The Best Cooking Class Ever

Siam Cooking School Chiang Mai Thailand

I’m probably talking out of school here because we’ve only ever been to four cooking classes in our entire lifetime, but if Siam Rice in Chiang Mai, Thailand, isn’t among the best cooking schools for tourists anywhere I’ll eat my Khao Soi.

Why do we think Siam Rice is so good? Because they nailed every single thing anyone could want in a cooking school.

Easy and Affordable

Fresh ingredients for a curry paste

Fresh ingredients for a curry paste

The first thing we always consider before doing anything is cost and accessibility. Sometimes things are worth paying extra or going out of your way for but doing so is never a virtue, it’s something you tolerate in the hopes that the effort and expense will be rewarded. That’s not a problem with Siam Rice.

If you’re staying in Chiang Mai’s old town area, they’ll pick you up at your door. So getting to class couldn’t be easier. And at 900 Baht (about $28) per person for a full day class or 700 Baht ($22) for a half day class, it couldn’t be more affordable either.

Huge Menu Options

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Making spring rolls from scratch

Most cooking classes we’ve seen have a fairly limited menu. You pretty much make what the instructor wants to teach you, with just a few options. By contrast Siam Rice’s menu is absolutely huge, with 31 different dishes on offer.

From that list each participant gets to choose their own six-course menu to prepare consisting of a soup, an appetizer, a stir-fry, a curry, a noodle dish, and a dessert. In addition to those dishes everyone mashes up their own curry paste from fresh ingredients.

Between the two of us, we got to create and sample a whopping 12 different dishes and two different curries. What’s more, we could easily take the class again without having to repeat a single recipe.

Entertaining Instruction

A wok for everyone

That’s Nancy, our teacher, with the fried egg boobs on her apron

One intangible sometimes missing from otherwise good tours is the quality of the guide. Sometimes having a knowledgeable instructor isn’t always enough. You also want them to be enthusiastic, engaging, and entertaining. Nancy at Siam Rice was all of those things. Not only did she effortlessly manage a class of nine students who were each making different dishes, she did so with an understated humor that kept the class light and, most importantly, fun.

Hands-on Cooking

This cooking class is no joke

Surprisingly not all cooking classes actually let you cook. That was the case with our first experience at the New Orleans School of Cooking, where we had to sit and watch the chef prepare a set meal along with about 50 other spectators.

A real hands on experience

A real hands on experience

At Siam Rice every one of our class’s nine students got their own cleaver, their own wok, and their own pile of fresh ingredients from which to create. We chopped and smashed; deep fried and stir fried; and constructed every one of our six dishes from beginning to end.

Meals You Actually Want to Eat

Siam Cooking School Chiang Mai Thailand-13

Of course the most important thing in any cooking instruction is the quality of the recipes. There’s little point in learning to cook something you wouldn’t want to make for yourself. And most everything we made at Siam Rice was at least as good, if not better, than the meals we’ve paid for at local restaurants.  We know that without a doubt the next time we have a kitchen we’ll be adding Siam Rice’s Penang Curry to our gotta-have meal rotation.

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7 Comments on “The Best Cooking Class Ever”

  1. Deb November 17, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    That looks amazing. I would love to do a class like this. How did the spring rolls taste? They look fabulous. Do you have recipes to share?


    • Brian November 17, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

      I was dubious of the the spring rolls but they came out as good as any I’ve had anywhere. They were surprisingly easy to make too.

      We decided not to publish any recipes because selling those is Nancy’s livelihood.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ronmitchelladventure November 17, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    Sounds and looks perfect. Would love to try that one. You made me hungry!


    • Brian November 17, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

      Ha. You wouldn’t be hungry after this class. The six courses we each cooked was more than any of us could eat, but wow, Yum!


  3. soldierbettyblogs December 20, 2014 at 3:49 am #

    I have a self proclaimed see-food diet….. See food, try it at least once… Hubby and I have added quite a few recipes to the mix from all of our travels, and I have no doubt that this is something we would love to do! Maybe when our girls are older……


  4. jeff January 16, 2017 at 11:43 pm #

    Hi Brian. Should i take a whole day or half day class?



  1. Two Chiang Mai Temples: Obvious and Overlooked | Everywhere Once - November 24, 2014

    […] this centuries-old temple altogether if we hadn’t heard about it from fellow participants in a cooking class the day before. Even the taxi driver who whisked us along the winding road to the top of Doi Suthep […]


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