Mr. Selfish and I certainly enjoy taking cooking classes. Initially though, I wasn’t too sure whether I wanted to take a cooking class in Hoi An. However, after a few days of eating the food, I knew that we had to take one. The food in Hoi An is very different from the southern cuisine from Saigon.
We signed up for a cooking class with Van from Green Bamboo Cooking School, which is the highest rated cooking class on Trip Advisor. The class includes a market tour to buy ingredients and, more importantly, allows each of participant to choose from over sixty dishes to make.
Mr. Selfish and I had previously walked through the Hoi An market and were a little overwhelmed by the selection of produce and meat. It was nice to have Van take us around and show us the ropes. We started in the food stalls area where people were dining on their breakfast. Then, we went to the fruit and veggies area, where we sampled some fruit and Van pointed out the veggies we would need for our dishes.
Afterward, we went to the seafood and meat areas. Because the seafood and meat were so fresh, the market actually didn’t smell like meat and seafood. We also found some live, as well as pre-prepared, chickens that were being sold in preparation for Tet.
Next, it was off to Van’s kitchen, which was in her house. It was a nice fully stocked kitchen. Mr. Selfish and I look forward to having our very own kitchen again. For our dishes, we chose banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes), beef salad with chicken and duck egg cake, water spinach with garlic, and pork in a clay pot.
Per the usual, we started with chopping the garlic, ginger, tumeric, herbs, and peppers. We then used the wooden mortar and pestle to make a nice paste. We enjoyed using the wooden mortar and pestle so much that we purchased one (for about $2USD) and shipped it back home.
Next, we followed Van’s suit and made banh xeo. The banh xeo in Hoi An is different than the one in Saigon, which is much bigger and fill up an entire large plate. In Hoi An, the banh xeo are quite small and crunchy. Mr. Selfish also cooked his beef in a wok and made an omelet from duck eggs for his salad. I made water spinach with garlic in a wok and pork with papaya in a clay pot.
It was all very simple and delicious. Ivy (the other lady in the class) made two stir-fry dishes, as well as Cau Lau noodles. These are definitely recipes that we will make when we settle down in the States. Van also gave us a recipe book and long cooking chopsticks (which we also shipped), so it’ll be much easier to cook at home.
Thanks to Van for a wonderful shopping and cooking experience! We’re so glad that we decided to take a course at the Bamboo Cooking School.