The Bangkok-based tour company Expique opened up a whole new adventure for its clients earlier this year called The Market Experience. Located in the heart of the Flower Market, they offer tours of the flower market and cooking + design classes with materials that come from the flower market. The Market Experience hosted us for the morning for their Thai Cooking Class with a Twist. Let me tell you all about it!
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The Market Experience is located on the second floor of the flower market. If you enter from the main entrance on Chakphet Road, it’s very easy to find. You just walk straight back and there will be a flight of stairs to your right; take those stairs and turn right at the top. This will lead you right to The Market Experience’s door. Inside their air-conditioned office, our Chef/Guide Alyssa and her assistant Tum were waiting to greet us with a welcome drink (made from butterfly pea flowers, of course). Alyssa gave us a little run-through of the course.
After our introduction we started off our class by making an appetizer called Miang Kham. It’s a salad that you make for yourself bite by bite. Typically, it’s done in a leaf, but because we were in the flower market and it’s Thai cooking with a twist, we used a lotus petal.
Left: Alyssa Setting Up // Right: Tum and Matt getting started.
Check out this little video to see what all goes in it!
After the appetizer, we headed down into the market to get the grand tour from Alyssa.
The Market Tour
Although it’s The Flower Market, if you walk through you’ll also find loads of fresh cooking materials as well. Veggies, rice, tofu, roots, herbs, fish and more! Walking through the market is an experience in itself.
How cute are these teeny tiny pineapples?! Alyssa says they’re super sweet, but it takes a lot of work to get to them.
This man and I bonded over his delicious-smelling produce.
Left: Kissing Fish // Right: Kissing Wunders
Alyssa bought noodles from this lady to use in our pad thai we were about to cook!
This is chrysanthemum tea. Alyssa explained before 7-Eleven came to Bangkok, you would find small pharmacies like this one, with a woman selling fresh drinks. Of course, we had to try one.
After our wonderful tour, it was time to get down to business and fix our lunch!
The Cooking Class
The Market Experience’s menu changes depending on what’s in season or what the chefs are wanting to help you cook up!
Fruit Salad Starter
We started with a nice fruit salad. This fruit salad has mango, dragonfruit, a homemade dressing and pork. That’s right, a fruit salad with minced pork. I was skeptical, but it was AMAZING! We topped them with peanuts and chilis! (I skipped those chilis; I’m not all about that spice!)
Red + Green Thai Curries
We made curries from scratch – which is really cool to be able to say I’ve done. Matt made a red curry, since he likes a little more spice and I made a green one. Neither Matt nor I are big on fish sauce or fish flavor, so Alyssa gave us a great alternative to the shrimp paste by using these beans! How perfect is that?
It seems like a cooking class wouldn’t be complete without this Thai staple. It’s the number one food most foreigners can recognize, and for good reason: it’s delicious! We made shrimp pad thai and the twist for this dish was the noodles! Of course, Alyssa and Tum added a little something special to our noodles so it would be rainbow pad thai! They dyed the noodles with flower petals.
Then, we feasted!
My Review of The Market Experience
The Market Experience was by far my favorite activity we did in Bangkok. It was my very first cooking class and I loved that it was so much more than that. Alyssa’s tour of the market gave us a more detailed, local insight into the experience that we would’ve missed out on had we just strolled through the market ourselves.
Both Alyssa and Tum were great chefs and their passion for sharing Thai cuisine was apparent. They made the recipes easy to follow and left us eager to recreate them and share them with our friends and family at home. In addition to sharing the cuisine we got a little insight on the history behind certain foods – like the Miang Kham’s royal origins.
I also feel like I walked away from this class with a better understanding of Thai food. Now, I recognize the contrasting sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavors in the Thai foods that Matt and I have bought since the class. I truly feel that anyone who takes this class will walk away having learned something new and interesting.
Disclaimer: Although we took this cooking class courtesy of The Market Experience, all opinions, as always, are my own.
Photos taken by Matt Wunder Photography
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