We enjoyed a lovely, relaxed cooking course with an excellent guide, Yen, whose lovely personality and excellent English made the session a pleasure. We got 4 hours for around £25 per person for just the two of us. The company were recommended by our hotel (Tirant), who said they would give us a better experience than the course we had seen in the window of the local restaurant. They were right.
Collected from the hotel, we went to the family run tour business based at their lovely large house in East Hanoi overlooking the Red River and Long Bien Bridge - beautiful. We began with a discussion of what we had enjoyed eating/would like to cook, and as long as it could be done in the time and the ingredients were in the local market, she was happy for us to make it. We hopped in bikes for half a mile or so and went shopping in the fascinating local indoor market. Yen answered all our questions about the strange ingredients and we were also instructed in the language and given money so that, with a little help from her, we bought the ingredients. Back at the house we helped her prepare the 5 dishes we had requested, plus the rice and two condiments - a feast! We chose dishes based around fish, pork and chicken, a mango salad and the best spring rolls we have eaten in Vietnam and then ate it overlooking the Red River.
We learned some of the background to the dishes we had been eating in the north on our excellent Ethnic Travel 5 day back woods trip which explained a lot that our guide there had not managed to convey due to the language barrier. Yen is emailing us the recipes and we bought some specialist dry ingredients at the market. Then we were back in a taxi and whisked off back to the hotel 9am to 1.30, just perfect.
Thank you Yen, I wish we were staying longer to sample the street food tour or the cycling tour out to the countryside, and particularly the motorbike tour (as pillion), further out to the countryside.
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