Food Playground, Cooking School – Singapore – 29 December 2017 – a fun couple of hours learning about and cooking delicious local Singaporean cuisine

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One of the best ways to experience a country’s culture is to eat its local cuisine. You can go one step better by taking part in a cooking class. That’s what we did back in 2017 when we visited Singapore. Since doing this in Singapore, we have made it a goal to attend a cooking class in each country we visit.

We booked our Singaporean cooking class on 29 December 2017 at Food Playground. We found our class via Viator (related to Trip Advisor) and make sure to secure a morning session at 9:30 am. The menu changes day to day, so you should check out their website before making a booking if you want to cook a particular dish.

Our cooking station at Food Playground

On the day, our menu consisted of laksa, spring rolls and hoon kueh. Our group consisted of around 12 people, most in groups of two and mainly couples. Many of our group members were people from around the world. It was a very multicultural group.

Our main dish happened to be curry laksa. To ensure we made some delicious Nyonya laksa, our host introduced us to the range of ingredients for this laksa, which has a lot of ingredients, and even gave us some interesting tips about what makes a good laksa (take your time and pick the ideal ingredients). The spices of our laksa consisted of the following:

  • drilled chili
  • shallots
  • candlenuts
  • lemongrass
  • galangal
  • dried shrimp
  • shrimp paste
  • coriander seed
  • turmeric powder

They taught us about the ingredients role in the dish and why they were important to the dish. They provided some interesting history on laksa and also gave us some alternative ingredients if we couldn’t find certain things at our local grocer, e.g. galangal could be replaced with young ginger.

Some of the aromatic spices used in our curry laksa dish at Food Playground

All the ingredients were provided to us and cut up. Our job was to carefully put together the soup, by using a pestle and mortar to grind the spices into fine pieces of sand. Then, as we added more ingredients, we needed to turn the spices into a smelly curry laksa paste. And finally, mixing it carefully with the prawn stock and coconut milk. (Boy, the task of pounding the spices is not easy work and I can understand if people just want to buy the paste. When turning the spices into the paste, you need to pound for ages and consistently.)

Cooking away at the Food Playground

Our hosts told us that it was really important to take time when we cooked, because the best home cooked dishes are prepared over a long day. (For us young people, we just don’t have the time for this, but it is at least good to learn the tried and true traditions.)

Our hosts also helped us make some vegetarian spring rolls and hoon kueh. Hoon kueh consists of mung bean flour, sugar, salt, coconut milk and corn kernels. It is a sweet, which was nice and gooey. The spring rolls were nice and crunchy.

Cooking the curry laksa soup and having the ingredients on the side at Food Playground

If there were any issues cooking the dish, our hosts were kind enough to give us a hand to put us back on track. (I think we did alright throughout the class. We were doing most things correctly, except the pounding bit. Well, actually, the pounding bit was the most important part of the whole class.)

My curry laksa at Food Playground

Once we completed our dishes, we were allowed to then sit down with our fellow cooks and enjoy the dishes we created. (What a reward!)

Our completed dishes of curry laksa, hoon kueh and spring rolls at Food Playground

When we left, our hosts made sure to get a photo of the entire group and sent us copies of recipe for each of the dishes.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The hosts were professional, provided some really interesting history of the cuisine, we met some great people, and learnt to make some Singaporean laksa, which we have tried to make a few times (though to a lesser standard than the one we cooked in the class. And we also tried the store paste version as well).

Food Playground is located close to Singapore’s Chinatown at 24A Sago Street, Singapore 059020. Once you finish your class, you can spend some time enjoying the sights and markets around the area:

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