Recently I had the honor of being selected by Siam Wisdom for a cooking class with their lead chef. Then I had a full dinner there. Now I have a new standard for Thai food.
Siam Wisdom was originally established in 2014 in a rustic wooden house built over 90 years ago. Mr. Christian Johann Jadpradit Kostner, the Iron (head) Chef, never went to culinary school. Instead, he was trained by his grandmother in authentic Thai cuisine. Now he leads a team serving some of the most fantastic food I’ve ever tasted.
Granted, I’ve only been in Thailand for a couple weeks. In that time I’ve eaten at the full range of establishments, from street stalls to fancy restaurants. This place set a whole new standard. It’s no wonder they’ve been rated one of the top restaurants in Bangkok in 2014 and 2015.
I noticed some reviews that said the service was slow. The reviews must have been written by Americans used to fast food. As a chef myself, I know how long it takes to make a good meal. Meals I had which were cooked in 5 minutes by a 46-star chef in Hollywood will never compare to the meals I was served by an old lady in Italy who took 20 minutes to produce a divine, earth-shattering dinner. Siam Wisdom is no different. The wait is more than worth it.
So what was my class and dinner like?
My cooking class was organized as part of my TBEX (Travel Blogger EXchange) Convention. I was with Christof Hock from Backpacker Pack.de, as well as an apprentice chef at the restaurant. If you would like to take the class at this amazing restaurant, feel free to contact them. They will be happy to arrange one with you.
The class started off with familiarization and training about ingredients used in Thai cooking. I sampled many of them, as well as several prepared appetizers they presented to us. I can’t name them all, but they included Ka Nom Boung Bo Laan and Thod Man Pla Kha On, which are described below. The class then started in earnest, with the following dishes on the agenda:
The head chef would cook each dish first and we then duplicated it. I was really touched when Christian said my appetizer and main course were “same, same” to his, although my Bou Loi dessert fell short. What really brought a smile to my face was when they asked if I wanted to cook there. They could have been joking, but it didn’t seem so. I just might take them up on the offer someday.
The dinner I later had was:
Betel leaf folded and filled with sweetened fish sauce, diced ginger, diced shallot, diced lime, chili, peanuts, dried shrimps and topped with roasted coconut
ขนมเบื้องโบราณไส้ปู (KA NOM BOUNG BO LAAN)
Crispy Thai galette with savory crab meat and kaffir lime leaves
ทอดมันปลากรายข่าอ่อน (THOD MAN PLA KHA ON)
Deep fried fish cakes with red curry paste and kaffir lime leaves served with cucumber relish
แกงคั่วปูใบชะพลู (KEANG KUA POO)
Southern style yellow curry with blue crab meat and wild betel leaf
ผัดยอดผักบุ้งกับกะปิดี (PAD PHAK BOONG)
Young water spinach stir-fried with shrimp paste and shallot
ปลากะพงย่างขมิ้น (PLA YANG KAMIN)
Grilled marinated sea bass with fresh turmeric served with spicy dip
White rice, jasmine rice and Nam Pla Prik (fresh chili in fish sauce) were served on the side.
ขนมโคน้ำกะทิ (KANOM KOH NAM GATI)
Coconut dumplings in candle-smoked jasmine-scented sweet coconut milk
When we arrived we were served iced lemongrass tea. You can’t imagine how hydrating that was in Bangkok’s 35° weather. Between the appetizers and the main dishes they served Butterfly Pea Blossom sorbet to clean the palate. Toward the end of the main course a lady started playing a Khim (thai cymbalo), enhancing the already enchanted ambiance of the restaurant. Believe me, the time between courses only built the anticipation for the next dish. Oh, and it allowed us time to digest. I honestly don’t know how I managed to finish all the food, except that I couldn’t have stopped eating it had I wanted to.
While my class and dinner was set up with the conference, the quality of this restaurant was certainly genuine. The prices aren’t as low as the street food I’m wont to eat as a budget traveler, but if you want the best, this is the place to go.
They are not the easiest to find, but very centrally located. The closest stations are Asok for BTS (skytrain), Sukhumvit for the MRT (metro) and Makkasan for the SRT (airport express). Check out the exact location on the map here.
If you’re not in Bangkok yet, get there. And make sure you use Skyscanner.com to book your tickets to find the cheapest flights.