Travel

Phuket, Thailand: Phuket Thai Cookery School

I don’t know why I never included a stop at a cooking school in all my travels, it’s the funnest and yummiest thing! It’s also a great way to meet fellow travelers who share a common interest. Of all the schools I could’ve gone to, I’m so glad I went to Phuket Thai Cookery School – classes here are ranked number one in Trip Advisor’s classes and workshops on the island and when I was there, the school staff were elated about the Trip Advisor certificate that was proudly on display.

Transfers can be arranged and you’ll first be taken to a meet-up point near the wet market where a teacher from the school will be waiting for you. A cooking class that starts at the wet market – how legit! Take a look at what I found.

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Look how large those beans are! Cool beans.

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Chilies are a pillar of Thai cooking, I think. You know I like it hot but these guys take it to a whole new level.

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Clockwise from L-R: Tiny eggplants (!), even tinier eggplants (!!), miniature watermelon (!!!), blue iris used to naturally dye food blue.

Protein. (Frog!)

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Various dried foodstuff.

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I didn’t know pickling was a big part of Thai cuisine. Here are some assorted kinds sold in the market for the home cook’s convenience.

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And another one of Thai cooking’s pillars – curry paste!

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I thought this was quite beautiful ❤️

Before heading to the school, our teacher James led us to a colorful snack stall to pick up stuff we can munch on before classes start. Oh, the excitement!

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I can’t recall what Teacher James was talking about here. From the looks of it, maybe the effects of too much snacking?

Phuket Thai Cookery School is on Siray beach. Yes, it’s by a beach.

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At the far end is a lounge space close to the water for when you are in a food coma which I guarantee will happen even if you skip breakfast.

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The food coma starts with the snacking situation.

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Fruits in season: longgong (lanzones), longgan, rambutan, mangosteen, and one I forget but is very similar in taste and texture to persimmon. Yuhuhum.

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Various rice cakes, jellies, shoestring sweet potatoes and taro. So pretty and delish!

This is me with my lovely dates on this trip, writer Sally Shoult who is based in Singapore and Elaine Seah from Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Singapore office. We are grinning and giddy about snacking here because we are clueless about the amount of food headed our way.

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Class was comprised of five different dishes. We started with dessert because it had to go in the steamer and cook for a while. Here’s the entire class gathered around the ka nom kluay or steamed banana cakes station.

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That stapler sticks out like a sore thumb! It was used in making the banana leaf molds.

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While those steamed away, we were led to a classroom to watch Teacher Get and Teacher James demonstrate the rest of the dishes.

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From here on, it was back and forth from the classroom to our respective kitchen stations after every demo. And we ate every dish we made right away. Every dish was at least two servings. At least! Oh god, I can feel food coming out of my nose just thinking about this class. But it was amazing food darn it and I made it all myself which was really satisfying.

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Khao pad poo or fried rice with crabmeat. This is a really versatile preparation that you can easily adjust with whatever ingredients you have at home but a unique point in this dish is the use of Maggi seasoning sauce which I totally thought was one of those MSG-laden things but turns out it’s not! I shall sub with soy sauce.

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Tom yung goong or Thai hot and sour prawn soup. Oh my god, divine. Flavors were so well-balanced and the heat was as subtle as a brick to my face. (Heat level can be adjusted to taste.) I got such a kick out of making this and thought the class was worth it just for this soup alone.

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Kai pad med ma muang or chicken with cashew nuts. Cashew nuts are a famous local product of Phuket and they added some delicious nuttiness to this mildly spiced stir-fry.

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Geang massamun gai or massamun curry with chicken. The southern region of Thailand where Phuket is located is renowned for curry and this seems to be a favorite. I’m sure this was delicious. The little I tasted while making it was quite good. I don’t know. My stomach was wildly rejecting food at this point so I donated my bowl to the school staff.

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Besides, I needed a breather to prepare for dessert. The banana cakes were done steaming by then and had turned into soft and springy mounds of goodness.

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What I absolutely love about Thai desserts is that it’s almost never too sweet and there’s almost always a bit of saltiness. It’s what made me fall head over heels for mango sticky rice last year.

Aside from the food baby that you will take home, a down side to this cooking class is that it will ruin most Thai restaurants in Manila for you. I actually went out to eat Thai food the other day because I missed it so much and everything was utterly disappointing. That probably speaks more about that particular restaurant than anything but I find that aside from Benjarong and People’s Palace, really good Thai food is hard to come by in the metro. Everything is much too sweet and the all-important balance is way off. I think a few new Thai restaurants have popped up though and if you could recommend a good one, I’d love to know.

Or we could just make our own! On my next post, I will recreate one of these dishes at home and hold your hand through it step by step. Because look at me:

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That would be a gross exaggeration. Thank god for recipe cards.

Phuket Thai Cookery School is located at 39/4 Thepatan Rd. Rasada, Phuket Town, Phuket 83000, Thailand. Everything you need to know about the school here.

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