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“Maybe you get what you pay for”

Tamnak Lao Cooking School
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed 9 July 2017

We signed up for a shorter class - roughly 2.5 hours - which meant we missed the morning market visit but paid less than advertised at other cooking classes in the town. The fun quotient was there - all the ingredients were experimental and interesting - but the food was substandard compared with our general Laos experience. Large amounts of soy sauce and oyster sauce over-salted the dishes, and more fragrant elements like Thai basil, cilantro or lemongrass seemed to be minimized. The chefs were pleasant and friendly, but their cooking seemed more focused on getting the dish done fast rather than making it particularly appetizing. Also not sure about the food hygiene, given that raw chicken was chopped on a small wooden stool that was in bad condition (the leg kept falling off) and hard to see how it's kept sterile. Also didn't get any critical tips, other than removing the spines from the keffir lime leaves, but maybe our class was too short to judge. After we did this, we saw numerous other cooking class offerings in Luang Prabang - would recommend you try others, as the food in the local restaurants was outstanding. This one seems to be owned and operated by an ex-pat who doesn't necessarily appreciate the range of flavours or possibilities. The chefs demonstrated 4 dishes, and allowed us to choose 2 or 3. Although that is an attractive range of choice for an inexpensive outing, think we would have been willing to learn only one, if we could really perfect the flavour combination and presentation.

1  Thank FloraW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3 - 7 of 97 reviews

Reviewed 19 March 2017

I signed up for the full day cooking class and being a solo traveller was looking forward to a day with fellow cooks. Sadly it was not to be and I was the only one there. On the plus side I got one to one tuition. The day started with a trip to a local market to purchase fresh herbs and vegetables. I was so intrigued by the sights and smells I forgot to take photos so some of the more unusual meats on offer for cooking are a faint memory.

Back at the restaurant I was coached to prepare lunch of Luang Prabang salad and a chicken dish, which I then got to eat. Brilliant. After lunch I was again talked through preparing 5 more dishes including sticky rice. I then got a selection of these to take away for my dinner that evening. The course price includes a cookbook full of informative information about Laos cooking and a copy of all the recipes done that day.

The chef was a good teacher and made me feel very relaxed about what I was doing. An excellent way to learn an appreciate Laos cooking. The recipe book means I will have constant souvenirs of my trip when I start to practice and cook the dishes when I return home.

Thank Carol B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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

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