Learning how to cook traditional Intha and Shan food in a beautiful little village in the middle of Inle Lake.
Never, ever in our lives have we ever cooked in such a beautiful location. This is not an exaggeration.
There we stood, in a quaint wooden hut on stilts, in a quiet village in Inle Lake, with full views in all directions of the still blue water, floating gardens and villagers quietly paddling past on narrow wooden boats.
All the while we were cooking away, chopping fresh lemongrass and Shan basil, saluting onions and garlic, browning chicken and steaming fresh fish.
Mr Min cooking class is an innovative tourism initiative, formed by Mr Min and his wife May. We were with May for our afternoon lesson, and she was warm, friendly and extremely patient with our relentless barrage of overeager questions.
After meeting us at our hotel, we were whisked away on a short boat ride to Mr Min’s family village in Inle Lake. Then, after recoving from our astonishment at the stunning location, we got to work.
In total we made 10 items, including a fragrant and delicate steamed fish with basil and lemongrass, a turmeric based chicken curry, lentil soup and savoury fried tofu curry.
On the salad end, we learnt how to make tea leaf salad, avocado salad and tomato salad. All were much easier to throw together than we initially thought (and included a lot more ‘chicken powder’ than expected).
Partway through we were given a short break from cooking to go on a paddleboat journey around the village. Surrounded by floating gardens, we saw beautiful wooden houses, ducks wading by and a small group of kids playing a boisterous game of volleyball.
Then it was time for dinner. And it was – with little credit to us – delicious.
We ate until sunset under scarlet red pathein umbrellas, poring over our gifted cookbooks containing all the recipes from the class. I can’t imagine a better way to experience the wonder of Inle Lake.
Mr Min Cooking Class
Price: $35 per person (if 2-6 people in your group), including transport from your hotel, ingredients, class and meal. Morning classes also include a trip to the market in Nyaung Shwe.
Good for: Visitors to Inle Lake, regardless of cooking ability
Contact info: Contact Mr Min at +95 (0) 942 832 9447 or on facebook at facebook.com/mr.mincookingclass