Choosing a cooking class in Hoi An was more difficult than we had anticipated. In fact, there were more cooking class choices than there are motorbikes in Vietnam (at least it seems like it!) We’d heard Hoi An was the “food capital” of Vietnam but we had no idea there would be 50+ cooking classes to choose from.
When trying to make a decision on anything while travelling, Trip Advisor becomes your best friend. Sifting through companies usually, narrows it down to a handful but we were seriously surprised to see the top 10 + classes all had glowed with 5-star reviews. Now what?
I’m here to tell you we worked our way through about 15 of them before we came to a decision to go with Hoi An Eco Cooking Class (this is not to be mixed up with Hoi An Cooking Tour) and we couldn’t have been happier (no, we are not affiliated with this company by any means).
Note: Make note of the real phone number and email when booking (details below). Many companies try to impersonate reputable companies by changing only a small part of their name. It happens not only with cooking classes but with many other agencies and even restaurants throughout Vietnam.
Now, where were we? Back to the good stuff!
When choosing a cooking class there are many different factors to take into consideration.
- How long do you have?
- Do you want a full day/half day or just 1-2 hours?
- Do you want a class in a rural setting or in the centre of town?
- What do you want to cook? This is important! Most companies will have the menu online but be sure to check before booking.
- Do you want to visit the markets or a farm or take a boat ride?
- What is your budget?
Be sure to figure out what you want before you start looking, it really helps to narrow them down!
We had the time and wanted to experience more than just a cooking class so we took the option that gave us the chance to visit the central market, cruise the coconut palms in the classic ‘coconut basket boats’, make rice paper from scratch (a key differentiation) as well as the cooking class. We definitely weren’t disappointed, especially with a price tag of only $32 USD for the 5-hour tour.
Hoi An Cooking Class
We were picked up at 8:00 am and driven to the central market to learn about the different fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. We’ve visited our fair share of markets throughout the last 2 years but it’s always fascinating to see how their run and what they have to offer.
The best part about these markets was learning about the different herbs used in the various noodle soup dishes considering that’s what Vietnamese cuisine is all about.
Next up, was our sweltering hot row down the coconut palms in the ever so cool coconut basket boats. Fitted with a life jacket (safety first guys), we were rowed down the Thu Bon River by an adorable lady who was very adamant about us drinking water, keeping our life jackets on and wearing the typical bamboo hat.
We stopped every so often to try and catch purple crabs and tried to avoid the beaming 40-degree heat. It was only a 30-minute journey to the school but it was pleasant, fun and something different.
The cooking school, hidden amongst the trees was perfect. Spacious, clean and extremely well organised.
We were split up into 2 groups which kept the process moving. There was no waiting around or lack of attention. Not only did we chop, cook and stir, we also learnt and got to practice the process of making fresh rice paper rolls used for spring rolls with the old traditional methods. A very interesting, time-consuming process back in the day.
What did we cook?
- Sweet & Sour Fish Sauce – The main sauce used for dipping and dressings in Vietnam.
- Pho Bo – The most popular beef noodle soup dish.
- Banana Flower Salad – Fresh and full of flavours. No lettuce involved, just grated carrot, sweet mango and cucumber topped with grilled pork/shrimp and garnished with sesame seeds and peanuts.
- Making Rice Paper – To make the fresh spring rolls and rice crackers for our salad.
- Fresh Spring Rolls – The perfect summer snack. Healthy and delicious. My absolute favourite in Vietnam.
- Banh Xeo – Vietnamese savoury pancake with pork and bean sprouts inside.
- Grilled Aubergine (eggplant) with a flaming tomato sauce.
Our favourites were the Spring Rolls and Banana Flower Salad, both of which were bursting with flavours. We just can’t get enough of the all the fresh herbs used in this country!
This isn’t our first cooking class but it was definitely our favourite. Email Kien at [email protected] to make a booking. Quick, what are you waiting for!
If you’re still interested in Vietnamese food, we’ve compiled a list of our ‘Top 17 Foods to Try in Vietnam’ so go check it out! It explains all of these dishes in greater detail.
Married Days Survived: 828