This piece originally appeared on TravelandLeisure.com.
What and where you eat in Bangkok is just as important as visiting the temples and walking the markets. Thai cooks have a unique practice of balancing salty, hot, sour, sweet and sometimes bitter flavors—often in a single dish. This skills spans the country, from street stalls to white tablecloth restaurants. And as tourists have become increasingly interested in the nuances of this diverse cuisine, cooking schools are becoming a must-do item on travelers’ itineraries. Our favorite cooking schools in Bangkok can transform any home cook into an informed Thai chef.
Best value for the money
Set in a traditional open-air kitchen in the center of bustling Bangkok, the Silom Thai Cooking School teachers vacationers how to recreate favorite dishes like Pad Thai, green curry, and mango sticky rice at home with authentic Thai practices. Instructors guide students at the nearby market to purchase (with a bit of bargaining, of course) ingredients needed for that day’s class—meat, fish, vegetables and herbs—with an eye for quality, while also teaching them relevant Thai vocabulary. They’re also quick to offer substitutes for ingredients that might be hard to find back home. Each session includes the preparation of an appetizer, main courses and dessert. The relaxed atmosphere of mashing up chilies with a mortar and pestle while sitting on the ground and using whole spices instead of pre-ground ones gives students a real look into the day-to-day life of Thai people. Some of the fancy bells and whistles are missing here, but the class is a steal for the price ($30 per person).