Global Culinary School

by Robin Cherry

Thai Cooking School at the Oriental Bangkok

Where: Bangkok

The food: Elegant but easy Thai

Back home you'll be whipping up: Stir-fried squid with chile jam

The dish: The Oriental is Bangkok's grandest hotel, and also its finest cooking school. It's taught by Narain Kiattiyotcharoen—but thankfully you can just call him Chef—and housed in an annex across the Chao Praya river from the hotel, next to the restaurant and spa. As complex as the flavors of Thai cuisine are, it's really not that hard to prepare. The trick is becoming familiar with unusual ingredients such as kaffir lime (the zest adds an irreplaceable tang), galanga (a mild ginger), and the potent chili prik kee noo. You'll learn how to whip all those into dishes like tom yum goong, a chili-spiked hot-and-sour soup with prawns and lemongrass, and khao niew mamuang, sticky rice soaked in coconut milk and served with fresh mango. And after four days' worth of morning sessions, expect to conquer the recipe for fiery gaeung kheaw waan gai (green curry chicken). Pronouncing what you've made? That's going to take a bit longer.

Accommodations: The Oriental is more than 130 years old, but happily the luxurious rooms are a mix of old and modern, with four-poster beds and Bose CD players.

When: Year-round (closed for renovations June 2007)

Thai Cooking School at the Oriental Bangkok
Tel: 866 526 6567
From $2,250 per couple for five nights, including four cooking classes, airport transfer, buffet breakfast, one welcome dinner, and a 60-minute massage. Max class size: 16

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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