Vietnamese Chefs in Hoi An

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!

Thomas is trying to cook a circle of dough made of rice, water and sesame seeds. The final product is a crispy rice bar which is here used as bread
We enjoyed a ride on the water buffalo, which is an animal still used in the cultivation of rice
Friends forever

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!

Rice pancakes in the making
Fresh spring rolls and rice pancakes
Pho
The squad dealing with food coma
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North Thailand

After four days of cycling and climbing up the temples we decided we had enough – time to move to the northern part of Thailand. Differently from our past travels by train, we took a bus to reach Chiang Mai. We are very impressed by the easiness to travel around Thailand when it comes to move from one city to another. There are both train and buses departing every hour and half to the main destinations. Buses are even cheaper than trains.

I loved the view from this sink

Luckily I brought a disinfectant hand gel with me, because the toilets at the station are very peculiar, and it is very rare to find some soap.

The bin on the right is used to throw away used paper toilets – the drawing system is not powerful enough. The left bin is a jar of water you use to flush the toilet.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is the main city in the North of Thailand. Differently from Bangkok, we see many more backpackers here. The city is well-known for trekking and the elephant rescue centers nearby. Unfortunately, the rain season is starting earlier this year, and we decided to postpone these activities (hopefully we will find a better weather somewhere else).

I don’t know what happens when any electrical problem occurs

Also, I feel a bit uncomfortable to subscribe for a day with the elephants. Apparently only few rescue center are really taking care of these majestic animals. Moreover, a real rescue center should not allow at all to ride the elephants, to reduce their stress. Consequently, a bit for the weather and a bit for the fear of giving money to careless centers, I decided to avoid it.

Vesak celebrations

However, we had the luck of being in Chiang Mai during full moon. The full moon day of May is a particularly holy day for Thai Buddhist – it is called “Vesak” or “Buddha’s birthday”. It celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha.

Again, we had proof of Thai’s welcoming kindness. While we were walking next to a temple we were suddenly invited to join the celebrations. During the whole day food was distributed for free, people were singing and dancing traditional songs.

Prayers in the temple

Behind the Scenes

I am Diana. At the age of 17 I left my quite and tidy hometown, Piacenza (IT) , to start my first adventure alone: a six-month exchange study experience in Chile. Fun fact, I was not even able to speak Spanish! This was only the beginning. I had the chance to study in the Netherlands and to move to Dubai for a little while.

I love dining out, I never say no to a walk, but foremost, I have a passion for biological juices and shoes. Where I see myself in five years? Follow me and you will know it!

cappello

Why am I here?

Since I booked my flights for my travel to Asia I started thinking, how am I going to remember all this? That’s how the idea of the blog came. I consider this space the perfect combination to keep track of my experiences, to take time for myself and to share tops and tips with my friends and family. I believe that writing about the stuff you love it’s the best way to inspire and be inspired by the people around you.

Please, make yourself at home, if you have any suggestion just write down a comment!