Thailand 2014: Cooking with Poo

Introduction
Cathay Pacific Lounge San Francisco
Cathay Pacific First Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Lounge The Pier Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Millennium Hilton Bangkok
Cooking with Poo
Overnight Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Le Meridien Chiang Mai
Patara Elephant Farm
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Chiang Mai to Ko Samui
Conrad Koh Samui
Bangkok Airways Koh Samui to Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Check-in and Lounge Bangkok
EVA Air Evergreen Lounge Bangkok
Louis’ Tavern First Class CIP Lounge Bangkok
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines Lounge Hong Kong
Thai Airways Lounge Hong Kong
Asiana Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul
Asiana Airlines First Class Lounge Seoul
Asiana Airlines First Class Suites Seoul to New York
United Airlines Business Class PS Service New York to San Francisco


Cooking with Poo is one of the top-rated attractions in Bangkok on TripAdvisor, as well as the name of a cookbook that once won a prize for oddest book title. This isn’t a scatalogical experience, but instead, Poo is the nickname of a woman who’s created one of the most acclaimed cooking schools in Bangkok for tourists.

I made reservations for the cooking class well in advance, and the cost was 1200 baht per person. You meet in front of the Emporium Suites, which is just a couple of minutes from the Phrom Phong BTS station. From there, you’re put into a van to take you to a wet market for a quick tour, and then onward to the slum where the cooking class is located.

The wet market was quite the experience. I am personally fascinated by food and where it comes from, so this part of the day would have been enough to satisfy me. This wasn’t a touristy market by any means, and there were a lot of things that I saw here that I didn’t see elsewhere in Thailand.

Our fearless tour guide

Our fearless tour guide

In particular, there were a lot of insects for sale for consumption, from crickets to water bugs to ant larva. Beyond the insects, there were plenty of live animals like frogs, turtles, and eels, and a lot of fruits and vegetables that would be rare to find in the US. Our guide did a great job of explaining what all of the unusual things were and answered any questions that we had. This tour is probably not suitable for some people, as Poo said she’s had instances of people crying afterward because of all of the animals for sale in varying states, which is much more vivid than anything you’ll see in the US.

This is not a cockroach but is instead a water bug

This is not a cockroach but is instead a water bug

More insects/larva

More insects/larva

This was perhaps my favorite person in Thailand: shirtless fishmonger wearing a dorag and bluetooth

This was perhaps my favorite person in Thailand: shirtless fishmonger wearing a dorag and bluetooth

After the market tour, we went to the slum that the cooking school was located in. I call it a slum because that’s the term that Poo used (and, well, there was sewage running in the streets). She described her story of cooking food in the slum every day until she met an Australian woman who eventually provided her the seed money to start her cooking school. Poo has grown this school to quite the business, and she’s empowered a lot of people and reinvested a lot of money into the surrounding area.

Poo at the cooking school

Poo at the cooking school

For the cooking class part of the day, it wasn’t much actual cooking, which I guess makes sense if this is aimed at tourists of varying levels of cooking proficiency. At most, you’re assembling things that are pre-proportioned and pre-cut and heating them together, but the result was still delicious, and the satisfaction of making something was still there. On the day that we went, the menu consisted of pomelo salad, coconut soup (tom kha), and pad thai, as well as a dessert tasting of mango with sticky rice, pumpkin filled with custard, and a variety of fruits including rose apple, mangosteen, guava, dragonfruit, lychee, and long yuan. I chose to make everything vegetarian.

Pomelo salad

Pomelo salad

Coconut soup

Coconut soup

Pad thai

Pad thai

Mango sticky rice, pumpkin custard, and lots of fruit

Mango sticky rice, pumpkin custard, and lots of fruit

It’s advisable to not eat too much for breakfast, since you end up cooking quite a bit of food, and dessert seems endless, but if you have leftovers, they’ll package them up for you to take with you. Overall, the food was really delicious and deceptively easy to make, and I particularly enjoyed the fruit tasting at the end, since it was a good opportunity to try all of the things you may have seen.

If you’re looking for a cooking school where you learn how to cook, Cooking with Poo might not be the best option since there’s relatively little cooking or instruction, but if you’re looking to get a glimpse into Thai cuisine, the market tour and dessert tasting at the end are great introductions. And if you go to this cooking school, you know you’re supporting a good cause, and you can feel good about yourself (and very full) at the end of the day. They also sell awesome aprons.

3 thoughts on “Thailand 2014: Cooking with Poo

    1. EfficientAsianMan

      Mangosteen was also my favorite! Custard apple and rose apple are separate things, as far as I can tell. The last thing I mentioned was just my attempt at a transliteration of the Chinese name, but it’s very similar to lychee. I think it’s also called dragon’s eye?

      Reply
  1. Pingback: Cooking Class (Cooking With Poo), Bangkok | Pegasus SinBkk : Flight Of The Free Spirit

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