Wednesday, June 12, 2013

北越逍遥游(八):Hanoi Cooking Center

I always wanted to attend a cooking class when I travel oversea. I always think it must be cool to learn one or two signature dishes of the area, and I always believe that through cooking classes you can really learn to appreciate their culinary culture. However, this never happened. We were always too busy having fun or too busy doing nothing. There was once when Wei Wei and I went to Guilin, we have planned and almost enrolled to a cooking class and then suddenly the weather turned sunny. We decided that it's a crime to stay indoor in such wonderful weather so again we didn't attend the cooking class.


During our recent Hanoi trip, BB and I have a free day at Hanoi, and we had run out of ideas what to do at Hanoi besides drinking coffee after coffee. So, we decided to give the Hanoi Cooking Center a try. We enrolled in the Ha Noi and the Northern Highlands cooking class that cost us USD55 per person.

Hanoi Cooking Center

We reached the center around 9am. We were serveda cup of local herbal tea at the restaurant while waiting for our guide and the other customers. The ambiance was nice and I enjoyed taking photos of the surrounding. After everyone gets ready, the guide led us through the ally and headed across the street for wet market.

The guide is very knowledgeable and did a very good job in explaining. She even show us how to select the best fish sauce or spring-role skin etc. We were shown where to get the fresh-from-farm vegetable and fruits, freshly catch seafood, etc. We also saw some exotic food i.e. worms, frogs, snails etc.


Ingredient selection explanation session

See the tongue?

Old lady showing us how to wrap the Pinang

Something special, not-in-the-menu raw material for our cooking class

After the wet market tour, we went back to the classroom. It's a kitchen with a few working bench. 2 of us share a bench, share the utensils and a set of raw material. After the chef showed the steps, everyone of us has to go back to our working bench to prepare the food.
The Chef in action


It is interesting to learn to cook the Vietnamese food. You can actually see a lot of Chinese and Thai influence but at the same time their sauces (fish sauces especially) gave the unique signature that you couldn't miss.
The nicely flavoured dish (but the worms are too creamy for my taste)


After the class, we went to the restaurant upstair for lunch. (One can normally eat their lunch at the lovely courtyard but it was raining so we all opt for the indoor restaurant)

I love the idea that you eat what you cook. Bee Bee and I were pleased with the results and we were quite proud of ourselves :)

The wine/beer/juices/soft drinks are free flow so we had great time enjoying the food we prepared and chit chat in the nice environment.

Banana flower salad

Caramel pork

Seafood spring roll

and the happy cook
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