After reading several reviews on TripAdvisor we decided to contact Angsana for a Thai Cooking Class. She had great communication and fixed us up for a Friday morning.
At 9:30am the taxi dropped us off at On Nut skytrain station where Angsana met us. She drove us in her personal car to the nearby local wet markets where we discussed menu and proceeded to shop for the ingredients. She was very forthcoming in answering any questions and discussing what to look for when buying the produce.
When choosing a cooking class I highly recommend a morning one where you can visit the markets and see the locals in action. It was so great having someone explain everything we saw. Especially when we saw a giant bucket of turtles and I wondered out loud if Thai people ate turtle? Our host kindly informed me that the turtles are for offerings, that if you release them into the water you are guaranteed good luck that day.
There was a wide variety of fresh fish, eels, frogs, chicken. I mean fresh. The fish were still twitching and flopping on their ice trays. The eels were still swimming in buckets of water and the frogs were unsuccessfully leaping under a net covered bucket.
The smells were also intoxicating. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Mountains of garlic and chilli's. And for our Thai Green Curry freshly grated coconut to make our very own coconut milk from. Or you can buy boxed coconut millk from the market too.
With our arms laden with bags of food, we got back in the car and were driven to Angsana's simple home. This is no Bali home with multiple levels and jungle views; it was a simple, lived-in house with a fairly large kitchen out the back.
We got to work straight away on our menu. First was Sticky Rice Banana in banana leaves. We also made a Thai Green Curry & Pineapple Fried Rice.
It was a private lesson with the smiling and chatty Angsana in her home kitchen. She had lived in the US for a few years teaching Thai cooking before moving back to Thailand. We had a great time discussing cultural differences and food.
I remember her telling one story about how the majority of homes run in Bangkok. Those working in the city, who have children, generally leave the kids with the grandparents, out in the country, and see them maybe once a week. They take care of the grandparents financially who then take care of the children. What a fascinating family model. How I would miss my children!
During one story I was munching on a raw carrot stick and she asked if it was nice? I was shocked to learn she had never eaten raw carrot and we shared this is a great snack in our house regularly. She revealed that Thai people don’t eat salad. They like to cook everything and never eat raw vegetables. And Thai people are slim - it is so fascinating to me the different views on 'eating raw' and yet here is a people who never do.
Once everything was cooked, Josh and I sat down to eat while Angsana printed off the recipes for us. I would have loved her to join us, but she politely declined. We were mighty pleased with ourselves and were quite predictably stuffed afterwards. We didn't eat all the dishes and Angsana was prepared with bags and boxes for us to take our left overs home, including any ingrediants we hadn't used.
I couldn’t help compare this experience with our cooking class in Ubud, Bali. For a social person like me I liked the class in Bali with 20 or so others all sharing the tasks and eating the food, chatting and laughing. Josh, being the complete opposite (introvert) delighted in the privacy and intimacy this one-on-one class offered.
For 2 or more people the class is 2000 baht ($62AUD) per person including ingredients, recipes and market trip. This was also a lot more than our Bali cooking class, but rightly so considering it was one-on-one and probably equatted to at least 6 meals, not just 2.
We have since cooked the Thai Green Curry in our own kitchen with much success and I cannot wait to impress people with our Pineapple Fried Rice! There is so much to choose from that this personalized tour is worth its weight in gold. There are example dishes on Angsana’s website that she learnt from her mother and now teaches others to cook. You get to choose three from the list or ask her if you have something specific you’d like to learn.
Angsana revealed afterwards she does not usually cook like this for her family, as Western food is so much faster and easier. In complete fairness, this may be so, but there is no way it tastes as good as the Thai food we prepared!
A great adventure to be had in Bangkok from 9:30am to about 1:30pm. Children are welcome, but I’d suggest if you have toddlers to leave them with a babysitter or daycare so you can focus on perfecting your chopping skills.
We love cooking, but more importantly we love eating. Check out some of our other Thailand Delicacies!