Smile Koh Mak Thai Cooking School

Smile Koh Mak Thai Cooking School

We travel for experiences and food, so why not combine them both? We had one of the best food experiences of our lives when we visited Smile Cooking School on the island of Koh Mak.

About 8 months before we went to Koh Mak, we were thinking about taking a cooking class. We really wanted to bring the Thai flavors, spices, and techniques back to Germany to cook at home. After much research, we found the perfect place on the island we were visiting: Smile Koh Mak Thai Cooking School.  We reserved 6 months prior to being in Koh Mak and she had little availability left, so we were relieved we reserved when we did.

The sweetest, Thai woman named Leng owns the school. It costs around 1,300 Baht per person. There are only 4 people per cooking class. You can take either an afternoon or evening class. We chose the evening class. A local gave us a wonderful tip to email Leng before the class and request a few dishes we really wanted to learn. We really wanted to learn some of the easier, classic, and spicy dishes, like green curry, red curry, Tom Yam Soup, etc.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Leng in her beautiful and luscious homegrown garden. Most of the herbs and spices we used came straight from her garden.

She created an amazing “cook book” for each of us, which was detailed and provided the different measurement conversions and tips. Loving to cook at home, we wrote down tons of notes and picked her brain for any tips that might help us back in our own kitchen.

Now on to what we cooked.

On the Menu:

  • Papaya Salad
  • Tom Yam Soup
  • Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts
  • Red Curry
  • Sticky Rice with Mango
Ingredients for our Papaya Salad

The best thing was, we were able to adjust everything we made to our own spice level, which is very SPICY! Even Leng was shocked with how many chilis we added to our meals….we like it “pet pet!”

Ingredients to make our red and green curries

We chopped all of the ingredients, smashed and created our own curry pastes, and cooked all of the dishes over a hot plate.

Homemade green and red curry paste

We finally sat down to our hard labored meal and had a great conversation with Leng and the two other students. After enjoying the fruits of our labor, we had the opportunity to shop for some kitchen tools and ingredients she had on hand for people to buy. We ended up buying one of the best knifes we had ever used, tamarind paste, coconut sugar, and a wonderful tea blend that she created.

Fruits of our labor!

We enjoyed this so much, we tried to take the class again while we were there. Unfortunately, she was completely booked. We can’t wait to head back to Koh Mak again one of these days, not only to enjoy the island, but to go back to Smile!

Leng, our incredibly talented teacher!

Do you have any recommendations for cooking classes in Thailand?

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