Thai House Cooking Lesson near Bangkok Review
If you are looking for an authentic, educational, how to cook Thai food, and restful detour on your South East Asia trip, The Thai House is a top choice. The Thai House in Thailand, just outside of Bangkok, offers skillful cooking class and peaceful bed & breakfast for singles, family, or friends traveling in South East Asia. The Thai House is like a boutique hotel and bed & breakfast with amazing food, but here you learn to cook all the most famous Thai food dishes yourself!
The Thai House is an hour and a half outside of Bangkok, but it feels a million miles away from the city. Our family was picked up by van from our hotel in Bangkok and transported to a long boat on the Mekong River. We then enjoyed a scenic boat ride through the city. Once we were out of the city we were transferred to a a smaller long boat to navigate the more narrow canals. We arrived at what seemed to be the back of the property, with concrete steps leading up to the house. We learned that before roads and cars were popular long boats were the main method of transport. The steps leading up from the canal were more like the “front door/family room” of the traditional Thai homes.
We were greeted so warmly and shown the downstairs open air living area, and then our bedrooms upstairs. Being a family of four we had two connected rooms, each with 2 twin beds. The mattresses are on the ground in traditional Thai fashion. Our kids loved this and learned a lot about Thai culture! The room had open windows all around with screens to keep out mosquitos. Everything was clean, simple, and inviting.
We began our first cooking class right away with Pip to prepare lunch. Pip is the owner of the Thai house. It’s actually her family home for several generations and has served as a local farm for the community. Her three lovely grown daughters help her run the house. Pip is energetic and direct with a fabulous sense of humor. She shared her secrets and tips with us from moment we began. Even our kids, ages 7 and 10 were drawn in and fully engaged.
We each had a packet of the recipes we would be cooking, and a cutting board and knife.The way Pip introduced the ingredients was lovely. She had everything laid out on platter and thoroughly explained each ingredient, its uses, and how it’s properly cut. We practiced chopping and then tasted the ingredients on their own. I’m proud to say my kids tasted everything, even the Galangal. Galangal is common in Thai and Indonesian foods and comes from the same family as ginger but tastes slightly more bitter. Okay, I did pass on tasting the “firecracker” peppers, but she didn’t really recommend it. The firecracker peppers are smaller than most other peppers but they most hot.
Once we were done chopping, we were introduced to the Thai Cuisinart, the Mortar and Pestle. All of the curry ingredients get ground by hand with the Mortar and Pestle. No wonder Pip is in such good shape! Your biceps and triceps get a serious workout while your squatting on the floor grinding the curry paste. We all took a turn grinding, but Pip laughed and took over because we didn’t have all day! She shared stories about her own mother who would wake up before the sun each day to prepare the curry and grind coconuts for the family meal. After all that cooking her mother would spend the day working the rice fields with her husband. So much work went into daily life.
When the prep work was finally done we took a break before the actual cooking of lunch. We rocked in the big wooden rocking chairs, and sipped on the most amazing lemongrass iced tea we’ve ever had. My kids called it lemongrass-aide. (This tea was in the top three things we put in our mouth that day.) It was a funny thing, because we were actually working hard to learn and prepare Pad Thai, Yellow curry, and Tom Yum Soup. But at the same time we were so unplugged and relaxed. We were breathing in the humid countryside air while fans blew to cool us off. It felt like we were truly guests in the home of the most gracious authentic Thai family.
We went on to finish cooking and enjoy eating some of the tastiest Thai food we will probably ever have. We did learn how to prepare these dishes, but the verdict is out if we will be able to duplicate them. There’s no doubt there is something special about picking lemongrass and sweet onions from the yard and grinding them by hand into your curry paste with a pestle and mortar that has been used for centuries by the same beautiful Thai ladies.
That night all four of us had the best night’s sleep of our trip. There is no air conditioning, but with the windows open and the fans blowing you don’t need it. When the sun went down we followed shortly after. The business of Thai cooking wore us out in a happy and contented way. With our bellies full the cicadas sang us to sleep.
The next day after a delicious breakfast, one of Pip’s sweet daughters took us to the local market. We got a private peek into the everyday life of a village like town in Thailand. We spent the rest of the late morning in cooking class with Pip and had yet another amazing meal.
The Thai House experience forever changed our understanding of Thai food and Thai culture. It was fun and educational for our children, but we learned so much as well. What better way to eat great food and learn to cook than to visit the home of Pip? You do not want to miss this amazing experience if you find yourself in Bangkok.