Cooking Schools in Vietnam
My first cooking school experience in Vietnam was with Saigon Cooking Class, in Ho Chi Minh City. In the morning I met our guide and several other members of the class at Chợ Bến Thành where we were given a tour of the market. The market is separated into several areas, there is the wet market with seafood and meat. The fresh fruit and vegetables section, and the dry goods and souvenirs all crammed next to each other. The market also has its own stalls selling freshly cooked dishes ranging from rice paper rolls to noodle soups, you can grab a plastic chair and munch away with the locals.
After the market we headed to the cooking school which is situated in a colonial style building above Hoa Tuc restaurant. We were introduced to Chef Khanh who was professionally trained in America.
The three dishes we cooked were:
Gỏi bò nướng với tac và cà san (Char-grilled beef salad with kumquat, lemongrass and white baby augergine)
Canh chua tôm (Sour soup with prawns)
Bánh xèo (Vietnamese pancake)
All three dishes tasted wonderful, my favourite was the beef salad. Crunchy and fresh with a balance of salty and sweet.
After each dish was cooked, we sat down and ate together while it was still hot. This was a great opportunity to get to know my class mates. We shared helpful tips on where to eat and what sights to see. After a surprise dessert we exchanged emails and parted ways.
Saigon Cooking Class
A market tour and cooking class cost me $45 USD
Address: 74/7 Hai Bà Trưng, Bến Nghé, District 1 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Telephone: +84 8 3825 8485
Ms Ilda manages the school and can be contacted on (08) 3 825 8485 for further information.
Next on my list was to learn Hue cooking, while we stayed in the gorgeous Vedana Lagoon which was 40 minutes from the town centre of Hue. Vedana is situated in a gorgeous and tranquil lagoon. We were lucky with our accommodation and got a really good deal from Agoda.com (I highly recommend this site).
I booked a cooking class with Chef Tuan, and was taken to the local market in Phu Loc Town first thing in the morning.
Lucky for me being the only person in the cooking class I was able to ask a lot of questions, which was great most of the time but our accents proved challenging at times. While I understood most of what Chef Tuan was saying, there were times when I didn’t.
I was born in the South of Vietnam which has a different accent to the Central Vietnam, where Chef Tuan is from. Again there is a different accent with Vietnamese people in the North. In some regions there is a drawl when pronouncing words and of course each region thinks their accent is better sounding.
When we returned to the resort I was very excited because I had chosen the menu and picked the three dishes to cook. Two of them were cake style dishes Bánh Bột Lọc, Bánh Bèo which Hue is famous for, Hue is considered the imperial city in Vietnam because it was the former capital and where the Kings lived.
Watch Chef Tuan teach me how to wrap Bánh Bột Lọc
The other dish I picked was a noodle dish and also synonymous with Hue the famous Bún Bò Huế , when translated means Spicy Beef Noodle Soup of Hue (the city).
Amazingly all three dishes were easy to make and of course declious. The Bún Bò Huế was spicy and fragrant from the lemongrass. I also learnt that Annato oil was used a lot to colour food.
The one on one class and market tour cost me $57 AUD.
Address: Zone 1, Phu Loc town, Phu Loc district, Hue, Vietnam
Resort’s phone number: +(84 54) 3 681 688; sales office: +(84 54) 3 819 397, fax: +(84 54) 3 819 398,
Finally my last cooking school experience was in Hanoi at the Countryside Cooking Class. Here I met some food obsessed Australians and Americans, people who were just as passionate about Vietnamese food as I was. We started at the Hang Da market to learn how choose fresh ingredients for the class with Chef Hoang who guided us through and explained the uses for each vegetable in our dishes.
We made 3 dishes:
A lovely papaya salad with shredded dry beef- Gỏi đu đủ
Chicken and lemongrass- Gà xào sả ớt
And fried spring rolls- Nem Hà Nội
There was an odd and funny moment during the class when we watched the chef throw water into wok which had bubbling oil in it to demonstrate another way of checking how hot the oil was- a method I had not seen before and was not going to use in my kitchen.
It was a great day and at the end we got to eat the delicious feast. I wanted to say a big thank you to fellow class mate Tracy James for providing these photos.
Countryside Cooking Class
The class and market tour cost me $45 USD
Address: 29 Bat Dan, Hoan Kien District, Hanoi
Telephone: 04 3923 4228
I would recommend cooking schools to anyone interested in learning local Vietnamese food. I loved my 3 cooking classes and would definately do more next time I am in Vietnam.
Lady Rice x
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