If you ever visit Vietnam, you should not miss out on the opportunity to take a cooking class. Luckily, we found the opportunity to pick up some skills in cooking Vietnamese food. We’re here to tell you about the best Vietnamese cooking class in Hanoi! Vietnamese cooking classes are a great way to dive headfirst into the country’s cuisine to help you better understand the flavors and spices.
A day cooking tasty Vietnamese food is a day well spent, if you ask us!
Vietnamese Cooking Class in Hanoi
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Cooking Classes in Vietnam
Foods are by far the BEST way to experience the local culture. This is why we are so in favor of cooking classes! If you want the true experience that surrounds Vietnamese culture, then you should consider attending a cooking class.
You’ll learn how to cook authentic Vietnamese cuisine in a fun, laid back local setting. Such a great way to immerse yourself in the colorful and flavorful country that is Vietnam.
While in Hanoi, we aimed to find a cooking class that fit not only our budget but also aligned with our overall cooking class guidelines.
Our search wasn’t fruitless, because we ended up getting our cooking courses with Vietnam Awesome Travel. It was undeniably a remarkable experience. Now we find ourselves recommending them to anyone looking for something fun to do in Hanoi. The perks offered in these cooking classes cost around $35 – $40 USD per person.
Here’s what you get when you sign up:
- Half day (we could pick either morning or afternoon)
- Drinks such as beer, wine, coffee and various soft drinks
- Transport to and from your hostel/hotel
- English speaking tour guide
- 30-minute Vietnamese language lesson
- Bicycle ride to and from local market
- Cooking and feasting on five different Vietnamese dishes
Travelers who use Vietnam Awesome Travel are sure to enjoy all the extras included in this special culinary journey!
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The Morning Pick Up
Our Vietnamese cooking class started in the morning. We were waiting outside our hostel in Hanoi when a large van pulled up. As the door of the van opened, we saw a girl who gave us a welcoming smile as she said, “Jesse and Lauren? Hi, I’m Anna!”
We hopped in the van and we were off to an exciting group class on Vietnam foods!
In about twenty-five minutes, our novice group of Vietnamese chefs arrived at our destination, a cozy and spacious home located outside of the city.
We stepped off the bus as soon-to-be chef Jesse and chef Lauren, ready to go! The home where we would be utilizing the kitchen was very beautiful. It had a very spacious courtyard and a sight-seeing overlook that provides a nice view of Hanoi.
We were properly welcomed and were introduced to the two already-available Vietnamese chefs. They offered us chilled beverages, which at the time was irresistible due to the heat. Once we finished our beverages, we began selecting the meals we would be preparing. A total of 6 scrumptious meals made up our menu.
The Local Market
After choosing our dishes, Anna gave us a very brief Vietnamese language lesson. Why would we need a language lesson? Well, we would be off to the market soon enough, and it was a place where no one spoke English!
Given the task of buying all the necessary cooking ingredients, it was now a necessity to learn enough Vietnamese to secure what we needed to cook. It was up to us to buy all the fresh ingredients and haggle our way through the buying process.
This market visit uniquely contributed to the authenticity of the whole class. You get to shop as the locals do and witness the hustle and bustle of a authentic Vietnamese market. This is just another reason to love cooking classes.
Fortunately, Anna provided us a cheat sheet with everything we would need to know. Plus, she gave us some guidance on how to say the words, because let’s face it, a 30-minute Vietnamese lesson couldn’t possibly make us fluent.
Here’s a fun fact for you: did you know the Vietnamese have five different versions of every vowel? We didn’t either, but it is something to take note of when trying to speak the language. You may be trying to say “beef,” but in reality you are actually just dishing out insults. So watch out for that part!
With our ingredient list in hand, we were all given bicycles and then on our way to the market. Once at the market, we were guided by Anna to different stalls where we negotiated prices and quantities for our meal. We would line up with Anna by our side, and each of us gave our best attempt at asking for the items on our list.
One key phrase to learn is “Giảm giá!” (pronounced zim zia). This means “Discount please.” Whether or not you get the discount, it will render a smile from the vendor, and they will probably help out just because they know you are trying.
After our bargaining and sad attempt at speaking Vietnamese, we headed back to the house to begin our lesson.
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The Cooking Class – Time to Cook!
Anna and her two helpers we’re amazing! They delegated our roles and explained in detail what we were doing, why we were doing it, and the history behind Vietnamese cooking.
At this fun cooking moment, our groups were equally split into halves. While half of our group chopped, the other half worked the wok. We creatively seasoned and sautéed the meal with the help of Anna’s guidance. After all of our work — our feast was seasoned to perfection.
While on our cooking adventure, Anna took time to explain a couple of things about different Vietnamese dishes. She showed us what spices are an absolute staple in Vietnamese cuisine, and what the everyday people’s dishes are. Some of the ingredients we purchased were quite strange, as we haven’t heard or seen many of them all our lives. However, Anna also explained how we can substitute some of the ingredients that we don’t grow locally back at home.
While she was explaining, we could all see how much she knew about local and foreign dishes. You could also feel her passion for cooking and how much she loved teaching.
After some hard work and a whole lot of fun, our group created and served up five tasty Vietnamese dishes. We headed to the deck, placed the five dishes on the table, helped ourselves to another cold beverage, and chowed down on some delicious food. The day ended with full bellies, new friends, and a lot of laughs.
If you’re looking for something to do in Hanoi, go on and book your Vietnamese cooking class with Vietnam Awesome Travel.
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For The Budget Conscious: Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel is cheap, clean and fun. Located in the old quarter, it’s a perfect location to explore the must-see’s of Hanoi.
For The Luxury Inclined: For a luxurious escape in the bustling city of Hanoi, look no further than Shining Boutique Hotel & Spa. From it’s great location to its incredible on-site offerings, this boutique is a great little retreat in the heart of Hanoi.
For Something In Between: Smack dab in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, you’ll find Hanoi Moon Cactus. You truly can’t ask for a better location. Offering modern rooms with cute little balconies that over look Hanoi, this place is a gem.
For more places to stay in Hanoi, you can check out the latest places and prices here.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stü