Taking cooking clases while traveling are a great way to learn more about a culture and try some new cuisines. While we visited Chaing Mai, Thailand we choose to take Cookventure’s cooking class. The class was such a highlight of our time in Chiang Mai. The owner, Apple, was the kindest woman and truly wanted us to have the best time learning from her. She welcomes you into her family and home to cook some of Northern Thailand’s best dishes. There are many different cooking classes offered in Chiang Mai, but I am convinced Cookventure is the best there is.
Why Cookventure is the Best Cooking Class
First, she offers free pickup and drop off from your Chiang Mai hotel/hostel. Apple also speaks great English. She will pick you up and bring you to the local market to go shopping for our ingredients and teach you about the different fruits and vegetables used in Thai cooking.
A big concern for me being vegetarian and doing a cooking class was that everything we would cook would include meat. But at Cookventure she caters to both vegetarians and vegans. Almost everything on her menu can be easily cooked without meat and dairy and still be delicious. Often she will substitute tofu for the meats.
The cooking course is about 5 and a half hours long and costs about $30 USD per person. For that price, you get free transportation, a welcome snack, a recipe book to take home, a visit to the market with a local, and 5 different dishes which involve making your own curry paste and fresh coconut milk! Sounds like a great deal to me.
So. Much. Food.
Make sure you arrive hungry! You will be cooking a total of 5 different dishes! When we were done I was completely stuffed! You choose one stir fry, soup, appetizer, curry, and dessert from four different options in each category. For example, I chose the pad-si-ew for my stir fry, tom-yum-kung for my soup, spring rolls for my appetizer, yellow curry for my curry, and deep fried banana for my dessert.
Cookventure has a great menu to choose from and Apple will always let you choose your own level of spiciness. My boyfriend chose all different foods from each category and we got to cook next to each other the whole time.
When you arrive at her house after the market you receive a welcome snack and a selection of coffee and tea. Then shortly after you will begin cooking your first dish which is the stir fry.
Once you finish eating your stir fry, you begin to cook your soup and appetizer. Apple prepares the ingredients on a plate and you chop the vegetables and choose your level of spiciness. Then you start cooking all of the ingedients together on the stove. When your appitizer and soup are finished you get to sit down and eat both of those. At this point, your belly is really starting to fill up!
You then get to work making your curry paste. Using a large mortar and pestle, you smash all the peppers, ginger, and spices to make your paste. This takes about 30 minutes of smashing to get the right consistency. This is then added with your other vegetables to complete your curry.
Last you will be making your dessert. We choose mango sticky rice and deep fried bananas. All of the food we prepared was delicious, and had me trying things I wouldn’t have normally ordered. We were so full by the end of this we took some leftover curry back to our hotel!
The value that Cookventure gives is incredible. We left our evening cooking session stuffed full of great food and feeling like we had a new friend. Apple, the owner, truly cares about making sure you have the best experience. She is not rushing you to get done and leave her house, but rather enjoys spending time getting to know you. It was fun to see all the ingredients that go into the food we had been eating. I would definitely recommend choosing Cookventure if you want a great time learning how to cook traditional Thai food.
Bonus: Where to Stay in Chiang Mai on a Budget
Are you looking for a place to stay in Chiang Mai on a budget? I highly recommend The Grace House. The owners are very kind and welcoming. The location is great- close to many food options and night markets. Their cafe also has great breakfast which can be included in your room rate. And Apple, will gladly pick you up from there to begin your cooking class.
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