Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cooking in Bangkok: Baipai Thai Cooking School

Every one who goes Bangkok always go shopping. I don't deny Bangkok is a great shopping haven. (I got a few good buys myself.) But just shopping is...boring. You travel to open your eyes and learn more about foreign cultures.
My Mum always told me when I wander overseas to "live for the moment". Don't worry too much about stuffing the luggage with goodies because our luggage is really small (hurhurhur) and nearly everything in this world can be imported. And that's true. I bought a whole bunch of snacks from Korea to find them available in mart in my neighbourhood. (What was I thinking!!!)
Yes, I admit I was sick of being a normal Bangkok traveller. I wanted to blaze trails. I wanted to be different. So...I attended a cooking class there. *Beams* And that was a jolly well good decision I made. Not only have I picked up new cooking skills, I think I now know the Thai culture a little bit better. No longer am I the lass who only enjoyed Thai food, I can now comment on Thai cuisine.
So you have been following me on my Instagram, you would have noticed that one fine weekend I posed amazing photos of a Garden of Eden. That is the location of my cooking class with Baipai. So pretty right? On our way there, we were passing streets that consist of buildings that didn't look too eye-catching. Beyond the metal gates was the entrance to this gorgeous place. Even if you aren't there to cook, it is quite an attraction for you to take photos.
Baipai Spice Garden
For us, we didn't go for the morning market trip because of the time schedule. For any true cooks out there, you should try to go for the market trip because it is important to know how the ingredients look like if you are going to cook it at home. Don't fret if you are like us and can't find a class within your schedule with the market trip because Baipai has its own mini spice garden there.
I have to admit that initially I didn't think too much of it. But it was surprisingly very educational. After the introduction to the spices, I had a better idea of what to add to make my food taste the desired way I want. I even bought that exact same seasoning soy sauce home.
Coconut Milk
One of the most important ingredients of Thai cuisine is the coconut milk. But do you know there is the coconut cream too? It is just a concentrated form of the coconut milk. From the picture, you may not be able to tell the difference. Coconut cream is on the left and it has a thicker, creamier texture. Coconut milk is more watery and is on the right.
Back at home, coconut cream and milk are both in tin. But at Baipai, we have it fresh because we made it ourselves. Grating the coconuts was not particularly tiring because the work was shared among the other budding cooks. I would encourage you to try it for yourselves there. Most of the dessert would require this so you won't miss this opportunity even if you picked the other menus.
Some photos I took of us making the coconut milk and cream from scratch. I was so in awe with the cracking of the coconut, I even took a photo of it. Hehe. Grating coconuts with lightning speed and squeezing out milk with bare hands, all these skills had to be documented in photos. Yeap, even the BF's weak attempts to imitate our teacher, all captured. *Pat myself on the back*
If you are wondering why I did not put my GoPro to good use there? Videos are not allowed at Baipai, however photos are fortunately allowed. And there will be people taking photos of you too :D Celebrity much.
Thai Egg Custard
I didn't take much photos of our first dish, the Thai Egg Custard. This is my final product. It looks like a rough starfish, but it is just an illusion. Those sugar-like grains are condensation. Yup, this is served cold.
I have never tasted the Thai Egg Custard before prior to this. I actually preferred to make the Mango Sticky Rice instead or even my new favourite water chestnut in coconut milk. Guess we might have to save that for next time :( I thought the Thai Egg Custard was alright but the BF found it too sweet for his liking. Guess I am the one who is sweet in the relationship!
Golden Bag
The second dish we prepared was the Golden Bag. This perfect Golden Bag is made by our teacher dearest. Mine didn't look as pretty before cooked, because I had to use up all my meat. The BF cheated and wasted the tasty, marinated fillings so his golden bags looks gorgeous. Even our teacher praised him. :(
To sidetrack a little, the fillings in these bags were really tasty. It is also the reason why I bought the seasoning soya sauce home. My family love making minced meat, but this is really up a notch. Gotcha show the recipe to Papa.Dumplings
No prize guessing who the bags belong to. I think Lady Luck just ain't shinning on me that day. Even though I am not very good with fire, I am usually pretty skillful in tying knots and making cutesy little dumplings. Okay, at least I didn't break the spring roll sheets. They are awfully delicate by the way.
My Golden Bags
After they were deep-fried by the BF, they didn't look half-bad. Maybe cos I have exceptional talent in plating and photography??? Lol. Took a few mandatory Dumpling seflies to commemorate my achievement even though the BF thinks no one in the world ever took a selfie with a dumpling. (Why would anyone do that in the first place right?) Guess, I just broke a world's record :P
Garden of Eden
A break-shot before the next 2 dishes. Just a housewife chilling with her pet insects :P Don't be worried you won't have time for photo opportunities, cos there are plenty. So meanwhile, let's have some random chat on the classes at Baipai. There are many menus you can pick from and even if they do look like Chinese cuisine, their preparation method differs.
Baipai is a more atas cooking class. There are cheaper variations out there. But if you want a nice environment with complimentary drinks and even pick-up/ drop-off services, Baipai would be what you are looking for. We attended a high-end cooking class in Singapore before and that was  a few hundred dollars. We are paying half the price here! Class size is a cosy 8, so the instructors do have enough time to focus on you.
TomYum GreenCurry
Tada, the exciting 3rd and 4th dish - Tom Yum Soup and Green Curry. Pretty obvious, which is mine and which belongs to the teacher. I am not sure why mine looks so nua and soggy. Maybe cos I cook too slow. I have a bad habit of looking around and comparing with other people when all I should be doing is really monitoring my own cooking.
Surprisingly, the green curry is not as complicated as expected. I probably can't cook it every day but I think I can attempt once a month upon the arrival of my own house. Tom Yum soup could be a staple cos it is easier once you have all the ingredients in place.
Some random photos I took which can let you have a rough idea how the classes are held. For people who are very particular about hygiene, you will like Baipai because they are very organised and very, very clean. We always washed our hands when we prepare a meal. And you only consume the dish you prepare yourself. 
We also did a little pounding on the mortar for the spices. I did that before when I was a kid. But it was very exciting initially. But halfway, my flabby arms felt otherwise. Haha. Had a toner arm for the day I guess.
Ending off with 2 of the photos Baipai sent us which was taken when we were hard at work. Haha. And you will go home with a momento too and it is not the recipes. Not going to share too much here, but it is a little something that will let you remember the fun times you have there. Hehehe, just some suspense for you.
And for the photo they used for the momento is very picked. I think the BF and I look very good in it. In fact, I used an exact same photo on my Instagram. So, if you are like me, ready for a different form of adventure, here's Baipai contacts for you. You can click on any Baipai to link you to their website or their Facebook here. Maybe we will each other there the next time I am in Bangkok. (Missing BKK already!)

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