Thai food is one of the most popular in the world is i said to be one of top 3 reasons why people come to Thailand. That’s the reason why cooking classes became very popular things to do while in Thailand. I couldn’t miss it too and today decided to try to prepare some more Thai food in Phuket.
Why Phuket? Let me surprise you: most of the people thunks about Phuket only as a beach destination with nothing else to do, but nailing your suntan and drinking in bars. But there is much more here. Phuket town itself is included in UNESCO List of Creative cities for it’s gastronomy. Phuket city got it’s own culinary traditions, ancient recipes and very proud about this part of it’s heritage. I need to notice, that that the food here is really surprisingly good, though at first i haven’t realised that it’s such a big deal here.
Blue Elephant is probably the main and most famous restaurant within Phuket city. It is located in the Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion, a historic 105 year old house, former residence of the Governor of the city. The place is really well-known between gourmet food lovers around the world as it is part of the group of restaurants located around the world. But this doesn’t mean it’s a chain chain restaurant: each place preserves the heritage of the place and serves local food. So expect more local cuisine and season ingredients, which is the basic of any good restaurant.
Good news is that Blue Elephant i Phuket not only have great food, but also have amazing cooking classes to teach you how to cook real Thai food and basic technics. Some of the classes here are designed for professionals (like fruit Carving class – think flowers from watermelon), but some are made to give amateurs a good overview about cuisine in Thailand and learn to cook some essential local food. Of course, i choose the second one and had a half-day morning cooking class.
I arrived after 9am to had a little walk around the beautiful mansion. Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion itself is one of the most beautiful buildings within Phuket city and architectural gem by itself. It was build in the early 20th century as an example of Sino-Portuguese architecture and follows the principles of feng shui as it’s it located right next to Phuket’s China town. The cooking program starts at 9-30. After glass of refreshing drink in the mansion we headed to the local market to learn about ingredients, try small bites of local food (small because we had to save space for the main dishes) and check what is available. I’ve been in Phuket town several times before, but somehow i have missed the market area, so it was nice to see some previously hidden places there.
We get back to the mansion after 10am and started to cook. The school is located in a separarte building, connected with the main mansion and have everything i can expect from the great cooking school. The interior feels like a TV studio of the culinary show with lots of day light and great opportunities to experience, enjoy, taste and take pictures (you know, these days we need the opportunity to take good pictures 😃 ). Our teacher (and chief) was very nice, welcoming and professional lady, who definitely knew what she was doing.
So the main magic begins: we started to cook! Today we had 4 dishes to prepare: curry with the duck, papaya salad, crispy golden bag (variety of fried spring rolls) and fish in tamarind sauce. Our master choose to show us first how to cook the dish, then we tried a bite of it and after it tried to make it by ourself.
It was my second thai cooking class. Last time when i prepared the food it was probably the most delicious thai food that i got, but this time it was even better. The food itself was definitely a kind of high cuisine with lots of tastes mixed together (think about sweet, savoury and spicy food mixed together), spices and flavours. The dishes that our teacher prepared for us were extremely tasty! The one’s that we made by ourself also were super good. I even got a feeling that i’m such a great chef and probably need to do it more frequently. If seriously, it wasn’t very hard or kind of it, because all the ingredients were fresh, prepared in advance and put in the right order. I was guided each step by the experienced guru, so no chance to fail! And of course, the result feels tasty as it was me, who have cooked it! Yaaaa!
All the cooking process took us around 2,5 hours for 4 dishes including explanations, examples, trying etc. After we have finished, our chief master presented us certificate of completing the half-day cooking course and some souvenirs including aprons, that we have used during the classes (and they are very good, would be great to have them at home). After it we went to the main restaurant to try all the food that we prepared. Our table was already made with all the dishes and it was time to enjoy it and relax after several hours of exploring and tasting.
I definitely loved this kind of experience with the Blue Elephant. It was another type of cooking class compared to what i had before. The dishes, recipes and ingredients were of very high class and quality and i really loved that we had an opportunity to enjoy the restaurant itself after the class. It was like 2 experiences in one: cooking, enjoying restaurant + enjoying the architecture of the mansion. Definitely very memorable experience, worth trying while in Phuket if you love food!
Check the video of this experience to see how it was in action:
Hopefully you have enjoyed this article! Let me know have you ever tried cooking classes during your travel and what do you think about this kind of experiences!