If you’re considering a cooking class while visiting Chiang Mai, chances are you are also an aficionado of the wonderful dishes served in the region. I just love the coconut-based curries and stir-fried dishes you find in Thai cuisine, and learning how to cook a few favorites is just so worth it. While in Chiang Mai, I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful cooking class, and I’ll tell you all about the best Chiang Mai cooking class in this post.
Introducing Mama Noi’s Cookery School
First things first, let me introduce the cooking school that I visited: Mama Noi’s Cookery School. This cooking school was founded in 2015 by Mama Noi, who aims to teach all who come to her school about Thai traditions and art through the cooking experience.
“Culinary art is the key to communication among people from all over the world. If we can talk to people in one language, then food should certainly be that language.”Mama Noi
The love that Mama Noi has for her food and her country is clearly shown in the care that has been taken in the set up of the school and the wonderful instructors staffed there. This makes the experience they provide one that you won’t forget!
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Visiting the Market
Following hotel pickup, your cooking experience actually begins with a trip to a local food market. Here, you’ll learn about the foods typically used in Thai dishes, such as lemongrass and Thai basil. Your guide will show you how to pick the very best produce, and provide some explanation on how to transform each vegetable / food item discussed.
Now onto the cooking school!
Arrival at the Cookery School
The school is located on a small farm, and is completely adorable. Don’t be surprised if you happen to be greeted by a cute little dog, some chickens, or other friendly animals. Once you check-in, you’ll move to the kitchen, which is quite large – it can hold at least two classes at once due to the size.
Selecting Your Meals
One thing that surprised me about my cooking experience at Mama Noi’s, is that you don’t have to cook the same thing as everyone else! Before the cooking begins, you will be offered a menu that allows you to select the food that you’d like to eat for each part of the 3+ course meal you’re about to make. If you are visiting the school with friends/family, I recommend that you mix it up so that you can all try different things on the menu.
Just as an example, here are a few of the dishes that you have the option of making:
- Pad Thai – A favorite in Thai food, this dish features peanuts prominently
- Tom Yum Soup – A flavorful soup full of fresh veggies and fish
- Green Curry – A fragant curry option, with notes of lime and sweet basil
- Sticky Rice & Mango – The name says it all; you can’t eat Thai without having this dish at least once
- Thai Iced Tea – A refreshing add to any meal, this milky tea is a Thai classic
Cooking & Eating
Next up is actually cooking! What I loved about the main event for this experience is that everything was just so organized. For each meal that you make, your ingredients are neatly laid out for you, as well as your utensils. Every step in the cooking process is timed perfectly, and I don’t know how they do it, but everyone’s food comes out perfectly too!
My favorite part about this experience was learning how to make a curry paste – something I’ve been trying to learn for ages! Unlike the other meals we cooked, making the paste was a shared effort with a partner, due to the fact that it involves heavy use of a mortar and pestle. My partner was the cutest grandma from Hong Kong, who despite being tiny like me and have a few more years on her, she rocked helping out with this process.
After each course of food, you do get to stop and eat! So be sure to bring your appetite with you. (I’m being 100% serious) The meals that you’ll make are all very full size, so it’s likely that you may not get hungry for the rest of the day. Once you’ve cooked all your courses and eaten all your food up, you’ll be provided a cookbook – so you can try each recipe at home too!
How to Book This Experience
So how does this experience sound to you? If you are interested in booking it, all you need to do is click this link. This will take you to the booking page where you can select the number of people attending the event, the date for the experience, and learn some more general information about the tour and cooking experience. The price is very affordable – although you’ll need to check this like to confirm current pricing, it was less than $40 when I booked it. (Many cooking classes are $100+ per person.)
Note that you may have to follow up with the company to confirm you pickup location after booking.
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There are a few questions on this experience that I had myself that should be useful to you too!
Is this Chiang Mai Cooking Class Vegetarian?
Yes, it sure does! Whether you are vegetarian or just interested in cooking vegetarian food, you won’t have any trouble here! The school provides tofu and other substitutions for all the dishes that would usually call for meat. Just FYI – I found that many places in Thailand are VERY vegetarian friendly. I traveled with my sister who is vegetarian and she did not have any trouble at all in the country.
Does this class have a half-day option?
Yes, this class does actually have both a full-day and half-day option. I decided on the half-day option because I honestly don’t think I could make my stomach fit all the food that comes with the full-day experience. I barely made it through the half-day haha. It’s completely up to you on which experience you prefer to book.
In Summary | The Best Cooking Class in Chiang Mai
So if you love Thai food and want to learn to cook it, this tour is kind of a no-brainer, no? It won’t break the budget, and you’ll go home with new cooking skills to show off to all your friends and family ;). What are you waiting for? Book your Thai cooking experience today!