Does your bucket list include a tour through southeast Asia? The temples, beaches and spices of Thailand, the hustle, bustle and bike tours of Vietnam and the island vibe of the Philippines call millions of visitors every year. But Chef Shaun Desaulniers (Instagram @shaundes) of Mister Chen’s has a way to transport you to the region without even having to pack a suitcase. And let’s face it, we’re probably going for the food anyway.

The bimonthly Tour of Asia dinner series launches this month on Wednesday, May 15 at 7:00 p.m. Guests will be introduced to the dynamic flavours of Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Desaulniers says not to expect your typical chef’s dinner.

“Often these thing are long and drawn out and, frankly, can get quite boring,” he says. “ Taste of Asia is just a couple of hours, educational and interactive.”

What’s in Store

Dishes will highlight the best each country has to offer  and guests will be provided with a number of ingredients on their place mats and invited to create their own dipping sauces for the dishes based on what they learn from the chef. Worried you’d find a way to mess up a great dish? Don’t worry, the pro’s are on your side.

“We’ll guide you every step of the way at the table,” says Desaulniers.

Dishes include green curry mussels from Thailand with your own nam phrik kapi (shrimp paste chili sauce.)

From Vietnam, diners will enjoy classic salad rolls with their self-made hoisin-style sauce and, from the Philippines, diners will create adobo sauce and banana ketchup to accompany their dishes.

The meal will feature pairings by Chef Shamir Bechara (Instagram @shambcookin) and an authentic southeast Asian dessert.

Take the Journey

This interactive and educational dinner will run every second month to give food enthusiasts the opportunity to explore Asian food and culture.Mister Chen’s is located in Calgary’s trendy Mission neighbourhood at 2004 4th Street SW and will be hosted in their private dining room. This exclusive event has 46 spots at $50. Buy tickets here.

Quick Bites with Chef Shaun

What’s your favourite meal to make yourself in  under 10 minutes?
I love to grill myself some lettuce and vegetables on the barbecue and have with sashimi.

What is always in your fridge, no matter what?
I’m playing a lot with different fish sauces these days.

What herb or spice could you not live without?
Good old black pepper.

What’s your favourite place to eat (beside’s Mr. Chen’s, of course)?
I’ve got to go with Mercato.

What’s your guilty pleasure? 
Hot dogs! I have a 10-year-old son and we love to go to Tubby Dog for hot dogs.