Sunday, April 19, 2015

Baipai Thai Cooking School

I may have not been all too diligent with writing, but our Baipai Thai Cooking School experience was so awesome, not sharing it would be criminal!

I can't cook to save my life. I do know how to "cook" instant noodles, but I'm not proud of that. I would love to learn though! This summer, I went to a cooking school - in Thailand! I have to thank #TopeTravelandTours for including this as part of our itinerary on our trip to Bangkok last month.


I've actually never been to any cooking school for that matter, so I honestly have no basis for comparison. But what I am certain of, is that Baipai is one of the best cooking schools you can go to.


It all starts with their Thailand hospitality - their private van will pick you up from your hotel (and of course, bring you back there when you're done with class). The class lasts for half a day, either morning or afternoon. Their warm and friendly crew will welcome you with a cup of refreshingly cold chrysanthemum tea (oh I love this one), and do an orientation in English. (Very foreigner-friendly!) We were handed our own sets of recipe cards and a pen, and after we donned our aprons, they gave us lessons on the herbs and spices we were going to use that day.

Kaffir Lime
(You only need a small part of the rind to add flavor to your curry paste.)

Holy basil vs. Sweet basil

Green vs Red
(Here, the big green chili is no match for the tiny red ones when it comes to the spicy kick!)

Pandanus Leaf
(No flavor, but very aromatic. Use this to wrap your chicken with or add aroma to your coconut sticky rice.)


What's good with this cooking school is that every step of the way, you get to watch the chefs do a demo, then follow the steps on your own. You get to cook 4 dishes on your own, and eat them afterwards (definitely my favorite part).


Before we started cooking, they also made us taste the different seasonings and sauces we were going to use, so we'd understand the taste and modify the recipe according to our liking.

Note to self: Thai seasonings and sauces are the best! Now I'm definitely getting Thai brands when it comes to shopping for kitchen necessities. Their flavor palate is just amazing - some sauces I've tried even have layers of flavors. For example, initial taste would be sweet, then it'd turn spicy and the spiciness would linger long in your mouth. The explosion of flavors is just so aroi! And this is my turning point. After my Thailand trip, I'm now into sauces (something I've always detested, weird right?) and spices! :D

Let the cooking begin!


Amidst the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Bangkok, Baipai Thai Cooking School is a hidden gem tucked away in a Bangkok residential area. Wooden decors and locally-styled furniture makes this place so cozy and tranquil, giving even the most inexperienced cook (AKA me) a very relaxed feeling. (Being the optimistic person that I am, I felt that I was going to cook really good dishes on my first try! Haha)


At first, the chefs would do a demo, then we'd watch on this common area. It's just like watching a cooking show live! Here, we also prepped for the cooking, such as chopping, wrapping the chicken inside pandan leaves, making curry pastes, etc. It was like nothing can go wrong, because the ingredients are already portioned in front of us. We only had to follow the instructions to make so aroi dishes. (Now if only cooking was like this everyday. The hard part would just probably be buying all the ingredients needed from the supermarket.)

Tada! Wrapped these myself! :D


The setup of this cooking school was amazing. We weren't inside tiled kitchens. Baipai Thai Cooking School had had a stylish open-air home-like kitchen that's clean, professional, and well-maintained. Each person has an exclusive cooking station.

Happy Helen has cooked a full-course meal! ♥


We ate the dishes we cooked afterwards at their second floor with a cozy open restaurant setup.

Here are what I cooked:

Papaya Salad (Som Tam Ma-la-kor)

I didn't do research beforehand, so I thought the Papaya Salad we were going to make was a dessert with ripe papaya chunks. LOL. It turned out to be unripened papaya made into a spicy salad, which stimulated our appetites for the other dishes we were to eat.

Chicken in Pandanus Leaves (Gai Hor Bai Toey)

Deep-frying this in hot oil was the scary part, as we were told to drop (all 5 pieces) into the frying pot and run. Of course, I ran! Haha. It cooked so quickly. I trimmed the pandan leaves to make it more presentable. One important thing I learned with eating this dish: You don't have to open the leaves to unravel the meat inside. Just find a hole, and fork out the piece of chicken. Done! The chicken meat was so tender and flavorful. I love it!

Red Curry with Pork and Bamboo (Gang Dang Moo Nor Mai)

This is the part where we made red curry paste from scratch. Coconut cream and coconut milk balanced out the spice of this dish. The sweet basil leaves and red chili add a nice touch to the presentation! :D

Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango (Khao Neaw Moon)

And if you think you're already full from the appetizer and main course served...well, there's always room for dessert! I'm most excited to make this at home since I love sweets.


I also ordered drinks on the side. Their servings are huge! I downed a glass of Thai Iced Tea and the same much loved Cold Chrysanthemum Tea (which was served upon our arrival). The drinks went very well with the dishes, and I found them light and very refreshing.

I am not biased, but everything was really good. What a miracle. Haha! Baipai Thai Cooking School brings out the cook in everyone. From beginners to the more experienced ones, everyone in our group enjoyed this experience. We were all unanimous with this verdict: That this experience was the highlight of our 4-day Bangkok trip, and given the chance to revisit the city, we would definitely come back to Baipai again to learn other Thai dishes.


Before the class ended, the kind ladies of Baipai Thai Cooking School handed each of us a souvenir. Something for us to cherish when we went back home. See, they were taking photos the entire time we were cooking, so they chose our best shots, printed them out, framed them with cardboard, and turned them into ref magnets. Sweet! Not only that, they e-mailed us ALL our photos later that night as well.

Thank you Fone, Chef  Noi,  and the team at Baipai Thai Cooking School for the very awesome experience!

When in Bangkok, shopping and sightseeing are in almost everyone's to-do lists. How about learning to cook Thai cuisine? Learning to cook Thai dishes is one of the most amazing souvenirs you can bring with you back home. And recreating the dishes at home will definitely bring back memories from your trip!

Website: www.info@baipai.com (for reservations)
Facebook: Baipai Thai Cooking School
Telephone:
  • Domestic call: Tel: 02-561-1404, Fax: 02-941-0929
  • International call: Tel:  +662-561-1404, Fax:  +662-941-0929

Love,
Helen

Photo Credits: Christopher Chan, Helen Blas, and Baipai Thai Cooking School
Some photos may not have watermarks, but you may not use them without permission.

6 comments:

  1. Wow, this is interesting! I'm planning to go to Thailand someday, and it seems like a great idea to include this in my itinerary. I also don't know how to cook! Haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will love this experience, I'm sure! :D

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  2. Shux, cute activity! I wish I could find interesting stuff like this to do when I travel :))

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  3. Thanks for this, Helen! I plan on going to BKK soon and I might consider Baipai School. :)

    ReplyDelete

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