I almost never do any tourist-y things while traveling. But in our beautiful stop in Hoi An, I heard of Hanh. She used to cook in a 5 star Resort in Hoi An and now has a Cooking Tour in the Cẩm Thanh Village. As soon as I could, I booked a tour with her.
We had to be ready next morning at 8.50. Well, I heard 8.50 but it was actually 8.15!!! OMG! we were running in underwear trying to get ready when there was a knock on the door, and it was Vang (the Homestay Host) she told me that my tour guide was already waiting. Fast! Fast! we got ready and we were downstairs in 5 minutes all packed. and there was Quang, our tour guide.
Quang is the cousin of Hanh and came to pick us up in a Scooter. I had Pepa in the carrier and we drove all the way to the market in the morning traffic. It was about 38 degrees Celsius when we got to the colorful market of Hoi An. The smell was like being home, like the markets in Peru, fresh fish, meat, fresh vegetables and sweet fruits.
We walked through the market and he showed me the ingredients we were gonna use in the class and bought some jackfruit for me to try, delicious. I was very curious about something called "Bitter Melon" so he got some so i can try them later.
After going through the market and getting also some spices for me and my friends, Quang invited me for some vietnamese cold coffee and tea before hitting the road again to Cam Thanh. After drinking this coffee, I was HOOKED! Best... Coffee... Ever... It was like the traditional vietnamese coffee with sweet condensed milk but served with loads of ice, the best for this hot morning.
Before the class started, we went on a "Basket Boat" trip through the river where palms grown on the water and several meters high. He told me all about the vegetation and how people build houses using palm leaves and bamboo. We showed me as well how to make small souvenirs out of palm leaves. Sadly, back in Berlin, my palm trees arent big enough to make those ;)
We rowed back to Hahn's house, and she was waiting for us in her beautiful terrace made out of bamboo and palm trees. I was already hungry and couldn't wait to learn how to make some tasty vietnamese Food.
We started with some fresh summer spring rolls. She told me we were not going to use rice paper... WHAT? yes! we used blanched spring onions to wrap the rolls. I made the garlic hot fish sauce and started to learn (by doing) this great starter. Rolling Pork and shrimp on lettuce, mint and coriander and wrapping them with spring onions. They were the perfect summer food.
After eating them and licking all of my fingers, She told me we were making Vietnamese Pancakes. I imagined this would be made out of eggs and sweet, but they were savory and they didn't use any eggs. Heaven for Vegans! if theys werent filled with pork, shrimp and quail egg. But I will try to make a vegan version of it at home.
I was ready to eat them like this, when she told me there was still some more things to do to them. First, grab a piece of rice paper, add the half of a pancake (unfolded) add some fresh leaves and roll it. And now you can eat it with the fish sauce.
If a fried spring roll and a summer roll had a love baby, this would be it! I munched them all, eager to see what was coming next.
Suddenly my "Bitter Melon" or alien cucumber soup came. She made it while I was in the market. It was a bitter but succulent tasty soup with small shrimps on it. I liked it, and Pepa did too. Later on my Flight to Abu Dhabi, I met Duong. She told me something interesting about this soup. Vietnamese people drink it on new years eve. They say it is so bitter and people dont like it that much, but the more you eat this soup before the new year arrives, the more the bad goes away and leave space for good things to happen.
Next, Fried Spring Rolls... I love spring rolls so much I could them all the time. But she had a different kind of rice paper, It looked like a spiderweb made out of rice noodles. We filled it with pork and other ingredients and proceed to fry them. The crispy fluffyness this roll had was AMAZING. As each of this noodles fries, they expand and grow getting so much air between each of them. By far the best fried roll I ever had!
At this point I was more than satisfied, actually stuffed like a turkey on Christmas Eve. But we had one more recipe to cook. Pork with La Lot leaves. This was a fast dish and very mouth-watering one as well. Juicy Tomatoes, pork and rice... I couldn't finish it all but I wish I had 3 stomachs to do it.
All this time, Hanh's mom was taking care of Pepa while she was rocking on a hammock getting fanned and entertained. We ate some mango and passion fruit and drank the last ginger tea water. Hanh jumped on her scooter and drove us Back to our Homestay.
If you are planning to go to Hoi An, I absolutely recommend doing this Tour. I learnt so many new things, I ate until I almost exploded, had a very nice and fun conversation, went on a boat and experience the real market. And even got a julienne cutter as a present. Thanks Hanh & Quang for such an incredible experience.
I am Andrea, or as my friends call me, Jinx. I am a foodie living in Berlin, eating my way through life. Here are my recipes, cooking events, dining experiences and more...