Red Bridge Cooking School

April 1, 2011

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 lαΊ§u.

Our guide showing us some sliced-up banana flower.

Market meat.

Look at all that morning glory (& just casually strapped on the back of a bike!)

Cooking Class

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.

Gearing up!

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…

…true beauty…

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?!

Heidi xo

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  • Michelle Chin April 1, 2011 at 7:37 am

    This is awesome!! Would give anything for such an experience. Sigh.

  • Heavenly Ingredients April 1, 2011 at 7:48 am

    beautiful pics – love the ones of you at the farm.
    This makes me really miss Vietnam. I went to a cooking lesson, but it was only for 2 hours. wish I had done more now.
    Are you making Cha Ca at home?

  • hollypop April 1, 2011 at 8:22 am

    it's so great that you went to the farm and learned how to make rice noodles O.O. it looks amazing! i want to go back there right now!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) April 1, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Mr BBB and I did a cooking class when we were in Thailand and loved it! I especially loved being taken around the markets too and shown all the amazing produce!

  • Hannah April 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    While I do love Australia's brown-grey-green colours, I can't help swooning over the lush blue-tinted green of the foilage over there!

    I've never done a cookie class when travelling – must in future! looks like so much fuN!

  • Iron Chef Shellie April 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    gorgeous snaps!

    I remember doing a cooking class in Phuket and it was such such fun! Can't wait to go overseas again… now to save up, slowly convincing the boy to go to Malaysia πŸ˜€

  • Blithely Unaware April 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    You learnt to make rice noodles!!!!

    So cool, I'd love to do a class like that.

    I had roast duck and banana flower rice paper rolls at Miss Chu last week. THE BEST rice paper rolls I've ever had, delicious.

    Have a beautiful weekend honey!!!


  • Phuoc'n Delicious April 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    HAHA Nice! Exactly what we did in Hoi An. The class was freaking awesome!! And I pretty much have a pic of the same lady making the noodles at the markets! How funny is this!

  • Alana April 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Lovely! Friends of mine held their wedding and reception at Red Bridge exactly this time last year. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make the journey. They did a cooking class for all the guests πŸ™‚

  • Heidi April 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Michelle – thanks! It was amazing, we had a great time.

    Laura – oh yes we will be! I cannot wait πŸ™‚

    Hollypop – me too! I loved learning how to make the rice noodles – so fun.

    Lisa – yes the market visits are some of the best bits!

    Hannah – I know, I was looking at the pictures as I was uploading them – the colours are insane!!

    Michele – oooh Malaysia, that would be great!!

    Blithely Unaware – awe thank you, you too! I am definitely needing to visit Miss Chu, thanks for the recommendation!

    Phuoc – hilarious, I love it!! If only our trips co-incided, we could have been making noodles together!! πŸ™‚

    Alana – oh what a gorgeous idea, how fun!!

    Heidi xo

  • The InTolerant Chef April 1, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    What a lovely way to spend a day. It's also a chance to meet all the locals and share a little of life with them.
    I don't know which recipe is the best, they all look soooo yummy!

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella April 2, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Heidi, you are a one woman tourism office because I am totally enticed to going to Vietnam after seeing this! I love meeting the locals too πŸ™‚

  • Anna Johnston April 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Vietnam is already on my list, but I think this post bumped it up quite a few pegs, what an awesome experience, all the food looks amazing & the best part is now you know how to make all these delicious authentic treats. So, just give a shout out when dinner is ready OK., I'll be there with bells on πŸ™‚

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) April 3, 2011 at 1:57 am

    This is the best idea ever – attending a cooking class on your journey to get to know the cuisine of the country! I believe there's no better way to learn than from people who have cooked like that for years! Your dishes look wonderful! I especially love the rice noodle idea! I'll try that at home, although I still don't know how to do them without steaming equipment. But if you can easily make a batter with your blender, then it might work to just roll it very thinly and cut it into stripes like you do when you make pasta, and then let them dry and cook them in boiling water. And this would work with brown rice as well and be a great alternative to the just white rice noodles you can buy at the Asia store! Thank you so much, Heidi! πŸ˜€

  • Heidi April 4, 2011 at 9:50 am

    InTolerant Chef – it was wonderful! and yes we were totally spoilt with so many great recipes!

    Lorraine – oh yay! So pleased I'm showing off this great country nicely.

    Anna – hehe, ok will do πŸ˜‰

    Kath – oh good I am so pleased you found it useful!! Your ideas sound fabulous, good luck! I can't wait to see how it goes. I would just use tightly positioned muslin cloth over boiling or simmering water to steam the noodles, it should work.

    Heidi xo

  • August 13, 2013 at 3:31 am

    its my receipy and tour at redbridge cooking school.

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  • kruse January 15, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Nice farm and great pics! We joined this cooking class following your recommendation and were not disappointed. Thanks a lot. We also did a food tour from Hoi An Food Tour and it was wonderful! Everything makes us love Hoi An so much!