With this post I’m breaking the chronological order I’ve been following so far because I want to talk about a city I really liked – Hoi An- and the Vietnamese cooking class we finally managed to attend!
Hoi An is settled in the centre of Vietnam, by the South Sea, and it has always been a crucial point of trade among Asia and Western countries because of its strategical location. Here the influences of several generations of traders met, and European culture mixed with local and asian cultures. This is particularly visible in the buildings of the city centre – nowadays thousands of silk or paper lanterns are enlightening the canals overlooked by nice cafes or restaurants. There’s a magic atmosphere by night!
Cooking class and much more
A part from being known as the “City of Lanterns”, Hoi An is famous for its food culture – here several cooking classes are held. We couldn’t lose the occasion to finally learn how the delicious food we see in the streets is prepared!
We decided to attend a class sponsored in our hotel, and in one morning we had the chance to join several activities, which we all reached by bike. Our first appointment was by the river – we entered in a round little boat steered by a very enthusiastic lady who was rowing following the notes of Asian classics like “Gangnam Style”. The best way to wake up at 7 am 😉
Afterwards, we visited the “Herb Village” which is a neighbourhood in the outskirts of Hoi An where the majority of fresh herbs and vegetables sold in the city are produced. This is an amazing place to visit because every household keeps its garden in perfect conditions. Everything is clean, tidy, green and the farmers are totally committed to their products. We even had our experienced as farmers!
Last but not least, we cooked 4 of the main Vietnamese traditional dishes. Namely, fresh and fried spring rolls, beef pho and rice pancake.
Basically, spring roll consist of a mixture of vegetables, meat or seafood and loads of spices rolled up in rice paper. Depending on the filling, dough or cooking technique its name changes, but the substance remains the same.
The pho is a soup served with beef, noodles and herbs. The version with beef is the most traditional one, but there are many more versions with different kinds of meat or vegetables. Finally, the rice pancakes are a mixture between water, rice four to which you can add anything you want, just make sure it is well deep fried once all the ingredients are there!