Our last full day in Vientiane and I was keyed up to get my hands dirty (well, not exactly dirty dirty, but working)!
Since today was our last opportunity to be tourists in a foreign land, we thought we’d immerse ourselves in what makes a significant part of the Lao culture: its food (what else?).
We spotted Vietnamese Australian chef Luke Nguyen on a billboard for a cooking class with Lao Experiences.
In my head, I was thinking this may be our only chance to meet a celebrity on this trip…
So here we were, arriving on a tuk-tuk at an idyllic hut, with Nouk, our charming and facetious cooking instructor, greeting us at the door.
- Fresh Market Tour & Tasting ($25 USD)
- Cooking and Cultural Experience ($35 USD)
- Both Experiences ($55 USD)
All packages included transportation to and from the Full Moon Café, all fresh ingredients, cooking instructor, lunch in a garden setting, and a little Lao Recipe Booklet.
The fresh market tour started earlier in the day and since we didn’t think we were that early of birds, we decided to go for just the cooking and cultural experience. We were picked up by a tuk-tuk at the Full Moon Café at 10 AM.
Make your bookings here.
ON OUR MENU TODAY:
Mekong River fish wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed.
Jeow Mak Lin or Jeow Mak Keua
Lao tomato dip or Lao eggplant dip
The secret to making amazing sticky rice: soak the rice for 3 – 4 hours before rinsing it, steaming it for 10 minutes, and finally turning it once to ensure it has been evenly cooked.
A popular Lao dish of chopped chicken and fresh Lao herbs.
Tam Mak Houng
Spicy papaya salad.
Khao Niaow Mak Moong
Everyone’s favorite dessert: mango and sticky rice.
Our fish and chicken jumble are adorably wrapped in banana leaves and marked with a cherry tomato and basil leaf.
Steaming our fish and chicken using a traditional cooking method.
The sticky rice has been flipped once, flaunting its perfection!
The peeling of banana flowers
Deftly and effortlessly, Nouk showed us the samurai method of slicing papaya.
Finally, enjoying the fruit of our labor, we sat down to savor every bit of the fish, chicken, mushroom, herbs, and rice. Everything was as fresh and crisp as it could be!
My chicken steamed in banana leaf turned out amazing – the herbs assuredly made their way deep into the meat.
Incredible mango and sticky rice combo – sweet, rich, and just perfect!
What a delightful experience – I absolutely recommend it for anyone traveling to Vientiane! All the ingredients were absolutely fresh, the preparing and cooking hands-on, the semi-outdoor setting bucolic, the teaching and services professional, giving us tourists a genuine feel of the culinary culture. I especially love how healthy and clean the cooking and eating felt (no oil used yet the food came out fantastic in taste, texture, and aroma). And even though we didn’t get to meet Luke, we know we’ll see him again soon (on TV) :/.
Thank you Lao Experiences and Nouk for a lovely time (and especially for bearing with our little spills and flukes along the way)!