While in Vietnam, an absolute must do is take a cooking class and we’re here to tell you about the best Vietnamese cooking class in Hanoi! A Vietnamese cooking class is a great way to dive head first into the countries cuisine to help you better understand the flavors, spices and those oh so mouth-watering smells.
About The Best Vietnamese Cooking Class
We believe that food is one of the BEST ways to experience someone else’s culture. Which is why we are so pro-cooking class! We did a bunch of research, when in Hanoi, to find a cooking class that fit our budget, had great reviews and fit our overall cooking class guidelines.
So, who did we go with? We went with Vietnam Awesome Travel and we cannot recommend them more! The cost was $35 USD per person. Included in the price are the line items listed below. Well worth every penny!
- 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
Our Day with Vietnam Awesome Travel
Waiting outside our hostel in Hanoi, a large van pulls up, the sliding door opens, and out pops a young smiley-faced, Vietnamese girl. “Jesse and Lauren? Hi, I’m Anna!” We hop in and off we zoom off to our cooking class!
It took 20-30 minutes to get there as we learned the class is being held at a home that is located outside of the city.
Our van arrived at the home where we would be having our cooking class and soon-to-be Chef Jesse and Lauren, step off the van ready to go! The home was beautiful with a large courtyard and a wonderful outdoor deck that offered views of Hanoi.
We are welcomed, introduced to two other Vietnamese chefs, offered beverages and began selecting our meals.
Each couple chose a dish and we let Anna choose the remaining two. We looked to her to guide us in the “must try” direction.
After our dishes are chosen, Anna gave us a brief Vietnamese lesson. Why a language lesson you ask? Well, we were off to the market where no one spoke English! It was up to us to buy all the dish components and haggle our way through it. Talk about an authentic, hands on experience! Another reason we love cooking classes.
You get to shop like the locals do.
Fortunately, she gave us a cheat sheet with everything we would need to know. Oh, and some guidance on “how to” say the words because let’s face it, that 30-munite Vietnamese lesson did not make us fluent.
FUN FACT: Did you know Vietnamese has 5 different versions of every vowel? We didn’t either, but something to take note of when trying to speak the language. You may be trying to say beef and actually saying something insulting!
With our ingredient list in hand, we were all given bicycles and headed off to the market!
Once at the market, we were guided by Anna to different purveyors to negotiate prices and quantities for our meal. We would line up with Anna by our side an 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. This is still one of the only words we still remember from Vietnam.
After our bargaining and sad attempt at speaking Vietnamese, we headed back to the house where we were treated with some cold beers and then sent to the kitchen to begin our lesson.
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.
Half of our group chopped, while the others worked the wok. We seasoned and sautéed and with Anna’s guidance, seasoned everything to perfection.
She showed us what spices are an absolute staple in Vietnamese cuisine and what the dishes people eat every day are. She also explained how to substitute out ingredients that we don’t grow locally back at home.
You could feel her passion for cooking and how much she loved teaching.
After some hard work and a whole lotta fun, our group created and served up 5 tasty Vietnamese dishes. We headed to the deck, placed the 5 dishes on the table, helped ourselves to another beer and chowed down on some delicious food. The day ended with fully bellies, new friends and lots of laughs.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stü