So far, In Asia, I got to take cooking classes in Vietnam and India and enjoyed the experiences very much. That’s why, before flying out to Thailand, I decided to look up a Thai cooking class with a special twist. After a lot of internet research, I came across a cooking class at a culinary school belonging to Expique, in Bangkok. What excited me about the class was that it was held at a flower market and included a tour of the market as well as a somewhat less traditional take on Thai cooking.
I booked Roman and I a spot for a 09:00AM cooking class.
How to get there?
You arrive at the Pak Khlong Talat flower market and go in. About half way through, you’ll see a pink ATM next to a flight of stairs. You go up those, there you’ll find a sign pointing the way to the cooking class.
Cooking class in Bangkok’s flower market
We arrived at class and met one of the instructors, Tam, who is a professional chef who’s worked in Australia for 10 years. Tam told us a bit about the class and the market’s history. The flower market has a long history, it used to be a floating market, then became a fish market and was later converted into today’s produce market, selling fruit, vegetables and more for over 60 years.
The market’s focus shifted from produce to flowers when the Talat market on the outskirts of Bangkok became a more attractive location for wholesale production. He taught us all manner of important expressions in Thai, such as “Sugar free” or “Mildly Spicy”.
We were a small group, including me, Roman and three very nice girls from Singapore. We gathered in a room and sat down at a table. Tam offered us butterfly tea, which is hugely popular in Thailand. It’s a very dark looking tea that turns purple when you add lemon to it.
The timetable for our class was making an appetizer, a tour of the market and then 3 additional dishes.
Making the first dish in cooking class
For starters, we prepared an appetizer called Miang Kham, to start the morning off with something tasty. The process took place outside of the room, where we had a view of the market. We met the other instructor, Alyssa, who’s also a professional chef and had spent several years working in Europe. Both Tam and she were really nice and spoke excellent English Alissa gave each of us cutting and cooking jobs to prepare the dish.
She told us about the ingredients and offered possible replacements for the ones we don’t have back home. The appetizer was a mix of flavors – sweet, bitter, salty and sour. We put all the different ingredients on a leaf of lettuce, dipped them in a sauce we made and ate them in a single bite.
Tour of the flower market
After making the appetizer we went for a tour of the market with Alyssa. She gave us a tour of the food portion of the market. While the market is wholesale and sells to hotels, restaurants and more – tourists can shop there as well. Alissa told us more about the ingredients we saw and bought a few of them for the cooking class. During the tour, we came across a stall selling “butterfly tea”, so Roman and I bought some to bring back to Israel with us, as did the girls from Singapore. The tour lasted an overall of about 30 minutes, then we went back to the lesson.
Making the rest of the dishes in cooking class
For the second dish we made a fruit salad with a twist. We cut many fruits and put them in a bowl, then made ground pork cooked with garlic and mixed it in. I know it sounds a bit odd, but it was very good. The sweet and salty flavors complimented each other. If you have certain food intolerances or foods you avoid, it’s no problem to notify the chefs when booking the class and they’ll accommodate accordingly. When the fruit salad was done, we placed it in an Pineapple shell and ate it.
Then we moved on to the next to dishes, Curry cream (You can choose between green curry, which isn’t as spicy, and a red one) and Pad Thai.
Each of us had a station with all the needed ingredients. Alissa stood at the head of the table and showed us what to do, and we cooked according to her guidance. Tam helped us, and another instructor joined to help with the preparation. The Pad Thai we prepared with purple noodles and it turned out to be a very pretty dish.
When the two dishes were done, we went over to a set table and got a glass of coconut juice and a place of rice for the curry, each. We all sat at the table together, Roman and I, the three girls from Singapore, Tam and Alissa.
It felt like a restaurant dinner with friends. We sat and chatted and got to know each other better, and in addition to the great atmosphere, the food itself was amazing!!! The curry cream was the best of all curry dishes I had in Thailand (And I got to have many).
Everything was made from fresh materials and seeing as Tam and Alissa are chefs, they put a lot of effort and attention to detail into the preparation. The Pad Thai was amazing, and just the sweetness and spiciness I like (It’s nice to be able to taste the food as you’re cooking and adjust it to your tastes).
Things we liked about the class
- Tam and Alyssa were super professional and nice
- The dishes we made were delicious and colorful
- The tour of the market was interesting, and it was nice to take it with a local who knows the place well
- The recipes were mailed to us as an organized e-book
- The experience of cooking in the flower market was really fun and created a unique atmosphere. We really liked the location.
- The lesson was meticulously planned, and you could tell everything was accounted for, down to the smallest of details.
Tips and notes on the class
- The class took about 5 hours, including the tour and the meal. At the end of it we got a mail with all the recipes we made (And possible replacements for ingredients you might not find elsewhere) as well as video guides to making the dishes.
- You should come hungry. We personally didn’t have breakfast, and a good thing we didn’t. But if you do decide to eat first, I’d recommend keeping the meal to a minimum as the food during class is both filling and delicious.
- There are no prerequisites regarding knowledge or cooking skill. Tam and Alissa are there to help at every point – everything is explained and shown in a pleasant and calm manner.
- Try to arrive at the market a few minutes early. You might need a bit of time to find the location the class is held at – so don’t worry about it.
- If you have any food intolerances or avoid certain ingredients, let them know when booking the class.
To summarize the class
If you’re looking to do something cool in Bangkok, have a local experience at the market, combined with great food you learn to make yourself – This is the perfect cooking class.