Lao food has become a tourist attraction, and learning how to cook it is the hottest new activity in Luang Namtha. You can sign up for a short course in Luang Namtha Town or learn how to turn plants you gather on the trail into meals and the implements to cook them.
A local chef teaches half-, one-, and two-day courses and short evening classes. The hands-on experience shows you how to cook a starter, a selection of main courses, and dessert. You can also learn how to whip up vegetarian dishes by substituting greens and tofu for meat and fish.
Cooking has also made the activities list at Ban Vieng Neua’s Tai Yuan community house located about 5 km south of Luang Namtha Town. The village also offers baci ceremonies, dance and music performances, lunch, dinner, and homestays on its activity menu. Go to the Luang Namtha Tourist Information Center to arrange a Ban Vieng Neua cooking-class tour.
Treks spending the night at forest retreats or campsites rely on “mountain meals” with ingredients you pick along the trail. Guides now encourage trekkers to try their hands at fishing and creating bamboo-and-leaf kitchenware including cooking vessels, spoons, and chopsticks.
Then they’ll teach you how to whip up a lunch or dinner of soup, mountain rice, and organic vegetables purchased in villages. You’ll brew medicinal tea from gathered herbs, perform the stove-work in your bamboo crockery, and learn how to barbecue tasty fish.
Be sure to include cooking in its many forms on your Luang Namtha itinerary.