The answer is…a COOKING CLASS. Learning to cook in another country is an amazing way to gain an insider view of the location. The classes are taught by locals who educate you (in a fun way) about the types of foods that are prevalent in that country, eating etiquette and a whole bunch of other stuff indirectly (like culture, language and history). What can I say? Food brings people together.
During my trip to Thailand, I spent $50 and cooked (and ate) a three-course meal at Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts (SITCA). The class was recommended on Trip Advisor, and was right in downtown Chaweng on the island of Koh Samui. We learned a ton and got to keep a book of recipes.
What we made (and, ultimately…ate):
- Homemade yellow Curry paste
- Yellow Curry with Chicken
- Glass noodle soup with soft tofu (my fave)
- Deep fried fish with turmeric
The class was three hours long, but it felt like 30 minutes by the end of it. Plus, it was my favorite meal in all of Thailand – yes, even better than all the street food. I CAN’T BELIEVE I EVEN SAID THAT, OMGZ.
We also learned a ton about the produce of Thailand. Ok that sentence sounds super boring…but I think it’s so cool to be mind-blown by what is considered incredibly normal. We heard about galangal (a version of ginger), Thai basil, kaffir lime leaves and a bunch of other items that just screamed Thai Flavors to me. It was like…mystery solved.
Hot peppers were a conundrum while I was visiting Thailand…I usually stayed away from them so as not to make a major scene in public if I got a really hot one by accident, but our chef, Rose, let us in on a trick. The general rule is that the small red peppers are hotter than small green peppers, and big green peppers are hotter than big red peppers. #TheMoreYouKnow
I want to do this whole class again. I wish I did one in Bangkok as well. There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than taking a break from sightseeing and spending some time in the kitchen.
P.S. – We did the whole class without shoes. SURPRISE.