I have been dying to Cook with Poo so when I was trying to think of new things to do with our visiting UK friends it seemed like the ideal opportunity. Run from her home in the slums of Klong Toey in Bangkok, Khun Poo’s cooking school is popular with tourists and locals alike (Poo has even cooked with Jamie Oliver!).
The course is 1500 baht per person which includes transport to and from the Emporium Suites next to Phrom Phong BTS stop (we booked and paid online from the UK), a tour to buy ingredients around the vast Klong Toey market, turning said ingredients into 3 delicious Thai dishes and then eating them!
We met the group in Phrom Phong at 8.30am on a Wednesday. We jumped straight into the mini bus and headed to the market. I have been to quite a few markets since living in Bangkok but never to one quite as authentic and alive as this! It really was incredible, a serious assault on the senses (Tom and Rob coped brilliantly considering it was their first day in Thailand!) and we learnt an awful lot! We spent a couple of hours exploring with our guide, purchasing a variety of ingredients that we would be using in our dishes later and learning about different produce available.
We headed to the cooking school in the mini bus then walked the short distance into the slum. This was just fascinating for me as I have not been into an area like this before, it was very clean and tidy and to be honest quite different to my preconceived idea of how it would be. Everyone we met was so friendly and greeted us as we passed.
On arrival at the cooking school, Poo told us all about the work she does in her community and the great things that have been achieved through the local Helping Hands Project which supports local businesses and helps them develop. It was good to know that as much as we enjoyed being there and learning to make a few Thai dishes, it really benefitted the community around us.
Then we created our first dish, Yam Som O (pomelo and chicken salad). I love pomelo fruit but have never had the salad so I was intrigued by this one. Once all the ingredients were combined we got to eat our creation and it was delicious, I’f probably put slightly less fish sauce in if I was making it again but the freshness of the grapefruity pomelo combined with the chilli, coconut and nuts was delicious. This is a dish I will definitely be keeping my eye out for!
The next dish we made is a bit of a favourite and something we regularly order, Tom Kha Gai (translated to Coconut soup with chicken). I couldn’t believe quite how quick and simple it was to make, the flavours in this dish are just incredible.
Lastly we made Phad Thai, another favourite. Again I couldn’t believe how easy this was to make once you had assembled all the components and chopped a few things! I loaded mine up with chilli flakes, peanuts and some healthy squeezes of lime! To finish the meal we ate dishes of Cow Miaow Ma-Muang (mango sticky rice) which we didn’t make ourselves as it takes 7 hours to correctly cook the rice but we relished all the same!
We then had the opportunity to buy some ‘Poo’ merchandise including her bestselling cook book ‘Cooking with Poo‘ which we actually already had although I couldn’t resist taking Dave an apron! We were also given a beautiful locally made bag with all the days recipes in.
We had such a great time ‘Cooking with Poo‘, the team were so friendly and knowledgable, the time in the market was simply fascinating and knowing that some of the money we paid was going to help other good causes within that community was very satisfying. If you are in Bangkok and are looking for something worthwhile, interesting and authentic to do I can’t recommend this highly enough!
Cooking with Poo