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Bangkok is a dream destination for serious foodies, and plenty of food lovers head to the Thai capital every year to experience its heavenly mix of everything from delicious Thai street food to impressively refined cuisine at Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants. The hungry, fussy-about-good-food nature of the Thai people coupled with the enormous size of Bangkok as a global metropolis and primate city mean that it is home to some of the very best Thai food to be found anywhere in Thailand, and it is easily the most recommendable destination for those keen on eating well to discover on their travels.
But it’s not just eating that happens here – Bangkok is also famous among gastronomes as a hub for Thai cooking classes, and Expique’s little sibling The Market Experience runs unrivalled Thai cooking classes in a dreamy, unparalleled location right inside Pak Khlong Talat 24-hour wholesale flower market. There are heaps of reasons to consider taking a Thai cooking class when you’re in Bangkok – if you’re visiting Thailand soon, here’s why we think a Thai cooking class in Bangkok is an essential part of your itinerary.
Thai food is known and loved the world over and, even if you’ve never visited Thailand before, chances are you already have a few favourite dishes. We’re going to go out on a limb and say that Thai cuisine gets a pretty poor showing in restaurants overseas, compared to in its birthplace, in terms of the variety of authentic dishes that are on offer – when you make it to Bangkok, you realise there’s a whole world of Thai meals you didn’t even know existed, and that many of them are better than the spring rolls you’ve been eating at restaurants in your home country.
Having said that, it’s true that we all have a special place in our heart for those dishes we tried when we sampled Thai food for the first time, even if they are truthfully not always the kind of thing Thais are actually chomping down on each day in Bangkok. So when you take a cooking class in Bangkok, it’s the perfect opportunity to pick up the skills and recipes (themselves usually better than frequently heavily adapted and often fairly questionable recipes you’ll find abroad) to make those comforting Thai favourites for yourself – whether it’s pad thai, green curry, or papaya salad – once you make it back home again.
What’s your favourite thing to order at your local Thai restaurant? Ask most people that question, and the answers are deathly predictable: pad thai, sweet-and-sour stir-fry, chicken and cashew nut stir-fry, green curry, massuman curry. And that’s not the diners’ fault: it’s the result of the fact that so many (yet by no means all) Thai restaurant menus overseas are hugely dumbed down and overly adapted to ‘foreign tastes’ that not much else makes it through.
Yet when you land in Thailand you find that, just as in so many other places around the world, the local cuisine – the stuff that real, ordinary, everyday people like you and we eat every day – is so unbelievably more varied than what you’re used to that it’s a revelation. Taking a cooking class in Bangkok (a good one like The Market Experience’s, at least, since they’re not created at all equally, and many suffer from exactly the same problem as those restaurant menus do overseas) is your chance to experience the enormous width and breadth of Thai cuisine, through all its regional and seasonal and other variations, and all the amazingly diverse dishes and flavours and aromas and textures and colours that come with it. Not just experience and taste it, either, but learn how to cook it like a pro so you can return home and replicate it any time you want.
Is it better to add the curry paste or the coconut milk to the pan first when making a Thai curry? How should you slice your meat to get the best flavour and texture from a namtok salad? These are the kind of questions you might want to ask someone with the knowledge of and experience in Thai cooking to be able to give you a reliable answer. Or they might be some of the tips you’re given by an expert Thai cook during your cooking class, without having previously even realised that they were things you needed to know.
Because while the ambience of being in Bangkok certainly plays a part in making all that delicious Thai food you eat here taste undeniably better than it does when you’re back home in the cold and wet, what’s also undeniable is the fact that these kind of little tweaks to your cooking technique also make a world of difference. See your Thai cooking class in Bangkok not just as a chance to make yourself a nice lunch and come away with a few recipes, but to really pick away at and tap into the knowledge of your Thai cooking instructor, who has built up that experience and expertise over decades and is as keen to share it with you as you are to benefit from it.
Even the briefest of wanders through a local Thai market in Bangkok will expose you to all manner of ingredients that you’ve never seen or even heard of before. And even when it comes to those ingredients that you’re familiar with and have perhaps already cooked with at home, taking part in a Thai cooking lesson in Bangkok gives you the chance to hear from the horse’s mouth how best to select, store, prepare and use them in order to achieve inimitable results in your Thai cooking. It’s not uncommon to find you’ve spent years preparing a specific ingredient not quite correctly – either because you’ve simply been making it up as you go along, or because you’ve picked up a faux technique from an overseas TV or celebrity chef who isn’t actually quite the expert they would have you think they are. And if you’ve been avoiding certain particularly intimidating ingredients in the aisles or chiller cabinets of your local Asian supermarket because you didn’t have the foggiest clue what to do with them, a Thai cooking class in Bangkok is your chance to change all that and elevate your Thai cooking prowess to the next level.
For more details on our cooking classes in Bangkok click here