Bangkok, Thailand is truly one of the best cities in the world to visit if you’re a foodie. The mix of delicious Thai food, available from street food vendors and in restaurants is amazing. I was also pleasantly surprised by the number of international restaurants serving cuisine from around the world, as well as the fine dining scene.
One of the highlights of my visit was taking a Thai cooking class at the city’s coolest cooking school, Issaya Cooking Studio. The school is unique in that it caters to visitors and locals who want to learn to cook, it’s not a training school for professional chefs. Aside from a roster of expert teaching chefs, the school hosts classes and workshops from visiting chefs from around the world. They might have a French chef in to teach French techniques or a Spanish chef to teach about tapas. They also offer a lot of specific cooking classes including a street food course, a clean / vegan food course, several beverage-focused classes and various dessert classes. Most are 2-3 hours long and end in a tasting session. Issaya Studio is an offshoot of one of Bangkok’s best restaurants, the Issaya Siamese Club. It’s run by the restaurant’s owner and head chef, Thai celebrity chef Ian Kittichai.
Classes are done in a very modern, professional kitchen, with full video coverage and large screens on the ceiling. There are multiple full mini-kitchen stations for the students. We started by making a series of Thai classics, mainly dishes served in the Siamese Club restaurant. The instructions were very detailed and we learned about cooking techniques for the different meats and ingredients we were using. Like how to prevent the chicken from turning green when we made curry. We made a few dishes including yam som o (pomelo salad), green curry with chicken, kai yang phu khao fai (volcano-grilled chicken) and ka-phrao kai cham ron (stir-fried chicken with basil and jasmine rice).
Issaya Cooking Studio is located in Bangkok’s largest and most fashionable mall, Central Embassy, on the ground level. To add to the fun experience, when we finished our class (and our meal) we went outside the mall and instead of waiting for an Uber, we hopped on the back of some scooter taxis for a heart-stopping ride back to our hotel through busy Bangkok traffic.
I flew to Bangkok in the foodie-friendly Business Class cabin of China Eastern Airlines. Bangkok is just one of the over 200 destinations the airline flies to in Asia. They connect the US to their hub in Shanghai with daily flights from LAX (2X), NYC (2X), San Francisco, Chicago and Honolulu.