If there’s one thing that unites Thais above almost all else, it’s their love of food.
Thankfully visitors to Siamese shores can taste some of this love for themselves by indulging in one (or more!) of the many cooking classes in Bangkok.
The Importance of Thai Cuisine
The experience of preparing and eating food is vital to Thai culture. Thai cuisine helps maintain traditions, culture and community, and reflects the heart and soul of the Thai people.
Since the thirteenth century when the roots of traditional Thai (Siamese) cuisine were established, Eastern culinary influences from Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Laos, India, Malaysia, Japan and Indonesia — and more recently the West — have played an important role in creating the culinary fusion we think of as modern Thai food.
If you want to read more about the history and development of the Thai cuisine, read our guide on the fundamentals of Thai food.
Food is the focal point of any and all social events here, and it’s guaranteed to delight the senses. Each dish is a rich yet delicate balance of the five flavours in Thai cooking; salty, spicy, sour, sweet and bitter. Dishes are lovingly prepared like works of art, making them a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.
It’s almost impossible for Westerners to fully appreciate Thai culture without experiencing their cuisine — not only the heavenly tastes and smells, but also the intricacies of food preparation and presentation, plus the collective pleasures of sharing food as a social event.
We think the best way to do this is by taking part in a Thai cooking class.
Here’s the scoop on some of the best cooking classes in town…
The Best Cooking Classes in Bangkok
Five years ago Khun Poo rose up from the Bangkok slums of Klong Toey to create one of the finest cookery schools in the city. Her positivity in overcoming hardship can be seen in her enthusiasm and the popularity of her Thai cooking classes.
This is grassroots Thai cooking, and during a class you can expect to master four different classic dishes. You will also experience life within the Klong Toey community and shop for ingredients at the market where you will learn about the local Thai produce which you will be cooking with in your class afterwards.
Classes are suitable for beginners upward and last half a day – with pickup from 08:30 and drop off around 13:00 – and cost 1,500 THB per person. The price is inclusive of transport, market tour, cooking class, all ingredients and printed recipe cards to take home with you.
Despite — or maybe because of — the kooky name, Cooking with Poo is perhaps the most popular Thai cooking class in Bangkok. We can’t get enough of the aprons, adorned with:
I cooked with Poo and I liked it.
Baipai Thai Cooking School is accredited by Thailand’s Ministry of Education, and classes are taught in a leafy oasis near Chatuchak, just outside of the hustle and bustle of central Bangkok in a traditional Thai wooden open-air house.
This setting lends a relaxed and homely vibe to the Bangkok cooking class experience, and the qualified instructors are professional and friendly.
Depending on whether you decide to go in the morning or afternoon there’s a choice of two different menus, each of which consists of four tasty traditional Thai dishes such as Hot ‘n Sour Prawn Soup and Stir-fried Pork with Basil Leaves.
A half day cooking class (suitable for beginners) costs 2,200 THB per person and includes a complimentary Shuttle pick up service from central Bangkok hotels and all use of equipment and ingredients for the class.
The small groups (no more than 8) at Chef LeeZ Thai Cooking School means each student gets the individual attention they need, and the fact that this cooking school is currently ranked #1 on TripAdvisor is testimony to the fantastic overall experience it offers.
Chef Lee started learning to cook with her grandmother when she was 5, and she’s passionate about sharing the secrets of creating gourmet Thai cuisine. She even has her own ‘educational garden’ where students can see how the raw ingredients used in Thai dishes are grown.
She teaches all classes at her Bangkok cooking class, and can speak Thai, Laos, English and Mandarin.
Classes are fun and informative and there are options for vegans, vegetarians and those with other dietary requirements.
A group class lasts half a day and there are 12 dishes to master in a professionally equipped stainless steel, air conditioned kitchen – and all for the price of 2,200 THB.
The Thai cooking class at Sompong Original Thai Cooking School takes place in a welcoming, home style learning environment. Classes include an introduction to Thai ingredients, curry paste making and a tour of the local market, as well as a full colour Thai cook book of the recipes you have learned to make to take home as a souvenir of the experience.
The well organised classes take place in the morning, and menus vary depending upon the day of the week. During the market tour students can taste, touch & smell ingredients to learn about them before using them in the class. The staff love what they do and they share their knowledge of Thai culture, ingredients and cuisine with enthusiasm.
Students will learn how to cook five different Thai dishes as part of the half day course which costs only 1,000 THB per person.
Taking part in a Thai cooking class in Bangkok is a great way to inject a dose of culture into your life, and feed your soul as well as your body.
What’s your favourite cooking school in Bangkok?