I attended two cooking classes in Bangkok (Helping Hands with Poo, and Chef LeeZ) and so will write a single review that discusses both. I will then rate each class separately under their respective headings. I found Helping Hands particularly insightful because of the location, the (so-called) Klong Toey slum, and also because it combined a visit to Bangkok's largest wet market to purchase fresh ingredients for the class. Many, myself included, are sure to find elements of the market disturbing. There will be areas you'll need to hurry through if you don't want to see live animals, including turtles and frogs, slaughtered. That said it is possible to avoid the more grisly sights, and the market is unquestionably a hyper-sensory experience; a vast array of colors, smells and just about every ingredient imagineable is available there somewhere. And the idea of the slum location shouldn't be off-putting; it was fascinating to walk along the narrow pathways, and to see first-hand how the majority of Bangkok's citizens live on a daily basis. The area was both safe and clean, and the class room on a par with Chef LeeZ's. In terms of the class itself, I would say Chef Lee might have been a slightly more thorough teacher than Poo. Her instruction was more detailed, and various aspects of the preparation and cooking process explained in greater depth. If you are in Bangkok long enough, or have the time and resources to attend more than one class, I recommend both. If your interest is soley on learning how to prepare classic thai dishes, Chef LeeZ may be the better option. If you want to combine an educational experience with basic thai cooking instruction, Helping Hands and Poo might hold more interest. The story, and history of Helping Hands is also gratifying, and something that Poo shares during the course of the class. I should also point out that Chef LeeZ also features a brief visit to a small local market. The recommended instructions for getting to Chef Lee are by boat, so if you don't have a separate river excursion planned, this also adds to the experience. The boat isn't necessary however, and we actually took a taxi back to our Ratchaprasong area hotel (much quicker than the boat option). I thoroughly enjoyed, and highly recommend both classes.
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