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“Lots of fun - a must do.”

Tamarind Cooking Courses
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Tamarind Restaurant in Luang Prabang offers day and evening cooking classes in open air pavilions overlooking lily ponds just outside of town. Participants in day classes are taken there after a visit to the fascinating main market, where they are introduced to the unusual and intriguing ingredients that are the basis of Lao cuisine. From there it is off to Tamarind Gardens to cook Lao dishes in the authentic Lao style. Evening classes are shorter. Individual work stations allow you to follow the instructions of an entertaining and informative Lao teacher, whilst a bevy of staff clean up after you. The sessions end with a sumptuous meal, where you eat the fruits of your labours! Transport to and from Tamarind Restaurant and recipe book all included. Vegetarians welcome.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
50 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Lots of fun - a must do.”
Reviewed 26 October 2013 via mobile

Did not think cooking could be so much fun. This was made easy with the teacher (Chai - hope I spelt it right as he said it was like the tea) being so alert and funny. It started with the tour of the morning market where he described in detail all about the local food. They're where some areas such as the butchers with all fresh meat that could have been off putting for some but before we went there he asked all if they wanted to take a short-cut to miss and catch up later. Very alert. Then we were off to the school which was just out of town. The food was very fresh and everything he showed us how to do, unfortunately I think I will leave the cooking to the wife. The food we cooked we ate and the rich in the banana leave was yummy. I do think the amount we cooked each was too much. Strongly suggest you give this a go and congratulation to Chai and his team for letting us have an enjoyable time.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank AussieGreggie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Hoi An, Vietnam
Level Contributor
37 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Vegetarians well catered for”
Reviewed 15 October 2013

Our group of 7 thoroughly enjoyed our cooking class with Jay (head teacher) and Sang (trainee).
We did 6 meals with a variety of herbs, spices, meats, vegetables and tofu. The vegetarian options were well thought out beforehand, so we all cooked and ate together.
Wandering around the market before heading out to the cooking school was an extremely informative session with Jay, although there was so much information about the various herbs that most it was quickly forgotten until the class started.
Compared to classes elsewhere in South East Asia, it is a little expensive, but still good value.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank mjinvietnam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
329 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 183 helpful votes
“Good but room for improvement”
Reviewed 9 October 2013

We did the day course which starts with a trip to the market. The guide identified and explained local vegetables and herbs as well as some cooking tools, the meat section and processed foods.
Then we were taken by local taxi to the school which is outside Luamg Prabang in a gorgeous setting next to a lily pond and small river. The cooking then starts and you do sticky rice, either tomato or eggplant paste, fish in banana leaf, chicken stuffed in lemongrass and larb with minced buffalo meat. There are vegetarian options. The recipes are great - we ate what we cooked and it all tasted great. You watch the guide/chef do a quick prep and explain and then you go back to your cooking station and do it yourself.
For me, I would prefer the list of ingredients put up to include quantities as it is easy to forget as there are a lot of ingredients. Secondly, you cook until about 1-30 before you eat and I was really hungry. A break mid morning rather than a drink at the start would be welcome with a snack. Also if you have back problems standing al morning could be tough.
We all ate the food we had cooked together, and were told we could order drinks. No one asked what we wanted and we finally asked one of the assistants for a glass of white wine and were told that they had run out- not so good.
After lunch you cook sticky rice for desert which is served with a selection of local fruits. Then local taxi back to the city. We were dropped off at Tamarind at 2-30pm - a bit earlier than on the program. Maybe we were a quick group but I got the feeling that we were being rushed a bit at times. Also when I tried to take a photograph of my husband cooking the guide told me off - nothing had been said about whether we could take photographs and I though that was a bit rude.
However, overall this is a good experience and the food and recipes well chosen. You get a little recipe book at the end.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Go55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TamarindCaroline, Owner at Tamarind Cooking Courses, responded to this review, 17 October 2013
Thanks for alerting us to the issues you mentioned. We'll look into them at once. As you can see from this website though, visitor photos are welcomed and frequently uploaded. We think there might have been a misunderstanding about your instructor's advice not to leave cameras in the food preparation area to avoid accidental damage. We're sorry for the confusion. And finish times depend on the number of participants, and their desire to linger, eating, drinking and conversing.
Glad we met with your general approval!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Cooking teacher had his own plans...”
Reviewed 23 September 2013 via mobile

We took an evening cooking class. There were 3 couples and one single girl and that cuts right to the core: the teacher was mixing the cooking class with his own evening planning and kept hitting on the girl (who enjoyed the extra attention) It was really not professional and created moments where all participant were standing round the grills and the teacher wasn't explaining but exchanging his pick-up lines with the girl. Naturally not many questions were asked regarding the cooking as the guy was busy and the other participants feeling awkward. Besides that the food was tasty, the place pretty and the set up clean and chique. It is pricey but with a more professional chef it could be a better experience.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Lu8101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TamarindCaroline, Owner at Tamarind Cooking Courses, responded to this review, 26 September 2013
Generally we receive extremely positive feedback about our cooking school, but you are quite right to be disappointed and upset by the unacceptable behaviour of that cooking class teacher. He reads the reviews avidly, so your message will be heard. We have also talked to him and received assurances that such behaviour will not be repeated.

As you observed, our cooking school is located in a lovely setting, and is very well organized. You most probably chose Tamarind's class because of the very complimentary reviews we receive, so we must apologize to you and the other class members for not providing the best experience. Thank you for your feedback, it will be used to maintain the high standards we expect of our classes.
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Chatsworth, California
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“A terrific experience”
Reviewed 3 September 2013

The classes are located outside of town in a lovely setting where many of the restaurant vegetables are grown. The students gathered at a restaurant (Tamarind?) in Luang Prabang. We first visited a local market with its huge selection of foods and cooking tools. The guide was most informative. Piling in the back of a local transport, a pickup with canopy and benches, we headed out of town to our school. A beautiful outdoor setting. . The class was fun and well organized. The chef and his assistants were flawless. A nice selection of recipes and a delicious self-cooked meal. One of the best cooking classes this old lady has experienced. The students were all ages, interesting cross- section. Would I do it again...in a heartbeat!
A beautiful bonus was " the butterfly dance" just as we were finishing our cooking. 50 or more yellow butterflies came flying in a line, swirling in a column and moving on. They entertained us for quite a while. If memory serves me right, tamarind raises theses butterflies.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank SuzanneHolmerSmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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