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! If you book or buy something using one of our personal links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Huge thanks in advance! –S&J