Cooking Class in Laos

In Luang Prabang, Laos, we took a cooking class at the Three Elephants Café. Our class started with a tour of the local market where there were many foods that we had never seen before plus a few, such as chiles and garlic, that we had.

from our market tour in Luang Prabang, Laos

from our cooking class market tour in Luang Prabang – these vegetables(?) are edible but I don’t even know what they are, or what you would use them in!

market in Luang Prabang

chiles and garlic— I know what these are! (the market in Luang Prabang)

Lovely, well-informed and opinionated Ruth took us on the market tour, and then Leng Lee took over as our cooking instructor at the Three Elephants Café.

Leng Lee, our cooking instructor at the Three Elephants Café

Leng Lee, our cooking instructor at the Three Elephants Café

First course was a Luang Prabang Salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and cooked ground pork. The dressing is made from white wine vinegar, oil, salt, sugar and hard boiled eggs pureed in a food processor, a type of home-made mayonnaise, probably from the French influence when Laos was part of French Indochina.

Laos Salad
Luang Prabang Salad

Oh Paedak – Laos Pork Casserole, eggs & minced pork in a subtle blend of traditional Laos flavourings such as shallots, garlic, red chiles, lemongrass, galangal, paedak (shrimp paste), basil and spring onions.

Luang Prabang Pork Casserole

Luang Prabang Pork Casserole

The Laos people love the sour flavour, hence the unripe green papayas and a squeeze of lime used in the Green Papaya Salad.

Laos Green Papaya Salad

Laos Green Papaya Salad

Larb‘, mmm, also sometimes transliterated as ‘Laarb’ or ‘Larp’. Ground meat, banana flower, lime and lots of other flavourings and spices, often eaten rolled up in a lettuce leaf.

Laarb, also known as 'Larp', a spicy pork dish that is rolled up in lettuce leaves

Larb, also known as ‘Larp’, a spicy pork dish that is rolled up in lettuce leaves

Our instructor Leng Lee demonstrates the ingredients for Larb:

From the video, ingredients for ‘Larb’ with notes: “one spring onion, 2 kaffir lime leaf, 2 lemongrass, 2 shallot, 2 garlic (cloves), rocket (arugula), coriander (cilantro), 2 Tbsp. banana flower (bitter flavour, substitute Belgian endive or omit), chilli powder, chicken meat, rice powder, chicken stock, paedak (shrimp paste), fried spring onion, now chop, lemon grass first…

We also made ‘Feu Khua‘, fried rice noodles with chicken and vegetables…

fried noodles with chicken & vegetables

fried noodles with chicken & vegetables

Fried Eggplant with Pork

fried eggplant Laos-style

fried eggplant Laos-style

¡JEOWBANG! a chilli paste whose name says it all!!!

the ingredients for Jeowbang chile paste

the ingredients for Jeowbang chilli paste

And of course, the ubiquitous (at least in Laos) ‘Sticky Rice‘, and for dessert, Lime Pie. The lime pie recipe was very similar to my ‘Key Lime Pie’ recipe.

Although I don’t know of any Laos Restaurants here in Vancouver, the food of Northeast Thailand (Issan) is very similar. The ‘Issan’ menu from our ‘Thai Food Eating Class’ at Wimaan Restaurant on Broadway.

Nitty Gritty:

We took this cooking course in 2007 and I highly recommend it. The cooking classes are still running today (2014) but under the name Tamnak Lao which translates as Three Elephants Café. In 2016 the restaurant no longer seems to be running but others have sprung up to take its place.

5 responses to “Cooking Class in Laos

  1. Pingback: World Spices Cooking Class 1: a Cambodian Appetizer | Albatz Gallery & Blog·

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  4. Cool thing to do. We love cooking but haven’t done a class on our travels yet. We were in Laos last year just before the world closed down. Beautiful country but sad to see them struggling with very few visitors at that time

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