Rated the 6th best city in Asia’s list of travel destinations as recently as 2016 by Travel and Leisure, Hoi An is inarguably a must see in a well curated trip through Vietnam. While immersing yourself in preserved architectural marvels, quaint shop lined side streets, and history soaked sights also try a cooking class in Hoi An and come away with a souvenir you can taste!
Internationally Famous Cuisine
When deciding how to spend your vacation hours while on a trip to Vietnam exploring the wide variety of delicious cuisine offerings should definitely factor into planning. Vietnamese food is internationally recognized, enjoyed, and only becoming increasingly popular.
With staples such as black pepper, fresh basil, chili, lime, wheat and mung bean noodles Vietnamese cuisine is considered largely very healthy. Some borrowed ingredients such as Chinese soy sauce in the North, baguettes and asparagus from the French mean the medley of influences on Vietnamese culture can literally be tasted.
In a city such as Hoi An which has existed as an important seaport in centuries past and opened the country of Vietnam to Japanese, Dutch, and Chinese traders you really get a feel for how eclectically international Vietnam has been for quite some time.
With each region having its own specialty dishes ranging from the wildly exotic to pretty tame in the central lowlands where Hoi An can be found nestled in the delta of the lower Thu Bon River some of the country’s best edibles are on offer.
Cooking Courses to Suit Your Needs
Because of the immense popularity of Hoi An as a tourist destination, restaurants are everywhere and many of them while serving up mouthwatering dishes also offer cooking classes for those interested in learning a bit more about Vietnamese cuisine. There are also standalone cooking schools, who offer set menus of dishes from you can choose to learn in groups up to around 20 or have a more private experience.
It is recommended to book beforehand at the more popular larger schools, but at some of the smaller restaurants who offer classes, it’s possible to make arrangements the night before. Some classes will also include an optional trip to the market so you can experience how to spot, and choose the freshest of ingredients you will later learn to cook with.
Be prepared, it may mean a very early start to the day! However a guided tour of the local markets will provide very detailed insight into the lives of the Vietnamese people and some of the daily routines that give the culture such a rich depth.
After all in terms of health, but also culture the old saying, “we are what we eat” applies.
What to Budget and What You’re Buying
Considering how valuable a cultural exchange you stand to gain from experiencing a cooking class in Hoi An the typical $15-40 expense is not dramatically overwhelming. This should include at least a two hour course, with at least 3-4 dishes, and the optional market trip.
The menu will be decided by your instructing chef, seasonally available produce, and of course you. If you’ve perused their menu beforehand hope to find at least one if not a couple of these Vietnamese dishes that absolutely must be tried: Cao Lau, Mi Quang, white rose dumplings, Hoi An wontons, chicken rice and banh mi.
Of course an afternoon spent cooking will usually be followed by an evening of feasting!
Finding the right course may seem like sifting through shards of glass for diamonds, but if you are building a tour of Vietnam and want a Hoi An cooking class included in your itinerary contact us and it can easily be arranged with the highest standard of quality ensured.
Jacob Sneed is an avid traveler, hobbyist photographer, and author. What began five or so years ago as a short vacation has turned into a nomadic lifestyle that has taken him to many central hubs and remote corners of the earth alike. More of his writings can be found at principejacob.wordpress.com
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