“Great fun and tasty food!!”
We had a lovely time cooking Malay food and learning about the different spices used in cooking. Would recommend this to anyone who is interested in cooking or anyone that wants to try!!
Reviewed:1st April 2015
“Fantastic cooking class!”
My husband and I did the Thai Flavours cooking class with Devi and absolutely loved it! The morning started with a 1 hour tour of the grounds and spice garden, a quick look at the gift shop then straight into the class. Unlike some classes, we had the opportunity to chop and prep our own products, ground our own spices and do the leg work which was great because it made it easier to remember how to do it again at home! There were assistants who were discreetly cleaning up after us though, which I’ll definitely miss not having at home! Devi was brilliant, explaining the different uses of the spices and why for example you use the root of the coriander too – which was nice to learn. The end result was a thai tuna salad, prawn curry (made completely from scratch) and banana fritters with chocolate sauce – all tasted totally amazing. I now really appreciate what goes into a curry when it’s made from scratch. I think I need to get myself a mortar and pestle after this. I’m quite sure we’ll be back to try more of the classes. After the class you can walk around the grounds again, this time taking time for photos etc. If you’re still hungry after all that cooking and food there’s a café ‘Tree Monkey’ with an awesome view. However, there’s also an awesome view when you sit to eat the fruits of your labour. We drove there, but we noticed there’s a public transport bus stop directly out the front. An added bonus: Devi was kind enough to give us info on the local wet markets which was extremely helpful and generous.
Contributor:Amber H Source
Reviewed:20th March 2015
My husband and I spent one morning at the TSG. What a great way to spend the morning! We took a cab from Georgetown as we were not sure whether the buses were reliable. First we went on a short tour in the TSG. The female guide was very knowledgable and good fun. The lemongrass and stevia tea which had been brewed the same morning was absolutely delicious. Then we had the cooking class with Pearly Kee. We were 5 students in all. Pearly had two assistants who took care of all the cleaning. That in itself was a treat 🙂 Pearly has a bubbling personality and we had a lot of good laughs while cooking some very delicious (and easy cooked) dishes. After that we had the food we had cooked for lunch. I was very impressed my myself – and my husband as well! I have tried cooking the Chicken Hong Bak when we returned to Denmark. It was quite tasty!!
Reviewed:14 March 2015
“A good experience and a must-do when you travel!”
My second time to Penang but my first cooking lesson in a foreign country. It was truly an enjoyable time spent from morning to lunch time. It was awesome! Took a class with pearly kee with four other students and we all enjoyed cooking local dishes. With this, I came back cooking the same dishes and were well liked by my family. If you were a cook for the family, give this a try too because learning new dishes is a treat for everyone in the family.
Reviewed:10th March 2015
“Fantastic tour and excellent cooking class”
Both the tour and the cooking class were excellent! Tour:Fun, thorough and informative. The guide was very friendly and patient in answering are numerous questions about the plants that thrive in the gorgeous garden.Cooking Class:Lots of fun! And plenty of good food! Our class was led by Devi. Devi and the assistant chefs were all very friendly and willing to answer whatever questions that we had. The lunch was enjoyed outdoors in a lovely shaded area with plenty of fresh breeze coming from the sea.
Reviewed:9th March 2015
Really enjoyed my morning cooking class – Best of Malay with Rohana Turner…. Beef Rendang and Sayur Lodeh… delicious.Informative guide through the spice garden first before starting the cooking class. Cooking school well laid out and everything provided and at your fingertips… Rohana talked and demonstrated us through the two dishes in a relaxed manor – and was always there to help when required. Can’t wait to try to cook these dishes again – definitely inspired me to get cooking!Attended on my own – but soon felt part of the group…. Highly recommend.
Reviewed:24th February 2015
“A must-do in Penang”!
This is my second time taking a cooking class when I’m on vacation. After my first experience, I am truly in love with attending cooking classes during my travels. I do not only get to learn about local culture, but also different cooking techniques, meeting people from all over the world and have a taste of different cuisine.Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School is definitely a great choice if you are oriental food lover. The class started with a guided tour around the Garden with a guide showing us different plants, spices and herbs. It was fascinating to learn about different herbs families. The tour ended at the cooking school where we met our experienced chef Rohana. We got to cook local Malay Cuisine, including one of my favourite, Beef Rendang. Each of the students would be assigned to their own station where all ingredients were prepared for you. Rohana then carefully ran through the recipes with you and with any questions you asked, Rohana showed her knowledge by answering thoroughly. The cooking class ended with enjoying your own food together with the rest of the class and the take away is definitely more than you would expect. It was a good experience as we got to learn from making everything from scratch, got to cook your own dish and of course, having fun with your classmates and your chef. I would definitely recommend to other travelers who are planning their trip to Penang and explore a once in a life time experience when traveling.
Reviewed:24th February 2015
“Excellent in every way!”
My husband and I enjoyed a wonderful morning cooking Nyonya food with the expert guidance of Pearly Kee after an interesting tour around the Spice Garden. If you’re remotely interested in cooking, this is a must-do when visiting Penang. Pearly also runs classes in her home and from what reviewers say these are equally good. The cooking school itself is a modern, bright, clean and airy place where you’re provided with all you need to make a delicious lunch from scratch. Each person has their own cooking station, Pearly gives detailed instruction in a fun manner and you get to sit down and eat together at the end of the class. We made Curry Kapitan, tamarind egg and wing bean salad. Yum!! I can’t wait to try making these dishes at home.
Reviewed:18th February 2015
Our cooking class was a highlight of our stay in Penang. We took the Hawker food class, learnt some good techniques and made amazing dishes. We chose this class after reading reviews of Pearly’s classes and agree she is a great guide in the kitchen. Bought her cookbook and going to give her recipes a try at home! YUM. We took a taxi to the Tropical Spice Gardens but went home on the local bus – bus stop opposite the gardens.
Reviewed:14th February 2015
“Informative, fun and delicious”
Had an interesting walk through a small bit of the Tropical Spice Gardens with a very helpful and informative guide who explained all about the various spices and their health benefits – a revelation in itself. Then on to the cookery school where Pearly Kee took us through 2 typical dishes of – otak otak and char kway teow. She was very good, having to deal with a number of different food allergies and personal dietary preferences. Some of the blender equipment she was using could have done with being a bit more powerful and reliable (but I guess it gets heavy usage!), but she coped with it really well. She had 2 girls helping who were very good and helped in the background. Overall it was an enjoyable experience and we ended up with some pretty good food all made by our own fair hands. Well worth it – and my husband agreed when he arrived to sample the finished dishes (he came as a non-cooking guest) – his timing was pretty perfect arriving just as we were making the char kway teow (which has to be cooked, served and eaten right away.
Reviewed:13th February 2015
We had a tour guide, who showed us around the garden explaining the different types of plants. He was very polite and pleasant and spoke very good English. We then attended a cookery class where we met Viji (our chef) and her lovely assistant Ina. We are very happy that we have met these two wonderful ladies who taught us how to cook up a delicious meal. We made spicy fried chicken and spicy vegetable tofu with coconut rice. We laughed so much and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. It is definitely a meal that we will making again back in London.
Reviewed:2nd Feb 2015
“Nyonya Cooking with Pearly Kee”
My son and I had a fantastic afternoon cooking Nyonya food with Pearly Kee after a brilliant tour around the Spice Garden, very informative and interesting. Pearly was a great teacher and very patient (with a wicked sense of humour) I would recommend this as a must to anyone travelling to Penang. Michelle Teh the assistant manager dealt with my requests efficiently and promptly – very professional.
Reviewed:16th Dec 2014
The spice garden and tour then the cooking school was great. The food we got yo eat was even better as we had made it. All local ingredients.
Reviewed:13th Dec 2014
“Unforgettable experience in Penang”
The tropical spice garden is a hidden gem in Penang. My mother, sister and I had a wonderful time learning various kinds of spices and enjoyed the tour. We also booked a cooking class led by Nyonya cuisine guru Pearly Kee. It was such an amazing experience. I must say it was the leak of our trip in Penang. Pearly have us hands on teaching and also shared lots of anecdotes of her life growing up in Malaysia. Pearly’ husband was there assisting students throughout the class. We had a great time cooking and learning!
Reviewed 14th November 2014
“Spice Garden and Nyonya Cooking”
A must for anyone who is visiting Penang Island! We took part in a Tropical Spice Garden cooking course that focused on nyonya specialties with the wonderful and entertaining instructor Pearly Kee, an expert in nyonya cooking. The cooking course also gave us admission to the spice garden and we had a wonderful tour by a very knowledgeable guide. A meal at Tree Monkey is highly recommended, which is located within the Tropical Spice Garden, but can be reached by a separate entrance for those who are simply interested in a meal at the restaurant.
Reviewed 15th Sept 2014
“Amazing food and amazing people!!!!!”
We had a great time! The menu was able to be adjusted to suit our dietary needs and we were able to cook a beautiful feast! So much food! And the tour through the spice gardens was great! Very informative and interesting! Thank you for a great day!
Reviewed 3rd Sept 2014
“Wonderful gardens and First Class cooking school”
We came here on my husband’s 60th birthday in April. The gardens are everything the other 5*reviewers have said. Beautiful tranquil oasis. We know this part of the world well but we still learned new things about the plant life and spices on a tour which was great fun. We then went for a Nyonya cooking course which I can only describe as outstanding. Again – a lot of the ingredients and techniques were new to us even though we cook a lot of Malaysian food at home. It was hard work but exhilarating! Top notch chef who was an excellent teacher and lovely support staff. Highly recommended. I organised everything with Michelle by email ( we live in London) to keep the day as a surprise and she could not have been more helpful.
Reviewed: 16 August 2014
“Malaysian feast…Nasi Goreng”
Had a great experience, opportunity to taste, smell and identify various herbs and spices in the garden then cook a feast! We did the Malay special, great teacher (Rohana) who was very accommodating for my vegetarian friend and adapted the meals. Tried nutmeg juice which was different and nice tasting. Felt good to cook your own feast and Learn flavour combinations. Would definitely recommend to fellow travellers. Can easily catch bus or taxi to the site, bring insect repellant, this is provided but bring extra strength deet! U get to keep the recipes too. All ingredients are purchasable in Australia from the recipes we cooked.
Reviewed 15th Aug 2014
Thank you to the very charming Rohanna for your cooking lesson; set in a beautiful location. I would recommend this cooking school for those wishing to learn the basic skills of Malay cooking as the class is expertly set up with all ingredients pre prepared and portion controlled for the guests/students. Has a very clean kitchen, where you are taken through each recipe step by step.For those with more advanced skills and experience, this school may not be for you. I would have liked more recipes to cook; and found the format a little too basic and unchallenging. Perhaps an “advanced” class could be added to your weekly schedules.The garden tour was a nice extra activity.
Reviewed 9 August 2014
“Do the cooking class” Very nice walk through a Malaysian forest with every conceivable herb & spice under cultivation. There cooking classes are the best way to get the most out of this visit as you get to learn the different uses of spices. The Rapid Penang bus stops right out the front too, so it’s very convenient.
Reviewed 24th July 2014
“So much fun”
My sister, brother and I spent had an absolutely great time cooking and laughing at the Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School. The tour of the spice garden at the beginning of the tour was good but the three of us were very eager to get cooking. When we were led to our class room and introduced to Pearly we knew we were in for a good time, Pearly was fully in command of the cooking classroom and she is completely captivating as an instructor. We made great food, it tasted so good, our spouses and my sister’s son joined us for lunch and they were very impressed with what we made.Pearly in a great teacher she is funny, feisty and is rightfully very proud of her cooking heritage. For me cooking classes are one of the best ways to experience another culture in a different way and they have the ability to extend your trip well beyond the time you are actually away, each time you get the recipes out at home you are transport back to the classroom. Thanks to people like Pearly who want to share their knowledge with travelers it is indeed a privilege to have spent time in her classroom.
Reviewed 22 July 2014
“Delicious food and beautiful surrounds”
Made a delicious Malaysian feast which the staff very kindly adapted to be vegetarian. The tour of the gardens before the class was a particular highlight. I would thoroughly recommend this experience to others.
Reviewed 17 June 2014
“Garden tour and cookery class”
Booked a cookery class for myself and husband which included garden tour beforehand. The tour was very interesting and we were given citronella to spray on beforehand to deter the insects. After tour we were dropped off at cookery school, only the two of us in the class. We learnt how to make mutton curry and flat bread with Viji, and her two lovely helpers. Class was good fun, we had lots of photos taken for us, and very much enjoyed eating our meal afterwards. We were then free to wander round the gardens on our own. As we were staying in Batu Ferringhi it was easy to reach the garden by bus. Lovely spot, well worth a visit if you enjoy looking round gardens.
Reviewed 7 May 2014
“Great Cooking Class”
MY friends and I really enjoyed our experience at Tropical Spice World. The herb and spice tour we did at the beginning was very informative and very interactive. The cooking class was exceptionally well organised and the food we learnt to make was very authentic and tasty.
Reviewed 1 May 2014 “
“Pearly Kee Cooking Class at the Spice Gardens, Penang “
We have just come back from Pearly’s fantastic class. Our stomachs are smiling. We cooked three delicious dishes, each of which we were able to individualise, eg, more or less chilli, salt, sugar, etc. Pearly’s cooking expertise is of course legendary, but more than that, she enthusiastically imparts her wisdom and knowledge of the healthful properties of different foods and their roles in the body. She was incredibly warm and patient with all members of the class, helping us all to keep up and keep involved. She is an excellent teacher. At the end of the class, she and her lovely personal assistant (and husband!) Chandra joined us at lunch, and chatted afterwards. They were both very generous with their time and talent, and were sincerely interested in all of us and of our experience of the class. The class is very highly recommended indeed. Thanks, Pearly.The class was preceded with an informative tour of the spice gardens. Our guide was very knowledgeable regarding all the plants, and gave us samples to smell and taste as we walked around. Really interesting, especially when followed up by a class using some of the plants.All in all, a really well spent morning with a fine balance of fun, information and delicious food.
Reviewed:19 April 2014
“A wonderful day”
My sister-ín-law and I booked a tour of the spice garden (if only I could grow most in Spain) and then a cookery lesson, followed by our family joining us. The staff were polite, well informed and welcoming, the cookery lesson was excellent and we both learned things despite being keen cooks, and it is a wonderful place. Absolutely beautiful with so much work gone into it. I loved the shop too and probably bought half of it. If you love cooking, book a class and go and enjoy. A very special experience.
Reviewed:14 January 2014