Our first cooking class on the Real Food Adventure was at the Hanoi Cooking Centre. Vietnamese cuisine is all about local, fresh and organic produce. Having had a tour of the local fresh food market earlier that day taught us about the ingredients we’d be cooking with.
After arriving at school late in the afternoon and cooling down in the garden with some refreshing iced tea (made from the sweet la han fruit which looks a bit like passionfruit on the outside and has a tobacco-like smell inside), we head inside the kitchen for our lesson. We are guided by two chefs who first provide demonstrations for each dish at the front of the kitchen then we return to our benches to carry out the tasks.
As the only vegetarian in the group, all my dishes were different and this meant I had one-on-one assistance in preparing my dinner. How lucky!
I can see now how rice flour works as a ‘filler’ but in this instance perhaps there was just a tad too much as it left the rolls with quite a dry texture inside, even after using the soy and chilli dipping sauce.
Between us all we made so much food and we certainly couldn’t eat it all. I do hope the leftovers didn’t go to waste. My first Vietnamese cooking class certainly gave me an appreciation of the combinations of textures and the inclusion of so many fresh herbs. Such a healthy way to eat.
And before you ask, yes I have most of the recipes! I will share them with you when I get around to recreating these dishes at home.
So friends, what’s your favourite Vietnamese dish to make at home?