Taking a Hoi An cooking class is a must if you are traveling through Vietnam. This little town is the epicentre of Vietnamese cuisine.
There’s no better way to learn about the culinary delights this country has to offer than by attending a cooking class.
There are several Hoi An cooking classes on offer so, after some extensive research, we decided on Green Bamboo Cooking School.
Green Bamboo Cooking School is run by multi-lingual, Vietnamese chef, Van in her home. The house is located in the North of Hoi An in the Cẩm An area, however, when you book on to one of the daily classes, you will be collected from your hotel or hostel in the morning.
Before you take part in the class you will be asked which dish you would like to cook. The list is extensive and includes Hoi An classics as well as vegetarian-friendly options. Each participant in the class will be asked to select a unique dish so there are no crossovers. No more than 12 people can join a class. This ensures the class sizes are not too big and each student receives attention from Van throughout the day.
Read on to learn what you can expect from a full day Hoi An cooking class at Green Bamboo Cooking School.
Morning market trip
The day began at 8 am when we were picked up from our hotel in a minivan. After all participants were collected, we were introduced to our teacher for the day “Van”. Van then gave out a traditional Vietnamese hat to each of us and led us around the local market. We shopped for everything we would need for the recipes that had been selected.
Unlike many other classes we had tried around Southeast Asia, Van was extremely informative and engaging. She explained a lot about the traditions of Hoi An and the ingredients used in Vietnamese cuisine.
After we had finished shopping, we were taken to a cafe where we sat down to a traditional Vietnamese drip coffee. Van also encouraged us to try a local “sweet’ consisting of mung bean and tapioca wrapped in banana leaf.
Arriving back at Van’s house, we all began to prep our dishes together. Mostly this consisted of cutting up the meat and vegetables we had just purchased at the market.
Once all the food was prepared, each person in the class, in turn, got to cook the dish that they had selected (under the guidance of Van). Once they had finished, the food was plated up and served to each member of the group.
This was a great way to watch and learn a variety of dishes rather than just one. Our group consisted of twelve participants, so we were able to taste and learn how to prepare twelve Vietnamese classics. Also as a word of advice, maybe swerve breakfast if you want to have room for each serving!
What we cooked
We chose to cook Cau Lau, which is a traditional dish from Hoi An. Cau Lau is a pork dish served with smoked noodles that are only produced in Hoi An. The pork is poached in a delicious soy gravy and served with crispy pork belly and herb salad.
The other dish we selected was water spinach with garlic and pork in clay pot. Clay pot dishes are common in Vietnam. The dish is cooked and served in a clay pot at a very high temperature which creates a wonderful caramelisation on the meat.
The other dishes that we got to try were;
. Pho bo (classic beef noodle soup)
. Bo luc lac (beef dish also common in Cambodia)
. Vietnamese pancakes with shrimp (often found at food stalls in markets throughout Vietnam)
. Bun cha Ha Noi (BBQ pork and pork meatballs, originally from Hanoi).
. Bun Chay (vegetarian noodle soup).
. Egg plant in clay pot
. Chicken stir fry with cashew nuts
. BBQ pork with soy and peanut sauce
. Caramelised Chicken with ginger
. Stir fry squid with lemongrass and hot chilli
It was a great interactive experience and everyone had their turn at being head chef. This day not only taught us about how to cook a different cuisine, but also a lot about the ingredients used in Vietnam.
Although no one cooked a dessert, we all got to sit around Van’s dining table to try a dessert that Van had prepared for us earlier. This included a passionfruit vodka shot which was delicious!
Sitting down at the end was a great opportunity to talk with Van and the others we had spent the day with. A lovely ending to a really great day.
Overall we had a fantastic experience and would recommend Green Bamboo Cooking School to anyone visiting Hoi An.
The cost for a full day at Van’s cooking class in Hoi An cost 1,040,463 VND per person ($45 USD or £34 GBP). We felt this was amazing value considering you won’t be needing to spend any more money on food for the day and you get to sample up to 12 different dishes.
Follow us on social media: