Hoi An was unique, its old quarter being its highlight, this town which lies between Nha Trang and Hue in Central Vietnam is rich in its culture and is widely known for its tailor made garment ready for next day delivery. We both decided to obviously not buy any suits or shirts as we both have a lot of travelling to do!
We decided to experience the Red Bridge cooking school which lies just away from the centre of Hoi An, we initially thought that this experience would be out of this world as we both intended to be really hands on at cooking oriental dishes. The result was below what we had initially expected, the actual class was well run by an experienced female chef who took time in what the clients were experiencing, but there was a sense of “ bums on seats” or even a conveyor belt approach to the class. Every 2 hours or so new clients wait for their turn to cook and experience their own dishes afterwards.
The Cooking class can be bought from some restaurants in the old quater of Hoi An, simply ask to purchase tickets for the Red Bridge Cooking school for the following day. The price for a half day cooking experience which elapsed from 11:00 to 15:30 was 615.000 Dong. Within this price you were entitled to aWelcome drink at the restaurant where tickets were bought, a tour of the local Hoi An market to explain the ingredietnts you would later use, 40 miunute boat ride to the school, 2 hour hands on lunch, followed by lunch.
We felt the price was fair when you take into account that lunch is included in the price, you also get to see parts of Hoi An’s riverside leading to the school which is beautiful! When you arrive at Red Bridge, you cant help but notice that the place is picturesque and stands out from its surroundings, a modern school which is always full to capacity.
Before we started our class, we were taken to the herb & spices farm to see what herbs we would be using for the class. The two hours hands on classes were first demonstrated by the chef and her helpers and we then started on our dishes.
We created the following dishes:
Hoi An Rice Pancakes
Shrimp Spring rolls
Out of all the dishes, we never created the salad as this involved many other ingredients. Note to self this was a tad of a letdown when you come to terms that the salad was the tastier of all the dishes. The remaining dishes were prepared by the clients using readymade ingredients. So in actual fact all we were doing was mixing the ingredients into the small sized Vietnamese pan or the claypot.
If you are looking for a hands full experience, I would suggest other locations in Vietnam to carry out this class as although a fun experience, this cooking school was for absolute beginners in the kitchen just searching for a small experience followed by a recipe book to carry out at home.
The food itself was a treat for the tastebuds, we enjoyed every plate and we have certainly learned how to personally cook Rice Pancakes from scratch which was the only real hands on experience we came out from the class.
So all in all a wonderful day out but don’t expect to come out knowing fully how to make your own twist into Vietnamese cuisine. We will have to experience another class in Thailand, let’s see how that turns out!