If you love cooking, a cooking class is the perfect way to get familiar with the local cuisine when travelling. So when we visited Chiang Mai, we booked a Thai cooking class at Zabb-E-Lee, a Thai Cooking School. Interested too? Here’s everything you need to know.
What to expect from a cooking class at Zabb-E-Lee?
Zabb-E-Lee is a Thai Cooking School, located within Chiang Mai Old Town, near the northern gate. They offer both morning and evening Thai cooking classes in groups of 2 to 10 people.
A class takes about 4.5 to 5 hours, starting with a short visit to a local market for grocery shopping. The remainder of the time will be spent cooking and eating what you prepared. You’ll be making a portion for 1 of 5 different dishes, all by yourself, at your own cooking station.
For each course you can choose a dish from a couple of options, with a possibility to go vegetarian or vegan. You decide yourself how spicy you want to make your dishes: mild, medium, hot, or Thai hot. If you can’t finish all 5 courses, it’s quite a lot, you can take your leftovers home.
Make up your mind beforehand about which dishes you want to make, as they’ll ask you while grocery shopping at the local market. Everyone can make something different, so maybe choose different dishes as your travel buddy to be able to make and taste more. You can check out the featured recipes on the Zabb-E-Lee website. Choose one appetizer, one stir fry, one soup, and one curry. Everyone will be making mango sticky rice for dessert.
Cooking makes you thirsty. Water is free, but there’s a self-service fridge as well, with beer and soft drinks. Just write down what you drank and pay after class.
What does a cooking class at Zabb-E-Lee cost?
Regardless if you choose the morning or evening class, the price for a cooking class at Zabb-E-Lee Thai Cooking School is 1,000 baht per person. That includes pickup and drop-off at your accommodation, a visit to a local market, the ingredients for the 5 dishes you’ll be cooking, drinking water, tea and coffee.
There’s free WiFi, in case you want to share your cooking skills on social media, and you get a recipe book, to try and reproduce these Thai dishes back home.
You can book a Thai cooking class with Zabb-E-Lee Thai Cooking School by sending them an email. You can find all the information on the contact page on their website.
Our cooking experience at Zabb-E-Lee Thai Cooking School
At the market, our teacher Bo explained some of the vegetables and herbs often used in Thai cooking, passing them around for us to examine and smell. We had to choose which dishes we wanted to make before we had some free time to browse the market. At 17:00 we left again, heading to Zabb-E-Lee.
We each got an apron and our own fully equipped cooking station, some rose tea and drinking water. In between cooking we had a couple of beers as well, which we had to pay for after the cooking class.
Brecht and I made different dishes, to try and sample as many options as possible. During the first round of cooking we made the stir fry and the soup. Apparently Thai eat these two dishes together, because the stir fry is too dry for their taste.
We sat down at a big table to taste our homemade Thai dishes, before starting the second round of cooking, making the mango sticky rice, the appetizer, and the curry.
After we (almost) finished all of the food we prepared, they handed out small cookbooks to take home. Tired, stuffed and satisfied, we hopped back in the songthaew that will drop you off anywhere you like (within Chiang Mai).
We really enjoyed our Thai cooking class with Bo at Zabb-E-Lee Thai Cooking School, although it felt a bit rushed at times. Bo talks pretty fast too, but she explained everything very well. The food was really good too, but that partly depends on yourself, of course.
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