Type ‘Chiang Mai cooking class’ into Google and you are welcomed open-armed by an endless list of Thai cooking schools, all eager and waiting to show you how to whip up a Pad Thai and wrap a Spring Roll.
Luckily for you, I have done the hard work and found an awesome cooking class that will not only have you grinning from ear to ear all day, will have you will leaving a Thai Masterchef!
Zabb-E-Lee is a cooking school based in Chiang Mai just outside of the Old City, making it super easy to get to. They also provide a free pick up and drop off service for those of you who don’t have transport.
Zabb-E-Lee cooking stations…
Which Chiang Mai cooking class to choose!?
When researching cooking classes in Chiang Mai, as well as options for half days, there were many options for full day classes too. Great! I thought at first, but on closer inspection, these classes were significantly more expensive, some around 2000 THB!
I weighed up the options here to see if the extra cost seemed worth it and with most only offering one or two extra dishes, it didn’t seem worth it.
Like many cooking schools, Zabb-E-Lee offer two daily classes; a morning class (which I did) from 9am-2pm and an afternoon class from 4pm-9pm. Both classes make you an expert in five dishes, with a cheeky team effort dessert thrown in there too!
The class was great value compared to others I saw and there was plenty of time to cook and most importantly eat(!) the dishes we had made, so I was pleased with my decision to stick to only half a day. Let me talk you through the day!
Spices at the local market…
Authentic Local Market
Our first stop was to jump in the van and take a visit to the local food market.
Our guide Art, (who was absolutely fantastic – more on him later!) took this opportunity to enlighten us into the world of Thai cooking and introduce us to many ingredients we hadn’t even seen before!
His knowledge was outstanding and he was clearly very passionate about cooking of his culture.
We chose our individual menus, bought our ingredients and with shopping bags in hand, we headed back to start our Chiang Mai cooking class.
Thailand Travel Essentials
One of the reasons I was drawn to this cooking class was the real variety of dishes on offer. So you choose one option from the four categories…
The Menu!…(My choices are in bold)
Soup: Hot and Sour Prawn Soup/ Coconut milk soup/ stuffed cabbage soup
Stir Fried : Pad Thai/ Cashew nut with chicken/ Hot and sour seafood
Appetiser: Spring Roll/ Thai fresh spring roll/ Papaya Salad
Curry Paste + Curry: Green Curry/ Massamun curry/ Khoa Soy/ Panang Curry
Mango and sticky rice (everyone does this!)
Who won the curry competition Tom?…ME!
Rolling the sticky rice for dessert…
Time to Cook!
We donned our aprons, stood ready at our cooking stations and was thoroughly entertained by Art and his quirky style of teaching for the rest of the afternoon! The organisation and delivery of the cooking was seamless, I really couldn’t fault it:
– Clear (and hilarious) demonstrations meant recipes were easy to follow.
– Small class sizes made the class really interactive.
-We each had our own cooking station for preparing and cooking area
-The ingredients were ready for us, although we still got the experience of chopping and prepping them.
-All hands on deck from the hard working staff meant maximum cooking and eating time(!) for us!
Delicious if I do say so myself…
Time to Eat!
When it was time to sample our creations the whole experience was great;
-The table was beautifully set out
-Our eating breaks were a great time to be sociable and interact with other travellers
-The portions sizes were super generous!
–Complimentary drinks: ice water and hot drinks
-It was great knowing that we were eating local, fresh ingredients
-If you couldn’t finish each meal, the staff packed it for you to take home
Fresh, local ingredients…
We left with very full bellies (and more stashed in our backpacks for later) and with a great knowledge of cooking Thai dishes.
The recipe book we were given was a great touch to help us recreate these delicious recipes at home.
Art also gave us contact details with an open offer for any questions or queries when we are giving these recipes a try!
That recipe book will definitely come out when I am home – after seeing my cooking class photos lots of people have put in their orders already!
If you are looking for an authentic Chiang Mai cooking class, I guarantee you will not be disappointed with Zabb-E-Lee!
You can find more info and book here: http://www.zabbeleecooking.com