We took a cooking class. It was bound to happen sooner or later. There are a myriad of options when looking for cooking classes in Vietnam and we decided to go with the Ho Chi Minh Cooking Class. It’s set out on their organic farm so you have the opportunity to pick your veg and herbs to cook with later. We chose a pretty tame menu of popular Vietnamese dishes partially because we thought they looked really good but also because we want our friends and family back home to eat what we make for them in the future.
Vietnamese cooking is very fresh and is apparently one of the healthiest cuisines in the world (which is probably why my experience with it was limited). Each dish contains elements of sweet, salty, bitter, spicy and sour and used a variety of sauces (soy, fish, oyster) and herbs (mint, corriander, chill, basil) and some fruits (lime). Once you get these elements down you can basically make anything.
The first course were fresh spring rolls. I was really looking forward to these as they are a personal favourite! We made them with pork and prawns but I love that you can modify them to meet anyone with
picky specific dietary needs. They were quite simple to make and I look forward to making piles of them on my next trip to the US (while pretending like they were incredibly difficult and time consuming).
The second course was the popular Banh Mi – a sandwich Anthony Bourdain has raved about. This popular baguette sandwich is eaten all over Vietnam and usually contains a combination of meat, fresh sauces, pickled vegetables and fresh herbs. There are many variations but ours were beef with a wonderful fresh sauce we made, vegetables we pickled and herbs we picked. It was a highlight (even for the really picky lady in our group who refused to eat anything except the banh mi!)
The third course was honey chicken and favorite by most people I know. We fried vermicelli noodles to put the chicken onand a wet batter consisting of flour and water. After the chicken and mushroom pieces were fried we made a honey sauce and toss it in. There’s no getting around this, Rob made the best honey chicken of the day. From this day forth he will be in charge of making this dish for our household!
The final course were banana spring rolls. Seriously, what’s better than banana mixed with sugar, wrapped and fried??? We at it with a coconut ice cream but I think when I make them at home I’ll add a caramel sauce to “Americanise” it with sugar overload. This was a great treat the end the class and fall into a nice nap on the drive home.