Whoever came up with the saying, ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’, must have been to Thailand. A land where people greet one another with ‘Gin khoa reu yang?” – translating literally to “Did you eat rice yet?” – it’s evident we are talking about a nation of food lovers. And, with som tam and tom kha kai on the menu, who can blame them?
Although we may think of Thai food as one cuisine, we are so very wrong. Varying hugely from the east to the west and the north to the south, there are actually many regional cuisines, each one hugely influenced by the closest neighboring country – Burma to the northwest, China and Laos to the north, Malaysia to the East and Thailand to the South.
If you don’t know your pad thai from your mi krop, fret not, Thailand is awash with wonderful cooking schools to incorporate into your trip – what better souvenir than returning home with a new skill to impress your nearest and dearest, after all.
Black Tomato’s Top Five Thai Cooking Schools
1. Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School
We all love a celebrity chef and this school is run by Thailand’s very own star cook, Sompon Nabnian, a wealth of knowledge on all things culinary. It was also the first culinary school to be set up in Chiang Mai so they really do know their stuff.
2. Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
Come here if only for the surroundings of the classes themselves – set in beautiful gardens where all the ingredients are grown, you can take a breather from lovably lunatic Bangkok and cook in peace.
3. Silom Thai Cooking School
Silom Cooking School takes you to an outdoor market before your classes to pick up your produce, so you gain the local knowhow on picking the best ingredients as well as finally learning about the unidentifiable ones that you so often see in Asian markets!
4. Baan Thai Cookery School
In Baan Thai, you can choose the dishes you want to learn to make rather than the school making the decision for you. Democracy is always a good thing, plus it means you’re more likely to rustle up the dishes you’ve learned when you return to reality.
5. Pum Thai Restaurant & Cooking School
Pum Thai’s school cater for time-poor beginners to dedicated aficionados, offering a variety of courses from a quick half-hour class to learn one dish to a day-long one-to-one intensive so you can learn to work your wok just like her.