In The Kitchen, Travel

Sompong Thai Cooking School, Bangkok

The cooking class at Sompong Thai Cooking School was a highlight of my Thailand trip! I love Thai cuisine and dabble with Thai flavors in my cooking. I make a mean Tom Kha Gai (coconut galangal chicken soup), so I was super excited to optimize that dish and learn a few others in this class.

The dishes taught rotate depending on the day of the week. I picked Tuesday’s killer lineup – Pomelo Salad, Red Curry Shrimp, Coconut Galangal Soup, and Mango Sticky Rice.

We pre-booked on the Sompong Thai website via the contact form. The price was 1000 Baht/person/class (quite a deal for 4.5 hours), and you pay in person. Locating the school was confusing since there were signs pointing further down the street to another building (perhaps the former location). A lady inside that building seemed to know the drill and took us back up the street to the actual school.

Once at the school, we were separated into groups of no more than 10 and given baskets for the market. The market was our first stop, and it was enlightening! I discovered produce never seen before – from new variants of chilies, eggplants, ginger, and mushroom, to these completely new and interesting looking leafy plants.

There was even a coconut vendor that pressed fresh coconut milk and cream from a machine. We used the coconut cream/milk in nearly every dish! The indoor part of the market had lots of chicken and seafood as well.

Post market tour, we headed back to the classroom and put on our cooking aprons. Our instructor Irin happily encouraged photo taking – both of the students and at every step of the cooking class.

Sompong Thai Cooking School - classroom
Cooking classroom
Sompong Thai Cooking School - Getting ready to cook up a storm!
Getting ready to cook up a storm!

The classroom was set up with cooking and prep stations. Tea and water were provided. Everything was ridiculously organized – ingredients were already washed and portioned for each student, helpers sped up the cooking process when needed, and they washed the dishes and cleaned for us. The recipes for the course were in a well-written Sompong Thai book with color photos – the best documentation of any cooking class I’ve taken.

Everyone gets their own station
Everyone gets their own prep station

Mango Sticky Rice (Khao Naew Ma Muang)

Since the sticky rice took the longest to cook, we started with that. This was made as a group and Irin showed the steps of putting pandan leaves at the bottom of a steamer basket and adding the sticky rice. Having a cone steamer basket makes a difference – we were amazed by how good the sticky rice turned out!

Making sticky rice
Making sticky rice

Partway through the class, we made the rest of the recipe.

Mango sticky rice (Khao Naew Ma Muang) ingredients
Mango sticky rice (Khao Naew Ma Muang) ingredients

Red Curry Paste (Nam Phrik Kaeng Phet)

Curry paste is a staple in Thai cuisine, and we learned to make this from scratch with a mortar and pestle. To be honest, we pounded the paste until we were tired, and the helpers finished it off in the blender! We were able to prep and cut the ingredients at our own station – there were a lot!

We asked Irin to recommend a pre-made curry paste brand as well, and she referred us to a bag of Maepranom Brand Red Curry .

Ingredients for fresh Red curry paste
Ingredients for fresh Red curry paste (Nam Phrik Kaeng Phet) and packet of pre-made curry paste for reference
Chopping the curry paste ingredients
Chopping the curry paste ingredients
Using the mortar and pestle
Using the mortar and pestle for red curry paste. They had helpers use a blender to speed things up.

Pomelo Salad (Yum Som Aoo)

I love Thai salads for their flavorful combo of sweet, tangy, sour, and spicy! The pomelo salad was the best pomelo salad I’ve tried, and it was surprisingly simple with the right ingredients. We each made our own and enjoyed it for a mid-class snack.

Pomelo salad ingredients
Pomelo salad ingredients
Shaving coconut
Shaving coconut. They gave us the coconut shavers as a gift.
Sompong Thai - Pomelo salad (Yum Som Aoo)
Pomelo salad (Yum Som Aoo) – we learned to make the tomato flower too

Chu Chee Curry with Prawn (Chu Chee Goong)

Next was the shrimp curry using the red curry paste we made earlier. First Irin demonstrated how to cook the dish, then we each prepped and cooked our own dish.

Demo-ing the Chu Chee Curry
Demonstrating the Chu Chee Curry
Chu Chee Curry with Prawn ingredients
Chu Chee Curry with Prawn ingredients
Sompong Thai Cooking School - Chu Chee Curry with Prawn (Chu Chee Goong)
Chu Chee Curry with Prawn (Chu Chee Goong)

Chicken Galangal Coconut Cream Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

I’ve made Tom Kha Gai before, but I subbed ginger for galangal and didn’t mix coconut cream with milk. The classroom dish had all the right ingredients and definitely tasted more complex.

Tom Kha Gai ingredients
Chicken galangal coconut cream soup (Tom Kha Gai) ingredients
Sompong Thai - Chicken galangal coconut cream soup (Tom Kha Gai)
Chicken galangal coconut cream soup (Tom Kha Gai)

The Feast!

This was the best part – we got to eat our own dishes, and it was delicious.

Sompong Thai Cooking School - My cooking class creations!
My cooking class creations! Khao Naew Ma Muang, Chu Chee Goong, and Tom Kha Gai.

Sompong Thai Cooking School was so much fun – hands-on, organized, and with excellent instruction. Irin’s English was fantastic, and she even knew some Mandarin. We got to take home the recipe book, along with a coconut scraping tool. The food was truly delicious and some of the best we had on our Thailand trip. If you could just do one touristy thing in Bangkok – I would recommend this cooking class.

1 comment

  1. Amazing suggestion for a food lover and the tourists. I love to eat Thai food. Last year when I was on Thailand tour in my holidays then I joined Authentic Thai cooking classes at “My Thai Cooking” in Bangkok on best prices. It was a great way for me to learn something new, experiencing and enjoying Thai cuisine while having fun at the same time.

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