It’s so difficult to pick out the best parts of these trips when every day is so much fun!
While Saturday’s Phi Phi Islands tour was absolutely incredible, the birthday surprise I had planned for Sunday might have been the absolute cherry on top of a perfect bday weekend!
I was having some trouble deciding what to get Tim for his birthday. I had gotten him a few small gifts but didn’t yet have that WOW factor… I mean, it was his 30th birthday – it had to be good!
When it came to me, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it earlier. TT loves spicy food and his absolute favorite cuisine is Thai(!) and we were IN THAILAND. From my final days in Hong Kong I googled and searched for the best spicy Thai cooking class that would take such a last minute reservation and came up with the most highly rated cooking class on TripAdvisor, VJ’s Thai Cooking Class.
The reviews were phenomenal so I took my chances and emailed VJ to see if she would take a last minute private class for Sunday evening. She said yes! Tim was ecstatic when I told him. We looked forward to it all day.
BUT FIRST let me tell you a little about breakfast at Kata Villa. Breakfast is included with the room and takes place at the outdoor terrace restaurant right next to the rooms. You are handed your enormous menu by one of the smiling Thai ladies
and get to pick 5 items for your spread
We took in our last beach day
stopping at the small family-owned Kwong Shop Seafood Restaurant in Kata for lunch.
Unfortunately Mr. Kwong, the well known owner, was not in during our visit but the food was fabulous. Get the seafood! It’s fresh and fantastic and always served with a smile 🙂
The rest of the afternoon was spent packing up and soaking in the last of the rays
before VJ picked us up and ferried us to her cooking studio!
I can not talk enough about VJ’s cooking class. From the moment she picked us up, she was talking us through the whole process – what we would be cooking, where the ingredients come from, and her background as a chef from Bangkok – her parents owned a wonderful Thai restaurant and VJ plans to open her own restaurant in Phuket in the next year or so!
On the menu was spicy, sour Tom Yum soup, both red and green curries, chicken with cashews, and pad thai!
All of the ingredients were laid out mise en place style and VJ and her helpers brought them over as needed.
We made homemade curry paste using only a mortar and pestle
and used it to make the most decadent red and green curry chicken soups I’ve ever tasted. They were so silky and the flavors so deep and vibrant. It was so awesome to see the colors come through so brightly having only used red and green colored ingredients!!
For the Tom Yum soup, VJ let us choose our heat level by including as many chilis as we wanted. She told us that a normal restaurant that you might order food from would maybe put 5 or so chilis in their soup but if we want spicier, add more. Tim eats the spiciest food of anyone I know so he added 8 chilis.
“Is this okay?” we asked.
“Sure – up to you!” VJ responded.
HAHA FAT CHANCE. This was the spiciest soup I’ve ever tasted. I couldn’t eat more than 3 bites because it physically hurt my stomach. TT, on the other hand, slurped up the whole thing!
At the end of the class, VJ let us know she had never seen anyone put 8 chilis in the soup before. She only uses 4-5 herself!
If you are in Phuket, GO TO VJ’s CLASS! It was the most wonderful few hours – we learned so much about Thai cooking and local ingredients that we would probably not have cooked with on our own. Making everything from scratch and by hand using a mortar and pestle instead of any food processors was so fun and really connected us with the process and the recipes. The food was fantastic and VJ was such a lovely host and teacher. She even arranged for a surprise birthday cake for Tim and we all sang HBD to him (his fourth serenade of the weekend) and dived into a delicious strawberry shortcake together.
Sad to wave goodbye to VJ, the wonderful class, and the incredible island of Phuket, we packed into our uber and headed to the airport.
We will definitely be back, Phuket!!