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“Good Dishes, Bad Vibes”

Tamnak Lao Cooking School
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed 25 February 2017

Let's start with the good: Everyone really made their dishes which both helped me learn to cook them, and let me halve the crazy amounts of salt and sugar used in all dishes throughout Asia. We got cookbooks which had lots of informative bits about Laos culture with all the recipes and great ideas for replacing ingredients you don't have at home. Tea and coffee were served between cooking, and our group was full of lovely people, so we enjoyed ourselves.

Now the bad: The poor chefs appear to simply hate their job. They were so absolutely miserable cooking and teaching that I worried, they might 1. walk out, or 2. break down and cry. It was my goal to make them smile, and I only succeeded to get one half smirk in the entire afternoon/evening. I can't say I really blame them though after learning that each of them work 6 days a week running two courses a day...cooking the same dishes over and over and over. The owner of this school must really turn some things around at the school, to include taking better care of her employees, hiring some relief for them, and restoring happiness in the kitchen - otherwise, I fear Tamnak Lao will continue to lose its good reputation to be overtaken by many courses waiting to take its place.

1  Thank Colorado-Miss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"luang prabang salad"
in 4 reviews
"cooking course"
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"multiple dishes"
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"sights and smells"
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"sticky rice"
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"dishes including"
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"market visit"
in 3 reviews
"local market"
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"morning market"
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"ingredients"
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9 - 13 of 102 reviews

Reviewed 25 January 2017 via mobile

Do you want to have an interesting and relaxed evening while learning good knowlede about the laos kitchen? Also laugh and have fun while cooking your delicous meal? Yes? Then just avoid going anywhere close this place!

We were really suprised, that 2.5 hours for 20$ can end in 1 hour of class in total, plus 20 minutes of fast eating and a bad mood while leaving. We (a couple) were in a very good mood when we went there, but after half an hour we started fighting.

Simply said, just don't go there!

Thank Natalie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2017

We did a day cooking course couple weeks ago. The local market visit was enjoyable, but too fast and not too informative. As soon as we get back, chefs demonstrated the dishes reasonably. After that, there was no interaction while we're cooking. Chefs seemed to be really bored. Other people asked questions and the answers were super dry. Honestly, I was expecting much more for the value. Do not recommend it!

Thank Ana L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2016 via mobile

I did the evening class as there is so much to do in laos and I have so little time! Really great fun. Good class. The two chefs are great. They first demonstrated four dishes- you then taste them and decide which dish you want to cook. You work in pairs- two people per station. You both cook one dish each and help each other out! Everything is provided for u. They answer all your questions and give you tips! Fantastic team.
At the end yuh all sit together and eat with sticky rice which they prepare for you.
Very enjoyable evening and a great way to meet others.

Thank Derbyland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 December 2016

I enrolled for the Tamnak Lao Cooking School about 5 days before the time I wanted to attend, and was the only one enrolled. However by the day I had 4 other companions from the UK and France. (I am Australian)

The class began at 10am with a trip to the Pho Sy Markets, the largest in Luang Prabang and about 3 km out of the centre of town. I had visited many markets (including many larger ones) in lots of cities and towns throughout Laos but this was particularly interesting as one of our chefs provided a narrative on the foods we were seeing as we walked through the fresh food section, while the other chef negotiated and purchased the ingredients for our cooking.

While apparently the classes can take up to 12 people, I think that over about 8 would be too much, but our group had plenty of space. Once back from the markets, one of the chefs demonstrates two dishes and then divides the group into pairs to work together. As one of the English couple was a Vegetarian, they arranged for her to work on her own while her husband and I worked on a cooking station together. We then did our best to reproduce the two meals demonstrated, which then became our lunch. We worked well together and finished fairly promptly but learnt a lesson about temperature for cook various ingredients. (All done in a wok)

After lunch the two chefs demonstrated 6 more dishes and then it was up to us to choose two to reproduce in the afternoon. At the end of the school we took some dishes away (that we had cooked) to share or eat later.

While the Chefs each had fairly heavy Lao English accents, the training was good and I think everyone in the class felt they learnt a lot. Being a smaller group we finished earlier than the advertised 4pm.

Personally, I felt Tamnak Lao Cooking School was a very valuable experience, with worthwhile lessons on both preparing and cooking Lao food but also in where to get ingredients “back home” and what might be substituted for difficult to acquire items.
It was a day well spent - but make sure you go on the full day course - not the short 2 hour lesson in the evening - as the longer course gave time to cook and eat multiple dishes – and then have a second attempt to rectify errors. And the chance of being involved in selecting the ingredients in the market put Lao cooking in context.

I heartily recommend it to others seeking to learn a little of Lao Cuisine and to reproduce it when you get home.

1  Thank Bill E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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