We wanted to do a cooking class whilst in Asia, but many seem tourist packaged & costly. We really wanted our money to go to a local, rather than a big organisation.
When I first saw the WithLocals site, which connects local people with travellers across Asia, it looked a much more attractive concept.
We decided to book our experience in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Part of the initial reason was that we had tried Cambodian Amok curry, absolutely loved it & wanted to learn how to cook it.
Ben our host is an inspiration, He not only set up the experience (with his family actively involved) but more than that, he has created a social enterprise. He gives a % of the bookings to the local villagers, which is only a part of the work he does, trying to re-educate people about self sufficiency.
At weekends he has created an outside classroom (which doubles as the cooking area) & teaches the local kids English.
Our experience started off with making the filling, rolling & then cooking spring rolls.
Next came fish Amok. we were shown how to make the paste with lemongrass, galangal, chilli, garlic & onion.
Finally a pumpkin custard.
The afternoon was quite physical work, in near 90o heat; but an amazing experience. Meeting Ben was a true privilege & very educational.