Toronto Seoulcialite gets Trazy in Thailand
On my final day in Thailand after eating and drinking (mostly eating – there were drinking bans for about half of my vacation) I got up early and took a taxi from Asok to Silom Soi 11 (70 baht/ $2.60 Canadian/ 2,254 Korean Won) for my Thai Cooking Class. Trazy.com Your Travel Shop for Asia sent me to check out Silom Thai Cooking School, and I couldn’t have been more excited!
Before I moved to Korea I treated myself to Thai food about once a week. In Toronto and in Vancouver I could walk to some great cheap and cheerful Thai restaurants with fresh ingredients and bold flavours. Imagine my surprise traveling all the way to Korea to find that there were more opportunities for international food in Canada than in an Asian country? I was dumbfounded! I’ve been missing Massaman curry, Khao Soi, Pad See Ew, Tom Kha Gai, and Pad Thai. Taking a Thai cooking class would enable me to create some of these dishes at home, so I leapt at the opportunity to develop some Thai culinary skills.
We were initially looking at booking the class for Saturday which would mean going from Don Mueang directly to the school with all my stuff. I’m glad I didn’t, not only because the school is fairly compact, but because the menu changes every day throughout the week! Sunday’s menu was my favourite. In my cooking class we learned how to make:
- Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Sour Shrimp Soup, or in my case Tom Yum Gai, Spicy Sour Chicken Soup as I seem to have an issue with seafood in Asia)
- Pad Thai (Thai Stir-Fried Noodles)
- Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)
- Massaman Curry Paste
- Massaman Curry with Chicken and Potatoes
- Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango (Thailand’s most famous dessert)
For more details about the programs provided at the Silom Thai Cooking School, click here!
Before heading in to our woks, we started with a market tour. The traditional market was full of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and other seafood, meat, and nuts. Our fearless leader, Pim, took us through the market and gathered some of the ingredients with which we would be cooking that day. Our group of 12 congregated in a corner stall to touch and smell ginger, lemongrass, limes, and cilantro, among others. This brief, but informative, introduction to Thai ingredients was peppered with humour from Pim, who clearly loves working with people and sharing her national cuisine.
After the market tour we all hopped into tuk-tuks and ventured on to the actual school. I was with a family from Switzerland, a lady from England, two women from Korea (one of which lives in Dubai), and a Canadian mother-daughter combo with a Korean connection – like me, the daughter works in Korea as an English Teacher! It was fantastic to meet interesting people with whom I had different common interests and locales. Once we were at the school we locked our belongings away and bonded while making coconut cream and coconut milk. What’s the difference between coconut cream and milk? The cream is made from taking shredded coconut and squeezing out the liquid then sifting to separate the liquid from the coconut “meat”. How do you make the milk? Add water to the remaining coconut “meat”, squeeze and sift again. Easy, eh? This was a great way to learn about my co-chefs and get out a little aggression patting the coconut.
Next, we went downstairs to wash our hands and prepare to make Tom Yum (the spicy soup). In Thai, “tom” means soup, “yum” means hot and tangy, “goong” means shrimp, and “gai” means chicken. I can now say “Hello”(Sawatdee [add kha for ladies, “khap” for gents]), “Thank-you” (Khaawp khoon [again, add “kha” or “khap”]), “Soup”, “Hot/ Tangy”, “Shrimp”, “Chicken”, and “Coconut” (“kha-thi”). I got a little curried away with puns throughout the class, but everyone was in high spirits and didn’t seem to mind. It was a good group!
Pim explained the relevance of each ingredient in the dishes. There were no packaged curries or powdered and manufactured ingredients. Everything had been grated or pressed in advance and measured out into beautiful little mise-en-place pots at our stations ready for us to chop a few ingredients and pop ‘em all together in our woks. We prepared to heat the Tom Yum and were given the option of number of chillies. I was told that Thai spice is 5 chillies. I went for 3 to the surprise of my Korean teammates especially (I tell ya – they will never believe that waygookins [foreigners/ aliens] can handle spice!). After chopping our ingredients we grabbed our trays and headed over to our woks. Thai cooking uses high heat and gas stoves (which I miss SO much!) for nearly everything, so within a couple of minutes our soup was ready to eat.
The soup was quite possibly the best I’ve ever had! I don’t normally order Tom Yum because it has a tendency to be oily, heavy, and acidic. This was light, refreshing, and the acidity came from the fresh lime I squeezed to my satisfaction. 3 chilies were perfect for this Canadian! My soup had just enough heat to make me happy without sacrificing flavours and actual spices.
The remaining dishes worked mostly the same way: head to the prep room, discuss the importance of certain ingredients in the dish, chop, head over to the woks. Before preparing and after plating we went over to wash our hands in the al fresco cooking and washing areas.
This is the start of something wonderful! Have you ever made #PadThai from scratch? I have! I took a #Thai #cooking class in #Bangkok, #Thailand with @trazy_korea. Not only was it super affordable, our instructor was knowledgeable, funny, and patient, and the school was organized and charming. We made #TomYum #soup, Pad Thai, Papaya Salad, #Massaman #curry, and Mango Sticky Rice. #yum! #food #foodporn #thaifood #visitthailand #visitbangkok #igbangkok #igthai #igtravel #travel #trip #girlslovetravel #socialmedia #mytripmyadventure #trip #traveler #travelblogger #travelblog #tosocialthai
My Pad Thai was also light and tasty. The key ingredient (tamarind) had been pressed earlier that day, and the blending of ingredients made the chicken in this dish tender and juicy. This was the one dish I didn’t finish eating because I wanted to save room for curry and not load up on noodles.
Our Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad) was made as a group and was loaded with tomato and toasted peanuts. We each contributed one item to that large mixing vessel (it wasn’t a bowl) and then served the mixed up salad family-style.
Just #cooking up some #Massaman #curry at my #Thaicooking class booked through @trazy_korea! Our instructor was hilarious and we had a wonderful time. I am too full for words after having made #tomyum soup, #padthai, #papayasalad, #massamancurry, and #mango #stickyrice. #mangostickyrice #food #foodporn #foodcoma #foodie #chef #cook
I had tasted Massaman curry in Phuket (it’s famous in the south) which blew my mind. It evoked memories of the first time I tried this rich dish in Canada with friends. Curries are made differently in each part of Thailand, and are unique to each kitchen, as well! This kitchen was no different. As anticipated, we all got different ingredients to chop. A few were selected and added to a giant mortar and pestle unit. We took turns getting hostile with the ingredients, and before too long we had a nice Massaman curry paste. We took it over to the woks where we mixed the ingredients and cut the boiled potatoes in the wok itself as the ingredients blended together and the fragrance of curry filled the air.
After plating our chicken curry (Pim reminded us to make it pretty so it will “look expensive”) we turned around to find covered platters on the bench behind our cooking stations. Throughout the morning we had learned tidbits here and there about Mango Sticky Rice. Pim had cut the mango with a criss-cross pattern, and then asked me to flip the mango inside out (to pop out the diamond shapes of the mango). What a responsibility! Thankfully I didn’t mess it up, although working at a snail’s pace to ensure the mango didn’t tear and flip flop apart got more than a few laughs.
The cooking school itself is organized into several small, kitchy, cute units with lots of pops of colour and 2 floors. Upstairs was where we sat to make coconut cream and milk, and the downstairs area had a preparation room, a dining room, and a cooking area. While I had been to the beaches in Phuket and the green hills of Chiang Mai, listening to chickens croon and cluck and hearing light music off in the distance actually made me feel like I was finally on vacation. Of course, this was my last day before returning to Seoul. I couldn’t have asked for a better send-off. Thailand, I’ll be back (and I might return to Silom to learn how to make spring rolls)!
To book experiences with Trazy in Bangkok (or Seoul, Busan, or Jeju if you’re sticking around Korea), head over to Trazy.com and use the drop-down menu to select your city. To book this particular Silom Thai Cooking School experience about which I was travel-crazy, make sure to click this link. Select “Morning” 9 AM – 1 PM, “Afternoon” 1:40 PM – 5:30 PM, or “Evening” 6 PM – 9 PM and click “Book Now”. Please be advised that only the Morning and Afternoon classes include the market tour. I really enjoyed our market tour, but if you’re on a time crunch then it’s not essential to the whole experience. You’ll have a great time either way! Don’t worry if you’re not an experienced cook – you’ll have a great time and will definitely leave with a full belly!
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