Vietnamese Street Food

Trip Start Sep 16, 2012
Trip End Oct 08, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hanoi Elegance Diamond
What I did
Hanoi Cooking Centre

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Today we both did a morning walking street food tour with the Hanoi Cooking Centre, & i stayed on for the Street food cooking class in the afternoon. I had found about Hanoi Cooking Centre thru Trip advisor.

We asked our Hotel to organise a taxi to get us to Hanoi Cooking Centre by 9am without a problem, the street eat tour is around $50 each & cooking class another $50 which i paid by Credit card (28 Deg mc) haha love it) because i forgot i had some spare USD that i was going to use for this course.

We were given some Vietnamese iced Tea while we waited then we were introduced to our guide who's name is Link. Link is a Chef who has worked in some good Vietnamese kitchens & was a wealth of knowledge Vietnamese cuisine.

Our first stop was for Pho at a place across the road from the Cooking centre, we had Pho Ga (Chicken Pho). It is basically Chicken Noodle soup, made of Chicken stock, rice noodles, Viet herbs & accompianments. It was delicious, Vietnamese have this as a breakfast, it is quite filling.

We then went to the local market Cho Chau Long & Link explained about the local fresh herbs, seafood & meat. Amazed to see how they would ride their motor bikes thru the market as they did their shopping.

We then caught a taxi back to the Old Quarter & had  Banh Cuon Gia which is a pancake that is made of the of rice noodle filled with minced chicken, with water bugs as a side dish, the pancake is cooked on a flat stove, we also had something like a pork sausage. It was different, but nice. Apparently its a family restaraunt with a recipe thats been handed down from generation to generation. We then walked to another place where we had something similar to the pancake, but is deepfried, you then add your herbs & wrap it in rice paper & eat it.

We then took a short walk to eat Bun Cha which is marinated pork bbq'd over charcoal, then put in a broth with herbs, it is served with Nem (Fried spring rolls). This was delicious.
Further up the lane we stopped at a place that serves Che, which is a Vietnamese dessert, kind of like a rice pudding, but made from topiaca & black eyed peas. It comes in all different sort of flavors & we had a bowl of different flavors.

We then caught a taxi to the West Lake area where we enjoyed some beers at a Bia Hoi place, Bia Hoi is locally brewed beer & is freshly served at Bia Hoi joints around the city. It has to be drunk on the day because it's fresh, so the cost is around 30-40c a glass. It is around 4.5% alc, so just be careful crossing the road after a few.

We then moved onto a coffee shop for some Vietnamese coffee, we sat upstairs & i enjoyed the best coffee i've ever had, the coffee is brewed thru a traditional drip method into a cup, i had the iced version with milk & sugar. Di had hers wth yogourt & she loved it.

That was it for the street eat tour, glad i had a light breakfast, we started around 9:30am & finished at 1:00pm, everything was included including drinks, we only paid for the Taxi's which avg around 40,000 Dong ($2) per trip. The food was good & interesting, Di loved it all, which surprised me. I must eat at the wrong Vietnamese restaraunts back at home as most of the food i had never heard of.We got a taxi back to the motel where i rested for an hour.

The cooking class starts around 2:30pm so grabbed a taxi & headed back around 2:10, Di stayed at the motel because it's my job to cook asian, i did the course with 2 kiwi girls, the course was street food.

We started with Pho Bo which is Beef noodle soup, the beef soup is more complicated thabn the chicken one as it takes 8-10 hrs to make the broth, so the broth was already prepared, we just put it altogether. Next dish was West lake Prawn cakes, which is basically a batter with sweet potato, & you place a prawn thats been marinated in fish sauce & pepper on top & deep fry. We made a vegetable pickle to accompany that. We then made some fresh spring rolls with a Nuoc Cham dipping sauce, Nom Xoai Xanh (Paw Paw salad) & for dessert we made banana Che.

The cooking class also visited the same market as we did this morning.
We then went upstairs where all our dishes were served with some beers for us to enjoy. It was great to get an understanding of Vietnamese cuisine. It was a good course, well run & a good organization. We finished around 6:00pm, i got a taxi back to hotel around 6:30pm.
We can highly recommend The Hanoi Cooking Centre for any travellers are interested.

Obviously i didn't want anything for dinner, but Di had fallen in love with the fresh baguettes at breakfast, & you see them on the street all over Hanoi, must be the french influence, the place next door to our hotel where i was buying beers & drinks everyday made them as well, so i got Di one.  Fresh Baguette with Patte, Di loved it.

As a note, most Hotels-Tours- Guides will quote USD, which for us Aussies is good at the moment, Dong is better to deal with though because we win.
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