Taking a Cooking Class in Hanoi, Vietnam

One of our favorite memories of our recent trip to Vietnam was taking a cooking class in Hanoi. This was a true cooking class, not a demonstration, where we purchased the food from a local market, prepped all of the ingredients, and did the cooking ourselves with our chef’s instruction. There were only five of us in the class, making it very intimate and interactive. We created a four course meal, which we enjoyed eating family-style after cooking everything.

Cooking Pork Meatballs and Barbequed Pork
Ingredients for the Spring Rolls
Each Cooking Station
Setting the Table
Banana Flower Salad

After buying our ingredients, we went to a local house to prepare our meal. Our dinner included Banana Flower Salad (Nộm Hoa Chuối), which we made from banana leaves, a variety of vegetables, and sautéed beef. Our entrée was Vietnamese Grilled Pork With Rice Vermicelli Noodles (Bún Chả), which originated in Hanoi is a famous dish in the region. We made it with both pork meatballs as well as barbequed pork. To accompany the Bún Chả, we made Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls (Nem Rán), which are often served as an appetizer as well. For our dessert, we made Vietnamese Egg Coffee (Café Trứng), which is rich and delicious and is made with egg and condensed milk.

Frying the Spring Rolls
Making Egg Coffee
Ingredients for the Pork Meatballs
Finishing the Banana Flower Salad
Spring Rolls Before Frying Them

It took about five hours to do our shopping, prepping, and cooking, so we were quite hungry by the time our meal was actually ready. The class is offered in both the morning to create lunch or in the afternoon to create dinner, but we chose to do the dinner class and were glad that we did. Our chef was extremely knowledgeable and shared stories with us while we prepared our meal. It is an experience that we would highly recommend to anyone who visits Hanoi. After completing the class, the chef sent us all of the recipes that we made as well as others, which we are looking forward to cooking and sharing in the near future.

Whisking the Egg and Condensed Milk for the Egg Coffee
Meatballs Ready for the Grill
The House Where We Cooked
Vegetables for the Banana Salad
The Room Where We Prepared the Meal
Soaking the Banana Leaves


Have You Taken a Cooking Class in a Foreign Country?

We have often heard about people taking cooking classes during their travels, but we have never done that ourselves. We truly enjoy eating like a local and have been trying to replicate some of our favorite meals over the past few months. As we make our final preparations for our trip to Ecuador in three weeks, one of the things that we are considering is taking a cooking class while we are there. If we do take the class, we will eat a variety of local favorites and end by making our own empanadas using fresh, local ingredients.

Seafood Risotto

We enjoyed the variety of foods that we ate during our trip to Bolivia last year and look forward to tasting the cuisine of Ecuador. We are expecting them to be rich with starches and have a variety of pork and beef dishes. Have any of you taken a local cooking class during your travels? Would you recommend it?

Fried Duck
Chicken and Pasta