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Laos Cuisine : Tamarind Cooking School

Tamarind Cooking School is the place that came highly recommended as THE cooking class to take. I was super excited to sign up, but unfortunately, I came down with really bad food poisoning the night before. Since the class was the day before I was leaving Laos, I had two choices; cancel or suck it up and go. I choose the later.

Tamarind Cooking School has both a full day course and a half day course; luckily I only signed up for the half-day that didn't start until 4 pm, so gave me time to rest before I headed out. The difference between the two is the full day course also includes a market tour. As this was my 3rd cooking class in South East Asia, I opted not to take the market tour as I've been on them in the other cooking classes in I've taken.

We arrived at the restaurant, and a songtaew was waiting to drive us out to the cooking school. The school is located outside of city center down a dirt road filled with potholes. When we got out the songtaew we walked into an oasis of greenery with a small private waterfall and a huge thatched roof cooking area. Sit was our instructor for the evening and explained all the ingredients we would be using along with the courses we'd be making.

Jeow Mak Len: Tomato Salsa Jeow Mak Keua: Eggplant Dip Mok Pa: Fish Steamed in Banana Leaves Oua Si Khai: Stuffed Lemongrass Khao Gam: Purple Sticky Rice with Coconut Sauce

The 'ovens' they use look like big stone mortars where they burn wood and use to roast vegetables on, steam rice, and cook their wok on. Sit said he has two at his home that he uses for most meals and one is dedicated just for making the rice. He showed us first at the front of the class how to cook each dish then we went ahead and made each dish on our own.  I loved learning new techniques as the proper way to wash the rice and how to slice lemongrass.

At the end, we sat down together as a group and ate everything we made. They also served Buffalo Laap, which we didn't make in class due to time constraints of the half-day course. Of all the items we made, my favorite was the Tomato Jeow and Stuffed Lemongrass.

Still being sick to my stomach I tasted a little of everything but wasn't able to gorge on all the great food like I could have if I were feeling 100%. A few weeks later I tried making the stuffed lemongrass with some minced fish along with the peanut Jeow and turned out better than I remembered.


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