Cooking Class

making som tam
woman cooking in a wok

Full-Day or Half-Day

Khon Kaen to Khon Kaen

• Shopping in a local fresh market
• Picking herbs from the garden
• Eating your own creations

Less rushed and rigid, and more hands-on and in-depth than the typical Thai cooking school, you’ll get personal attention at all times. Teacher Darling isn’t going to be simultaneously teaching four or more dishes to ten or more students. You can cook just about any Thai or Isan food (see a list of suggestions on the itinerary page) and most dietary requirements (vegan, gluten-free, etc.) can be accommodated. And you will be making complete and authentic dishes, nothing dumbed down to save money on ingredients. You’ll also get a thorough introduction to the main Thai ingredients at the market and in her personal organic garden. And you’ll also do a bit of basic fruit or vegetable carving. At the end, you’ll get the recipes for the foods you’ve made.

If you are interested in Thai food, also check out our Taste of Isan Food Tour and Forest Food Tour.

Advantages Over Typical Thai Cooking Schools
• You can learn to cook pretty much any food you want rather than choosing dishes off a short list.
• You make your foods in their entirety; there are no assistants doing half the work in the background to rush you along.
• You have the full attention of your teacher because these are private classes.
• You pick many of your ingredients fresh from the organic garden.

About Your Teacher, Dr. Suvenus “Darling” Prachayakupt
“The love of cooking runs deep in my family. My great grandmother made her living selling desserts and both of my grandmothers were also professional cooks – one of them sold her food from a boat in a floating market. Though my mother is a doctor, she also loves to cook. and as long as I can remember, cooking has been one of my favorite things to do. Even as a little girl I always volunteered to help in the kitchen, so I learned a lot from my family. When I was in junior high, I started stopping at the market on my way home from school to buy the best ingredients for my family’s dinner. But despite my devotion to cooking, back then being a chef was not considered a suitable job, so I took different career path and got my Ph.D. in Hospitality Management and worked as a university professor. But after a fourteen-year career in academia, I realized that money can’t buy happiness, and in 2017 I left the safe career track to follow my epicurean dreams. I now grow my own organic food at home and passed the National Skill Standard certification for Thai chefs. I look forward to this new chance to share my love of Thai food through Darling Cooking School.”

Make the most of your trip with our special add-on activities before, during, or after your tour.

three students holding plates of pat thai

Full-Day (7-8 hours)
Your day starts with a shopping trip to one of Khon Kaen’s largest fresh markets and then you’ll pick some of your own herbs and vegetables in the organic garden. Having learned about all the important Thai ingredients, you’ll make a refreshing drink from flowers or herbs: using whatever is in season. Then you move to the air-conditioned kitchen and learn to cook two Thai or Isan dishes and one classic dessert: choose one item from each of the categories in the menu below. After you eat and relax, we’ll take you back to your hotel.

Half-Day (4-5 hours)
The half-day option is an abbreviated version of the full-day class with no market and no dessert. Choose two dishes and a beverage from the menu below.

You choose one food from each category. Though if you want to make something not on this list, just ask – Darling can probably do it. For each dish, you can choose pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, fish, or tofu (although some proteins are incompatible with some of the dishes) and all but a few can be made vegetarian, vegan, or jae. We can also accommodate most other dietary requirements including gluten-free, not spicy, and food allergies.

Herbal/Floral Beverages
These are made with fresh ingredients, so what’s available depends on the season.
Nam anchan manao / Butterfly pea juice with lime
Nam dakrai / Lemongrass juice
Nam bai-doey / Pandan juice
Nam grajiap / Roselle juice
Nam bai-yanang / Yanang juice

Classic Dishes
Supe naw-mai / Bamboo shoot salad (Isan)
Tom kah / Coconut soup
Gaeng choo-chee / Dry red curry
Gaeng keeao wan / Green curry
Gaeng om / Herbal curry (Isan)
Tom yam / Hot and sour Thai soup
Tom saep / Hot and sour Isan soup (Isan)
Gaeng massaman / Massaman curry
Gaeng panaeng / Panang curry
Gaeng pet / Red curry
Gaeng som / Sour curry
Tao jiao lon / Soybean dipping sauce
Lahp / Spicy herbal salad (Isan)
Gaeng liang / Spicy herbal vegetable soup
Gaeng kai pam / Swamp algae soup (Isan)

Quick Dishes
Pat preek tai dam / Black pepper stir-fry
Gai pat met mamuang-himapan / Cashew chicken
Pat pong garee / Curry powder stir-fry
Pat kee-mao / Drunken noodles
Kao pat / Fried rice
Pat gratiam / Garlic stir-fry
Yam wun sen / Glass-noodle salad
Som tam lao / Green papaya salad Isan-style (Isan)
Som tam thai / Green papaya salad Thai-style
Pat gaprao / Holy basil stir-fry
Yam dakrai / Lemongrass salad
Yam mamuang / Mango salad
Yam som-o / Pomelo salad
Pat preek gaeng / Red curry stir-fry
Pat wun sen / Stir-fried glass noodles.
Pak-bung fai daeng / Stir-fried morning glory
Pat see-ew / Stir-fried noodles with soy sauce
Pat saut makam / Tamarind sauce stir-fry
Pat thai / Thai fried noodles
Kai jeeao / Thai omelet

Chaw muang / Flower dumplings
Sangkaya fak-tong / “Pumpkin” custard
Tap-tim grawp / Red rubies in coconut milk
Kanom gluay / Steamed banana cakes
Bua loi / Sticky rice dumplings in coconut milk
Kao neeao mamuang / Sticky rice with mango

If our itinerary doesn’t fit your exact needs and desires, please let us know. With advance notice we can usually modify things.

Prices valid until March 2023.

Group Size 1 2 3 4 5+
Price for Half-Day (Baht) 3,000 3,600 4,200 4,800 Ask
Price for Full-Day (Baht) 3,500 4,100 4,700 5,300 Ask

Price Includes
All food and activities as specified in the itinerary with an English-speaking teacher, transportation to and from your hotel (if you are staying in or near the city center), welcoming snack and drink, certificate of achievement, accident insurance, taxes, and pre-departure travel consultation.

Price Does Not Include
Travel and medical insurance, personal expenses (such as souvenirs, snacks, etc.), tips/gratuities, and any additional expenses incurred due to airline schedule changes, natural disasters, political actions, or other factors beyond our control.

Booking/Cancellation Policies
• For tours longer than one day, a non-refundable deposit of 30% is required as soon as possible after making your reservation.
• The full payment is due before the tour begins. This can be done after you arrive in Thailand, as long as you have access to sufficient funds before you depart on your tour.
• International payments are best done by bank transfer, and the cheapest, fastest, and easiest way is with TransferWise. Credit/debit cards can be used through TransferWise or other online wire transfer services. For people inside Thailand, we accept payment via cash (Thai baht, US dollars, British pounds, and euros), ATM transfer, and counter deposit to Siam Commercial Bank.
• If local taxes and/or fuel prices increase significantly, we reserve the right to add comparable surcharges.

Click here to read our full tour Terms & Conditions.