Traveling to a destination is not complete until I take a cooking class in the town I arrive in. While visiting Inle Lake, Myanmar, which happens to be my favorite destination in the world, I decided to spend a morning taking a Cooking Class in Inle Lake with Bamboo Delight. There’s no better way to experience a culture than to shop locally and to learn their techniques of cooking from people who have generational roots there.
Bamboo Delight Cooking Class in Inle Lake
Bamboo Delight Cooking School is rated #1 on TripAdvisor and was also the first recommended cooking class from my Guesthouse, Gypsy Inn. The cooking school was started in March 2013 by Leslie and Sue, a passionate husband and wife team, in their own home. The passion for food and idea of the cooking course stemmed far before the couple even met. It began in their childhood days with their parents who also had a love for food.
The Bamboo Delight Story
Sue grew up with a father who loved meeting travelers from around the world. He was always inviting them over to their home and shared what they could afford. This gave Sue a glimpse into a much larger world outside of her village which lead to her passion to study English and eventually open this Cooking School in Inle Lake.
Leslie learned how to cook in Yangon at an early age from his mother who sold street food to workers. This lead his interest to both national as well as international cuisine. Once he attended Culinary School, Leslie began working in Hotel kitchens.
With the combined love of food, cooking and meeting people from various cultures, lead Leslie & Sue to open Bamboo Delight Cooking School in 2013. In addition, they have a restaurant upstairs where guests can dine.
My guesthouse offered to called Leslie and arranged the cooking class. Leslie picked up the call upon a few rings. Luckily and painlessly, we were set to go the next morning at 9am as there were 2 French travelers also interested to take the cooking class.
Typically offered daily at 9am-1pm or 5-7pm, Leslie and Sue will run the class as long as a minimum of 2 students are interested. I’d recommend the morning class as it includes a trip to the local market to shop for the ingredients of the cooking class. You would meet Leslie in front of the large KBZ bank branch across the street from the Nyaung Shwe market – a central location in Inle Lake.
Shopping at the Nyaung Shwe Wet Market
The Nyuang Shwe Wet Market is open daily from early morning until about 5pm. Shopping in the local market was half the excitement of the Cooking Class for me! Leslie will introduce you to the local people in each stalls and explain thoroughly the local ingredients that make up Burmese cuisine. You will purchase fresh produce, meat, spices and get a glimpse into local life.
With a consensus of the students, he will customize a meal that best suits everyone. For example: Vegetarian, Spicier Preference, Seafood based, more Meat, noodles, salads, etc.
The menu we decided on was: Avacado salad, Mint Leaf Salad, Shan Noodle Soup, Chicken Curry, Fava (Broad) Bean Salad and Prawn Curry. We each were in charge of 2 dishes and the dishes were cooked over traditional Charcoal Stoves.
Ingredients in Burmese Cuisine
Preparing the Popular Burmese Tea Leaf Salad
Sharing our Delicious Cooking Together!
Bamboo Delight Restaurant: Open for Dinner Too!
After 4 years since the Cooking School opened, Bamboo Delight is now also open for dinner. The restaurant is on their upstairs deck which provides a beautiful, peaceful view of the town. Call ahead to make sure they are open. Daily menu changes according to what is fresh in season.
Bamboo Delight Charity:: Library & Summer School
At the same year the Cooking School was conceived, they started a Summer English School & Library for local children as their way to give back to the community. There are 2 beautiful classrooms built in their back yard, filled with library of books in both Burmese and various languages. 15% of proceeds from each cooking class go to the charity which provides free English Classes to local students during their summer break. Volunteers from abroad are welcome to come teach and are provided a free guest room + meals during their stay.
Contact Bamboo Delight
Email Bamboo Delight Cooking Class or have your hotel call directly to arrange a cooking class.
Phone: +95 9 410 10433
Guesthouse Accommodation: Bamboo Delight also has 2 rooms to rent for travelers.