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“Good but room for improvement”

Tamarind Cooking Courses
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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.
Reviewed October 9, 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.

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 reviewResponded October 17, 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.
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312 - 316 of 511 reviews

Reviewed September 23, 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.

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 reviewResponded September 25, 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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Reviewed September 3, 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.

Thank SuzanneHolmerSmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2013

My girlfriend and I, we joined the evening class. A tuk-tuk brought us from the gathering place (in front of the Tamarind Restaurant in the city center of Luang Prabang) to a nice rural place where the chef, very kind and fun guy, was waiting for us. He taught us how to prepare the sticky rice, two types of fresh sauces for it, fried chicken meatballs in lemongrass, spicy fish in banana leaf, a rice dessert with coconut milk, tamarind sauce and fresh tropical fruits. Everyone (we were 8 of us) was equipped with its own knives, cutting boards and a Laotian oven. At the end we ate together the dishes we had prepared with the chef! So cheap and very well organized!

Thank Filippo N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2013

This was a highlight of our three days in Luang Prabang. The group size is small...about a dozen keen cooks from many different countries and age groups.
The market tour was an eyeopener for the uninitiated but loads of fun. I couldn't get over seeing bags of MSG for sale! It's still big in Laos and Sapa.
The kitchen setting is just beautiful beside a lotus filled lake. Even though it was pouring rain it did not affect us one bit.
You do not need to feel you are an expert to attend...all courses are relatively easy.
The best bit was to eat the results of your labour and share travel stories with your new friends. Favourite meal?? Fish Amok.
Highly recommended.

Thank moonflower59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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