For those of you who don't know, many restaurants throughout Southeast Asia offer cooking classes, in addition to food. I had turned down several offers for cooking classes in Thailand. After all, why should I pay for something I can learn for free on on the Internet? The food was so good at this Cambodian restaurant, however, that my curiosity got the best of me. I promptly signed up for the 3:30 PM class.
When I arrived for my lesson, the chef informed me that he had just opened the restaurant ten days ago, and that I was his first student! We walked (in the pouring rain) to the local market, where he gave me a rundown on all the different kinds of fruits and vegetables. The list was mountainous; I'd never seen so much produce in my life!
After a few choice purchases, we headed back to the restaurant to commence the class. He showed me how to cook a full three-course meal: two main dishes, a side, and dessert. For the next two hours, we chopped, diced, crushed, and blended dozens of ingredients. Having never been much of a cook myself, it was a fun, informative session.
Finally, it was time to eat the fruits of my labor. Sprawled before me on the table was Fish Amok, Beef LokLak, Fried Spring Rolls, and Coconut LyLy. It was one of the best meals I have ever had. Finally, the owner handed me a cookbook, and I was on my merry way. The price for a three-hour lesson, gigantic dinner, and cookbook? $10.
I hope to share a recipe or two with you someday. These are authentic, delicious Khmer dishes. Never underestimate whims; they lead to the most interesting days!