Part of the joy of any visit to Thailand is the chance to eat authentic Thai food. Whether it’s at a humble street stall, a family run restaurant or a high-end establishment, sampling tasty Thai food is all part of the Thailand experience. And for those of you who just can’t get enough of a good thing, treat yourself to a Thai cooking class and learn how to recreate your favourite Thai dishes in your own kitchen. We’ve put together some suggestions below, but there are many more Thai cooking schools just as good as these to choose from.
Bangkok: Blue Elephant Cooking School
The Blue Elephant restaurant and cooking school is housed in a historic building that dates back to the early 1900s. Lovingly renovated in 2002, this is an elegant setting for anybody looking to unlock some of the secrets to creating quality Thai dishes. Located adjacent to Surasak BTS Skytrain station in Bangkok, the cooking school is open on weekday mornings while the Blue Elephant restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
Bangkok: Cooking with Poo
Yes, it’s true; you really can cook with Poo in Bangkok! Poo is a common name (it means crab) in Thailand and is the nickname of Saiyuud Diwong, the chef behind a cookery school in Klong Toey, one of Bangkok’s most deprived areas. Poo has an inspiring back-story behind her cookery school. The Thai woman worked a number of low-paid jobs and struggled to support her family before turning to cooking for a living. With the backing of an Australian NGO and the support of local residents, Poo set up her small business selling home-cooked food. It took years of hard work, but Poo has now diversified and built up a successful cookery school for local residents and tourists.
Bangkok: Courageous Kitchen
With the motto, ‘leaders in the kitchen are leaders in the community’, Courageous Kitchen helps children learn the life skills needed so that they can go on to become leaders in their communities. Courageous Kitchen uses their cooking classes and food tours as a force for good by helping to educate and empower vulnerable youngsters living in Bangkok. Choose a combined cooking class and market tour or find out how to make Thai noodles. And if you are travelling as a family or have children, Courageous Kitchen has a cooking class that is ideal.
Bangkok: Expique the Market Experience
The well-respected Expique run their cooking classes from their base at Bangkok’s colourful flower market. Under the brand “The Market Experience”, Expique offers introductory Thai cooking classes that range from between 1-4 hours. These are an excellent introduction to cooking Thai food and will also enable you to learn more about Thai culture at the same time. If you choose the signature “Thai Cooking with a Twist” class you will learn how to prepare Thai dishes when you get back home with practical tips on how to adapt recipes to use ingredients available in the UK and Ireland.
Chiang Mai: Grandma’s Home Cooking School
Enjoy the rustic setting at Grandma’s Home Cooking School where you can learn to cook tasty Thai food. The school is located on an organic farm in a village in the Saraphi district, around 20 minutes south of Chiang Mai city centre.
Guests cook at their own individual station which is set up in the open-sided Thai pavilions. The class includes a trip to a local market before returning to the organic farm where you will learn about the herbs and vegetables used in Thai cooking before picking them yourself. In keeping with the farm setting you will also be able to collect fresh chicken eggs. Options are available for visitors who would like to cook gluten free or halal dishes.
Chiang Mai: Pra Nang Cookery School
Located a few miles outside of Chiang Mai city centre, Pra Nang Cookery School provides cooking classes in an atmospheric wooden Thai house. Learn how to make a number of classic Thai dishes in addition to speciality local dishes such as khao soi. You’ll also be given a free recipe book to take home with you. Class sizes are kept small (between 2 to 10 people) and there are also options available for vegetarians and vegans.
Chiang Mai: Thai Akha Kitchen Cooking School
This unique cooking class is a great choice if you’re looking for something a bit different. The Akha people are one of Thailand’s hill-tribe communities with their own culture, traditions and beliefs. Thai Akha Kitchen is run by Akha people who were born and raised in Thailand and during your time here you will be able to learn more about this fascinating culture. You’ll be taken to a local market to source the local ingredients before returning to Thai Akha Kitchen where you’ll learn how to cook traditional Thai and Akha dishes.
Hua Hin: Spice Spoons at Anantara
Spice Spoons at Anantara in Hua Hin describes itself as more than just a cooking class. And guests who have had the pleasure of taking a class here will agree that this is a cultural experience too. In the morning you will visit the local market with one of the Anantara chefs who will help you select produce and suggest alternatives you can use in your home country. As part of the cultural experience you will also be able to enjoy local snacks from market vendors and make merit at a temple before heading back to Anantara.
In the afternoon, your cooking class takes place in a scenic setting overlooking the lagoon with the chance to enjoy your culinary creations as a late lunch. With a Silver Spoons cooking class you also have the opportunity to add on a presentation class in the art of napkin folding, table setting or fruit carving. Everybody attending a cooking class at Anantara Hua Hin is presented with a goodie bag containing a certificate, apron, chopping board and a box of recipe cards.
Ko Lanta: Time for Lime
If you’re travelling to Ko Lanta, make your way to Khlong Dao Beach and one of the island’s best cooking schools, Time For Lime. The evening cooking classes are designed especially for adults and conducted in the open-air beachfront cookery school kitchen. If you are travelling with children, the daytime family classes are ideal with parents and children learning how to cook Thai dishes before sitting down as a family to enjoy the food .
The owners here don’t just have a love for food, but a love for animals too. If you are a cat or dog lover visiting Ko Lanta, check out the work of Lanta Animal Welfare.
Ko Samui: Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts (SITCA)
From beginners to professionals, the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts (SITCA) has a cooking class suitable for all levels of experience. Morning and afternoon classes are available where you can learn how to cook a variety of Thai foods. Most recipes can be adapted for vegetarians and people with allergies or dietary restrictions. If you’re serious about your cooking there is also the chance to join one of the multi-day immersive programs offered by SITCA.
Ko Samui: Thai Cooking Class
The emphasis at Thai Cooking Class Samui is on natural ingredients and sustainability. Located close to the Big Buddha in the north of the island, the cookery school operates from a house with its own herb garden. Learn how to prepare and cook classic Thai dishes including kaeng khiao wan gai, phat Thai and tom yum kung. Each guest is assigned their own personal cooking station and your instructor will take time to go through each step clearly.
Krabi: Ya’s Cookery School
Chonlaya Laothong (nickname ‘Ya’) is the Thai woman behind the eponymous Thai cooking school in Ao Nang, Krabi. As a professional chef and Thai food expert, she is no stranger to famous chefs visiting her to learn more about Thai food, with Gordon Ramsay one of a number of high-profile figures who have sought out Ya’s expertise. Open since 2000, Ya’s Cookery School is one of the best established Thai cooking schools in Krabi with budding Thai chefs able to select from a range of different programs and menus.
Phuket: Blue Elephant Cooking School
One of Thailand’s most prestigious cooking schools, Blue Elephant holds classes in Phuket as well as Bangkok. In both cases the cooking school is hosted in a historic building with the Phuket branch located in the beautiful setting of the Governor Mansion in Phuket Old Town. Pay a visit to a local market before returning to Blue Elephant where you will rustle up your culinary creations under the tutelage of expert chefs. After the class you will be able to sample the fruits of your labour in addition to other Thai dishes from the Blue Elephant menu.
Phuket: Moo’s Kitchen at The Slate
Find your Thai food inspiration at Moo’s Kitchen in the lovely setting of The Slate on Nai Yang Beach, Phuket. Learn how to create your favourite Thai dishes and take a trip to a local market to source the herbs and spices you will use. Moo’s Kitchen is also ideal for families with their Little Chef programme designed for children from ages four and above.
If you’ve tried any of these cooking schools or can recommend any from your own personal experience, share your story with us here or let us know on our Facebook page. You can also try your hand at these Thai recipes.
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