Should you find yourself captivated by the complexity of Thai food consider a lesson in Thai cooking. Bangkok has excellent options for both beginners and advanced cooks. Here are a few of our favorites to add to your travel itinerary.
Silom Thai Cooking School (68 Trok Walai Alley; www.bangkokthai.cooking.com; tel. 084726-5669; classes from 900B) squeezes in a market trip to stock up on produce with instructions, techniques, and tips for preparing six dishes. Familiar dishes are on the menu so get ready to master the perfect fried rice, pad Thai, and green curry. The open-air classroom is relaxed and the teachers are engaging and energetic. Morning and afternoon sessions are available.
Oriental Thai Cooking School (www.mandarinoriental.com; 48 Oriental Avenue; tel. 02659-9000; classes from 4,000B) opened its doors at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in 1986 and was the first cooking class in Bangkok. Courses cover four dishes and they’re lead by the charismatic chef Narain Kiattiyotcharoen. Like the hotel, the class and setting is five-star and ends with lunch presented at the beautiful Sala Rim Naam restaurant. The one drawback is that cooking is done in groups of three, so advanced cooks might find sharing a wok to be tedious. Weekend sessions include a market visit.
Blue Elephant Thai Cooking School (www.blueelephant.cookingschool.com; 233 South Sathorn Road; tel. 02673-9353; classes from 3,300B) is the most impressive culinary class in town. Programs are jam-packed with information and there is a particular emphasis on royal Thai cuisine. Morning sessions include a market trip while the afternoon lessons spend a bit more time explaining different types of Thai ingredients. Classes are fast-moving and students work at individual stations.
Bangkok Bold Cooking Studio (www.bangkokbold.com; 257 Charoen Nakhon Road; tel. 0988290-4310; classes from 2,500B). The restaurant by the same name is run by culinary heavyweights whose resumes include stints at Nahm (p. ###) and the Four Seasons, so classes here are a bit more advanced (but beginner sessions are available). The charming Old Town setting makes this a popular choice for guests staying near the river.
Cooking with Poo & Friends (www.cookingwithpoo; tel. 080434-8686) runs cooking classes that include market tours. Chef Poo, the owner of an unfortunate nickname for someone in the food industry, grew up in the slums near the Klong Toey market and holds classes (1,500B per person) in her old neighborhood; class fees include transportation.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.