One of my favourite things to do while travelling and experiencing different cultures and their food is to do a cooking class. What better way to cement all your food memories than by learning how to make the dishes yourself?
I spent a bit of time researching our Hoi An cooking school options. In the end it came down to two, Morning Glory and Red Bridge. We chose the full day class at Red Bridge simply because they afforded us the chance to learn how to make pho. We were happy with our choice. Although it was not as hands on as we would have liked, we did get to do quite a bit of cooking ourselves, and the food was delicious. A highlight of this day was seeing a local organic farm and shopping for ingredients at the market.
First up we had coffee while discussing our plans for the day.
Visit to a Farm
We then caught a mini bus to a local, organic farm, where we saw a lot of beautiful fresh produce.
And I picked veggies while wearing a hat.
This guy was very sweet and playful. And he lent me his hat. A cute gimmick.
They earn a small amount from these tour groups, and you get a drink to boot!
Shopping at the Market
The market was fabulous. We saw rice sheets being cut into noodles. See the brown coloured noodles – those are the Cao lầu.
Our guide showing us some sliced-up banana flower.
Look at all that morning glory (& just casually strapped on the back of a bike!)
Our chef and tour guide was friendly and a little cheeky. He was a graduate of Koto, a program for disadvantaged youth across Asia that teaches the kids life skills and provides them with learning opportunities.
Look at all the goodies!
Getting help with my apron, slightly embarrassing.
We learnt how to make Beef Pho (yipee!), which was our main aim of the day, and it was a lot of fun. It was very helpful to see how to do each step. Although it only simmered for 1 hour, it was still delicious. I can only imagone the flavour after simmering for 8 hours!
I was so trhilled to learn how to make our own rice noodles! You place rice and a little water in a blender and mix until a smooth paste, like a pancake mixture.
You then steam it over hot water…
…before oiling it up and slicing into strips.
Ready to go, vinegar chilli sauce and all.
You then top the noodles and beef with the lovely broth…
The Lemongrass Prawns in Banana Leaf (Tom Nuong La Chuoi) were so delicious, really moist.
Wrapping up the banana leaf was a lot of fun.
The dipping sauce was made of lime juice, salt and pepper, and was utterly divine!
We also made Chicken and Banana Flower Salad (Goi Hoa Chuoi Ga Nuong)
Grilling the chicken.
Toasting some rice crackers to serve alongside the salad.
And last but not least, we learnt how to make a delicious Cha Ca. I am so in love with this dish!
To date, our favourite cooking class in Asia is the Blue Elephant Cooking School in Bangkok. Perhaps nothing will top that… But this sure was a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed learning how to make rice noodles – how fabulous was that?! I would certainly recommend this class for a fun day of shopping, cooking and eating. Plus, you get to talk all things food for 8 hours – how fabulous is that?!