The Morning Glory cooking masterclass was one of things I most enjoyed during my trip to Vietnam.
There were a number of different cooking classes around the town and a lot of options available at Morning Glory but Pete and I decided on the master class as you got to go to the market and learn about the different produce available in Vietnam/Hoi An as well as learning how to cook the dishes. We also got the added benefit of having a free breakfast and the ability to test out lots of the food that the restaurant sells.
Overall the Masterclass is a really interesting and not-too-difficult course where you learn about Vietnamese food and also the Hoi An way of life with it being simple enough to give you the chance to actually make the food well and enjoy doing it. I was so impressed at how well our food came out and how fancy it looked.
You start off at 8.00am at the Morning Glory Market Kitchen restaurant; where you meet the other people you are on the course with. We borrowed the bicycles from our hotel and cycled the five or so minutes to the restaurant. I somehow managed to bruise my bum with the bike, surely this doesn't happen to normal people?! What is up with me!
Once you're at the restaurant you get to go to all of the different mini kitchens around the perimeter of the restaurant where you can try all sorts of different breakfast dishes. They all looked amazing but I stuck to one of the delicious Vietnamese baguettes (made with rice flour rather than wheat flour) and an egg. My poor tummy was not having a great time of it in Vietnam with the food (it tasted delicious but it just didn't make my tummy happy), I didn’t want to be ill when I was on the market visit so I thought it best to have something plain. Everyone else chomped through lots of food so it must have been amazing. I had fresh passion fruit juice as well and it was really refreshing.
|Boat Journey to Hoi An Market|
After breakfast we were taken on a boat to the central market in Hoi An and had a guided tour where we were shown many fruits and vegetables that I had never seen before such as bitter melon and persimmon. I really enjoyed seeing all of the local fruits, vegetables and seafood. It’s so different going to the market with a guide who knows what is going on and can really explain things to you; it makes things so much more interesting.
|Central Market - Hoi An Vietnam|
During the market visit we were shown a really cool grater, we didn't buy one as we were backpacking and all the space and weight counts and I was sure we could get them on eBay, you can get everything on eBay! I ordered two when I got home so once it arrives I will make a blog post about it, as they are really handy. Had we not been backpacking I would have obviously purchased them locally, to support the local economy.
Once the market visit was over we all ambled back to the boat and travelled back to the cooking school. We had an informative tour of the market restaurant itself and got to taste many lovely, and some rather ‘different’ types of foods. I even ate a silk worm! They make such a fuss on I’m a celebrity get me out of here, the bugs just tasted nutty, like crushed hazelnuts.
On to the cooking! Ms Vy herself was our cooking teacher and is in the picture at the top of this blog post. She’s quite well known and has even cooked with Gordon Ramsey which I found quite exciting. She was a very knowledgeable lady and her English was great, some people in the back of the class did have a bit of a problem hearing exactly what she was saying at some points so be sure to try and get a seat nearer the front.
We learnt to cook
- Cabbage broth with cabbage parcels filled with shrimp mousse (I had no idea that such a simple sounding dish could taste so amazing, and I don’t even really like cabbage)!
- Vietnamese pancake (Banh Xeo). I was surprised how well these turned out, whenever I make a pancake at home the first one or two are normally hopeless!
- Barbequed chicken thigh with green mango salad (this was a slightly sad dish for me; I am intolerant to mango so I couldn’t eat the salad, but it smelled so good)!
We ate our soup and pancake immediately after making them, I thought it was really ingenious that we put the pancake on a bit of rice paper so our hands didn’t get greasy but also meant that we could eat the paper too, rather than using kitchen towel or something similar.
The instructions were really easy to follow throughout the course and you didn’t really need much cooking experience to be able to do it, and to enjoy it. The only problem I had was with the minute machete style peeler, I think that was because my hands are bizarrely small for someone my height as the mango kept slipping around in my hand and I was terrified of chopping off a digit!
We met some really nice people on the course and we went for a drink with the couple that shared our cooking station later in the evening where we got to share our (well mostly Pete’s from our side, since I haven’t been too many exciting places) stories of travels far and wide, and really loved the time chill and just get to know new people, it was such a shame that we had a cab coming at 4.30am the next morning to take us to the airport, as I am sure we could have stayed out longer chatting to them.
The holiday in general but especially the cooking course made me think about travelling and making friends versus doing the same in normal everyday life. Everyone we met was more friendly, chatty and just generally more amenable to having a conversation than in regular London life. I wonder if this is because they are more carefree because they are either on holiday or have quit their jobs and are travelling the world or if people backpacking are just generally quite relaxed as it is an un-glamorous way to travel, and are up for new experiences and meeting new people. Perhaps it’s a bit of both. I imagined going on a course or similar in London, would anyone ask if you fancied a drink later, and if they did would you start to wonder if they were an axe murderer? Just because that isn't a thing that people normally do? Hmmm.
I really enjoyed going and it's a nice activity to do with someone else as well as on your own. Overall this is a must do in Hoi An, it only takes 8am to1pm of your time but it is one of the best days I had in Vietnam. Plus a free breakfast and lunch, a free cooking utensil, all for $32 us dollars each. Such a bargain!
Have you been on a cooking course anywhere? Please let me know if you have any recommendations, I would love to do one in Thailand one day, perhaps even Brazil as I might be able to go there next year.