Cooking classes can be a cool way to experience the local food, and meet new people, while having fun making local delicacies. I needed some convincing at first, “but I can cook at home?!” I figured I’d give it a go; I’ll try anything once! I’ve now done plenty, and want to share what I loved about each place.
Easy cooking, Thailand:
I was collected from the hostel, and we went to the markets. She showed us some of the herbs and vegetables we would be using, and then left us to potter. My insides did backflips when I saw a bag of live frogs.
She took us to her house, which was set up for us to cook under an open sided shelter, and we had a great time. I learnt to make spring rolls, pad Thai, Tom yum soup, Penang curry, annnnd mango sticky rice! We ate each course at a low table in her dining room, which was so nice.
It was cool learning how to make these Thái specialties, and how quick and easy they are to make! She also taught us a little bit about her culture, which added to the experience.
Moustache cooking class, Lisbon:
This takes place in the fabulous Good Morning Hostel, and is €10 to partake. It’s probably the best €10 I’ve ever spent. Their renowned moustachioed chef comes in a few times a week, to teach even the most useless cooks a thing or two. Plied with far too much sangria, we learnt to make seafood rice.
He had premade chocolate salami, which is pretty much cream, chocolate, and smashed up biscuits. To date, it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten. I’ve seen it since, but it’s never been as good. We had a slice each…most people didn’t want theirs, so I ate half the log.
I probably wouldn’t recommend doing this, plus drinking a litre of sangria before a 6am flight. Just saying…but if you’d love to learn a bit about Portuguese cooking, this is a good start!
Thai Cottage, Thailand:
Back for round two, I convinced my sister we should do a Thai cooking class. I liked this one, as they also operate as a training centre for students learning to run their own classes. They helped to prep and learn more about teaching.
I opted to make different things to last time, so settled on a coconut chicken soup, banana spring rolls, Khao soi, chicken stir fry, and coconut banana dessert.
Our instructor was so great, telling us “spicy means sexy, more spicy more sexy”, and making us dance as we stirred our creations. We had such a good time, and waddled our way back to the hostel.
Eco Mau Bay cooking class, Hoi An:
After we enjoyed the Thai class so much, my sister and I decided to do a Vietnamese one too. The company collected us from the hostel, amidst not a downpour, but literally an open sky.
We swam through the markets, and then laughed our way down the river in basket boats. We even learnt to fish! Our boat driver spun us in circles, luckily before, not after, our huge feast! She thought it was hilarious. Our stomachs, not so much.
I learnt to make fresh spring rolls, after being shown how to make rice milk, to then make rice paper. I also learnt how to make a Vietnamese stirfry, shrimp pancake, and pho, which was delicious!
Nary Kitchen, Battambang:
Cambodian food is delicious, and Battambang is the place to learn more about it! Nary Kitchen offers a class for $10 USD, which is so much cheaper than classes offered in Siem Reap, which are about $25.
A trip to the Cambodian markets is not for the weak stomached, but is very eye opening. The food can easily be adapted for vegetarians, and is fun to make. Our teacher was hilarious, and so helpful. Fish amok, spring rolls, luk lak and dessert makes for a very full stomach! Check out my recommendations for Battambang and more on the cooking class here.
Cooking classes are such a good way to learn more about the food you’re eating (or should be trying!) in new countries. They are a great way to meet people, and connect with the locals. I take every chance I can now to do them, and you should too!