Learning to Cook Lao Food

At Tamarind's cooking school, decked out in an apron

At Tamarind’s cooking school, decked out in an apron

Cooking classes are extremely popular in Southeast Asia and I made it a goal to take at least a few while I’m in the region. While I didn’t do one in Vietnam, I did take advantage of a cooking class in Luang Prabang with Tamarind, a Lao-Australian owned restaurant. It was not the cheapest day, as the course cost $35, but it was well worth it as I learned a lot about Lao food and eating customs.

The day started with a visit to the market, where we sampled some local snacks and learned about the produce we’d be using throughout the day. Then we were taken to Tamarind’s cooking school just outside the city, which was a peaceful garden with ponds and flowers.

We cooked three main dishes – chicken, fish, and buffalo meat – as well as sticky rice and an eggplant dip. We also made amazing purple sticky rice with coconut for dessert. I met some great fellow travelers, although as usual I was the only one going solo, and tested my culinary skills with some brand new ingredients. Learning how to stuff lemongrass with chicken was particularly challenging!

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Hong Kong Roundup

Dried fish at the Mui Wo wet market

Dried fish at the Mui Wo wet market

I spent 7 days in Hong Kong and spent an average of $32 a day, although I stayed with friends so did not pay for accommodation. Hong Kong is definitely not a cheap destination!

I had a great time hiking around Lantau Island, seeing the famous Big Buddha and just catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. I’m not sure I’ll make it back to Hong Kong anytime soon, but if I do I’d explore more of the markets in Kowloon and hike around the new territories, which I didn’t see at all.

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