Nazlina Spice Station is run by self-taught local cook-turned tour guide Nazlina Hussin. Her classes are friendly, laidback and have been mentioned in travel features and magazines all over the globe. The cooking class begins at a neighbourhood morning market. You’ll sift through fresh ingredients amidst the early hustle and bustle, and if you can, pick up a few haggling tricks from Nazlina herself. Students of the class will cook meals of the day from scratch as canned and packaged ingredients are a strict no-no for Nazlina. The enriching hands-on experience will let you play with spices, taste them and adjust them to your liking. You’ll learn how to master curry laksa, beef rendang and fresh popiah in each session.
For a quick introduction to Peranakan cuisine (sometimes called Baba-Nyonya), put Pearly Kee on your speed dial. The Penang Homecooking School derives from her passion and love for authentic Peranakan cuisine. Pearly is always chirpy and beaming, so expect your class to be a fun learning experience. Here, cooking classes are customised to cater to her client’s individual needs and wants, and if you’re allergic to a certain category of food, feel free to let her know. The class begins with a tour of the wet market where you’ll join Pearly in tasting and buying a medley of ingredients. Back in the kitchen, you’ll learn the basics of peeling, chopping, dicing, frying and sautéing ingredients before mixing it all together for a Peranakan meal. There are several packages to choose from, and some of the earlier classes have featured assam laksa, fish tumis, kerabu pineapple, nyonya lor bak and sambal udang.
The resident cooks of Tropical Spice Garden cooking school are an experienced bunch and hold several themed cooking classes each month. If you’re ready for adventure, begin the day with a complimentary guided tour of the Spice Terraces, followed by a pit stop where you can kick back and tame your excitement with a cup of herbal tea. Participants will then be brought to the cooking school where they’ll learn to cook several Malaysian, Thai, Southern Indian and Peranakan favourites in four hours. Keep a lookout for the Penang favourites class and master the tricks to prepare the city’s popular Penang char koay teow and onde onde (pandan-flavoured sticky ball stuffed with palm sugar).