Food is a massive part of travelling for me and I love trying out local food, especially street food. When I am away, I try to take part in a local cookery class. Not only do you learn how to cook local dishes, but usually a food market tour is included and it’s interesting to see, and even try, the different foods on offer.
When I was in Penang, Malaysia in June 2017 I couldn’t wait to take part in Penang Homecooking School’s cookery class. I had chosen this class because of its excellent reviews on TripAdvisor, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. The owner, Pearly Kee, is an expert in Nyonya cooking and has won many awards over the years for her fabulous cooking. She even has her own cookery book out which you can buy here. Pearly is the person you’d want to teach you about the food of Penang.
I communicated with Pearly via email and transferred her a deposit for the class via PayPal before I’d left the U.K. I told her my hotel name, and she gave me a pick-up time.
On the day, Pearly’s husband Chandra picked us up from Parkroyal Penang Resort at 8:45am and took us to a local food market, where we met Pearly and the rest of the group. We spent an hour or so walking around the market, looking at the fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and fish for sale. Pearly would often stop and point out various ingredients, explaining their uses and where they originate from. We also got to try exotic fruits that we don’t get to see back in the U.K.
My favourite sample of food that I tried in the market was a peanut crumpet.
After we’d finished at the market, we proceeded to Pearly and Chandra’s home to begin the cooking class. There was six of us in the class, and we each had our own work station. I liked that it was a small class because it meant that Pearly got to spend a bit more time with us one-on-one. As I’d booked this class quite far in advance (as soon as I knew when I’d be in Penang), Pearly had given me the pick of the menu. Lloyd and I decided that the class would cook Daging Masak Kicap (beef curry), Curry Kapitan (chicken curry) and Mix Vegetable Archar (vegetables).
After we’d cooked our lunch, the six of us sat around the dining table with Pearly and tucked into the delicious food that we had just cooked. It was really nice to get to know Pearly, as well as the other people on the cookery class over our common interests of food and travelling.
Once we were full, Chandra dropped Lloyd and I back to our hotel at around 2:45pm.
Pearly and Chandra made us feel very welcome, and were full of knowledge. I highly recommend Penang Homecooking School if you’re thinking about taking a cookery class in Penang.