Monday, January 25, 2010


I've just finished a Thai cooking course with Zach and it was amazing! It was one that I found on my own, without the help of Lonely Planet, thankyouverymuch. I chose it partially because it's right around the corner from my guesthouse, partially because it's cheaper than the others (750 baht = $22.73), and partially because it wasn't in LP.

We were picked up from the guesthouse and taken to the Thai Orchid Cookery School. The day started out with coffee and choosing our dishes. In each of four categories (soup, appetizer, curry, and stir-fry), we got to pick one of three. I chose creamy tom yam soup, spring rolls, pork panang, and pad thai. For each course we did the prep work first, chopping ingredients and such at our individual workstations outside. Then we moved into the house where A, our instructor, would first show us the steps involved. She had a totally professional set-up and even had a mirror above her so that we could see everything she was doing. Afterwards, we'd move back outside so that we could cook the dish ourselves. Then came the eating! We had the first two dishes as breakfast and then we took a break to go to a local market to see what the ingredients look like in their raw form.

(A doing her thing)

A showed us herbs, vegetables, rice, fruits, sauces, noodles - basically everything we had used or would be using throughout the day. One particularly, well, let's say interesting, item was the century egg, aka

thousand years egg, aka horse pee egg. Yup, you read that correctly. These are preserved eggs and one myth states that they are made by soaking them in horse urine for 100 days. We cracked one open to see what it looks like and it certainly smells a bit like pee! Probably not something I'd willingly try. A was also very patient in answering all of our questions about various fruits and vegetables that we're not familiar with, so that was nice.

(Concentrating on cooking)

After the market, it was back to the school to prepare the final two dishes. Since Zach is vegetarian, A prepared each dish for us without using meat or meat products (oyster sauce and fish sauce), so that we could each taste both dishes. She also gave us ideas for substitutions for when certain ingredients aren't available or for when we just wanted to change up a dish for variety's sake. Rather than eat dishes three and four individually as we'd done for the earlier dishes, we ate the last two dishes together. Actually, I should say we feasted on the last two dishes. A's assistant had also prepared rice, so we had that in addition to what we'd cooked.

(The feast laid out before us)

As if all of this wasn't awesome enough, when we'd finally finished eating as much as we could possible stuff into our faces, A gave us a tote bag with a bound recipe book inside which included all of the recipes, not just the ones we'd made. It was such a great way to spend the day. Zach and I couldn't stop gushing about how much fun we were having and how interesting and educational it'd been. Let's do it again tomorrow!


  1. Sounds like fun!

    Other than that egg thing, I look forward to you preparing a Thai meal for us when you return!

    love ya,

  2. The cooking class sounds fabulous! The egg looked completely disgusting, but otherwise it sure sounds like you picked the right place. A would fit right in at our house. And how cool that she took you to the market, too?

  3. i just sent your blog lonk to some of my family members - they were very interested in your travels yesterday during my moms bday dinner. . . xoxoxL
    you are now on the hook to make us all a thai dinner upon your arrival home . . . in 9 months . . .

  4. The cooking class sounded very interesting.
    Did you actually eat that egg soaked in horse

  5. Mom - The egg isn't actually soaked in horse pee, that's just a myth, but no, I didn't eat it. Supposedly the taste is fairly bland, but I smelled it and I don't think I could get far enough past the smell to actually get it in my mouth. It smells very ammonia-y, kinda like, well, pee.

    Dad and Laura - You know I love to cook, so I'm all about cooking traditional Thai food for anyone who asks once I'm home. You're both okay with phet (spicy) food, right? :-)

  6. i will taste just about anything, but once my nose starts running and once i realize i am racing to finish my food and don't have enough water to wash it down with i will pass it to aaron ;) xoL