Photo: Wat Sisaket, Vientiane.

Cooking classes

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Visitors are often surprised to learn how different Lao cuisine is to its neighbours.

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A cooking class is a great window into Lao culture. Not only will you gain insight into ingredients and dishes, you’ll discover the important relationship Lao people have with food and the traditional dining etiquette.

Most cooking classes follow the same formula: lessons on three to five dishes, recipes to take home and of course, a big meal at the end. Some include a tour of a local fresh market. There is usually a discounted rate for children.

Tuk Tuk Safari offers a cooking class, as well as guided food tours, a textile/handicraft tour and village homestays. The cooking class is offered on Saturday evenings, taking place at Soumaly’s outdoor home kitchen. Cost is US$45 per person. If you’re looking for a guided food tour, "The Hungry Tuk Tuk" takes you through fresh markets to see how some Lao ingredients are made before hopping from shop to shop to sample the best local eats (US$70 per person). If you want guidance on how to navigate the city’s intimidating night time street eats, “Dinner with the Locals” will remove some of the mystery and have you trying some surprising items (US$32 per person). Most tours require a minimum of two people. They post any upcoming dates you can join on their website. T: (020) 5433 3089

Madam Phasouk runs cooking classes in her home and she boasts over 15 years experience as a cooking teacher at hotels. The lesson begins with a visit to the market to buy all the fresh ingredients and cooking two main dishes and a salad, all for 150,000 kip per person. Choose either a 09:30 start time for lunch, or 15:00 for dinner. Pick up from accommodation is included. Call Madam Phasouk at (020) 5601 2458.

Lao Experiences’ owner Ms Nouk gained some fame when she taught popular Vietnamese-Australian chef and TV host Luke Nguyen about Lao cuisine. Whether you’re a professional chef or an amateur, students are picked up a Full Moon Cafe and taken to a pleasant garden setting to learn how to prepare some of the country’s favourite dishes like mok pa, fish filet and herbs steamed in a banana leaf, spicy papaya salad and mango-sticky rice for dessert. Book in advance at Full Moon Cafe (Francois Ngin Rd), call Ms Nouk at (020) 5569 9429 or email, cost US$35 per person. Morning (10:00 to 13:30) and evening (17:00 to 20:00) sessions are available, or sign up just for their morning fresh market tour (08:00 to 10:00, US$25)

A big sign displayed in front of Khop Chai Deu restaurant promotes a cooking class but when we went inside to inquire, the staff at the time couldn’t give us any information. So here is what is advertised: you select the dishes you want to learn how to cook and in addition to the meal, you get recipes to take with you. Monday to Saturday 08:30 to 14:00, 600,000 kip per person (based on two people), 500,000 kip per person (three or more). To book call (020) 5913 4345 or stop in at Khop Chai Deu and hopefully you will have more luck than we did. Khop Chai Deu is a popular westernised Lao restaurant beside the Nam Phou Fountain, across from Joma Bakery Cafe.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Vientiane.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Vientiane.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Vientiane.
 Read up on how to get to Vientiane.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Vientiane? Please read this.
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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Vientiane? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Laos.

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