I love food. Not just love, but LOVE. Often my first thoughts waking up in the morning are ‘What am I going to eat today?’. If you ask me what my favourite thing I did that day was, it’s generally the meal I ate. It may not be the best activity for my waistline, but I figure that life is too short to pass up the opportunity to eat delicious food – especially whilst travelling.
Put simply, most foods are best enjoyed in their country of origin. The first time we came to Thailand four years I discovered Green Thai Curry and fell in love. On our return home, I tried to recreate it many times but without the knowledge of the exact ingredients and it just never tasted the same. Even ordering it at Thai restaurants was never the same – so I decided to wait, hoping to make it back to Thailand one day and enjoy it once again.
Needless to say I have eaten it just about every day since I’ve been back in Phuket and it’s just amazing! I was determined to finally learn the secret to making it and decided that a cooking class was definitely something I had to do whilst here.
Now I’m no MasterChef, but I do love to and enjoy cooking. I feel as though it’s been months since I’ve cooked a proper meal. Leading up to leaving Perth, we had packed up half the kitchen and were trying to save money – therefore eating out a lot and having instant meals as opposed to making something beautiful and fresh from scratch. Since being away – well, does boiling a kettle to make instant noodles count as cooking? Because that’s about all I’ve done in the last few months!
I came across Kata Thai Cooking Class on TripAdvisor – they were rated the #1 cooking class in Phuket. Normally that kind of ‘prestige’ equates to an inflation in price, but I was surprised to learn that the cooking class was quite reasonably priced. Even better, there was a promotion for September with a 600 baht ($23 AUD) discount off the usual price. The fantastic website listed all the different classes available, and specified what was cooked in each class. This is what won me over, as I knew what I wanted to cook and there was the perfect class on offer – something that not a lot of other cooking schools actually outlined.
As it’s low season at the moment in Thailand, I was pleasantly surprised to arrive at the cooking school to learn that it was just myself and one other foreigner taking the class – this meant more food, right?! The kitchens were cosy, with a ‘classroom’ set up with a long table and each student being given a chopping board, knives, apron and bandana with the instructors table at the front. Everything was clean, and smelt wonderful, with all the beautiful fresh produce laid out to see.
Sally takes all the classes at Kata Thai and was a wonderful instructor. She spoke perfect English which is always a winner. Sally took us through the recipes, introducing each of the ingredients and explaining how they are used in Thai cooking, what substitutes we could use back home if we are unable to find the original ingredient, and letting us try each one in it’s fresh, raw state. Sally demonstrated how to prepare the ingredients, then let us go for gold in preparing our own recipes.
The menu was Green Thai Curry, Chicken and Cashew Nut (my second favourite Thai dish), Thai Fried Rice and we even cooked a bonus dish – Mango with Sticky Rice! We would prepare the fresh ingredients for each dish, move to the kitchen and cook at our own stations and then return to the classroom to enjoy our meals. All our leftovers were all packaged up for us to take home to enjoy, along with the recipes for each. The cooking class took around 2.5 hours, and with just the two of us we were able to enjoy a lovely slow pace, chatting about food and cooking and travel.
It is definitely the highlight so far of my time in Thailand – cooking and eating amazing food, what could be better? And not to blow my own trumpet, but my dishes tasted pretty amazing – actually the best food I’ve had in Thailand so far. Maybe I could enter MasterChef after all?!
I highly recommend Kata Thai Cooking Class if you’re ever in Phuket. Sally was fantastic, would check on all your work and keep an eye on you in the kitchen, even helping out with multi-tasking. The class is located in Kata Beach, just a 15 minute drive from Patong. Whilst the promotional price may not always be on offer, even at full-price I found her classes to be cheaper than the average cooking class and being able to pick what you wish to cook is a massive bonus.
So you don’t miss out completely, I’ve included two of the recipes I learnt for you to enjoy at home – you can download the PDF below.