It took some convincing, but Mr P eventually relented to do a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is one of the best places to learn how to make authentic Thai food. There are lots of cooking classes available, but we really enjoyed our afternoon cooking class in the old town at the Zabb E Lee Thai Cooking School.
Pick up is in a pick-up from your hotel. Jump into the back of these converted jeeps and sit on a plank of wood. You'll start with a trip to the local market. That's an experience in itself. What with the flies. The cobwebs. The live fish that soon meet their maker. But there's also the wonderful aromas of roasted spice, fresh vegetables and fruits.
You'll be pleased to hear you only LEARN about ingredients at the market ... the food you'll be cooking will come from a shop where there are distinctly less flies and cobwebs!
Don your pinny. Roll up your sleeves and get cracking.
What's great about this experience is that there are only around 8 or 10 of you in the group. You cook in pairs or small groups and cook exactly the dishes that you'd like to eat at the end. Vegetarians and vegans are really well catered for. As are people like me - who are allergic to fish and seafood!
Expect to stay around 4 or 5 hours
By the time you've done the market visit, had demonstrations and actually cooked and eaten everything you won't believe that a good few hours have passed. There's plenty of food, so don't go with an already full stomach!
Recipes to take home
I still use the Zabb E Lee Cookery book that we were given at the end of the course. In case you were wondering Chicken & Cashew Nut and Thai Green Curry are our favourites and do feature on our at-home menu from time to time!
FTM Top Tips:
Stock up on spices at the market. You'll find things like saffron, star anise at a fraction of the price back home.
Don't forget your camera to record your culinary efforts
Enjoy a Singha beer whilst cooking (when in Thailand and all that). There is a small charge for this.
Don't rub your eye after you've been blending fresh chillies and spices together.