“What is the difference between your home country’s meat and Vietnamese meat?”
The Chef started the market tour by asking us such a question. It is not an easy-to-answer question, though. Lots of people like Vietnamese food. But never before has one (in the class) noticed if there exists such a difference. One cooking class with Saigon - Hoa Tuc Cooking Class started that way, then with a tour around the wet market near by the center. The Chef, also the class instructor, explained almost every kind of vegetables along the way and how it will be cooked in Vietnamese gastronomy. It is an interesting, if not intimidating experience for many class attendants to look at pig’s stomachs, brains, livers, kidneys, probably for the first time in their life.
As new thoughts start soaking the minds of travellers, a taxi ride already take all class back to the Center where fresh ingredients are turned into awesome dishes. The menus offered by the Center vary by day, one of which included Saigon Spring rolls, Lotus Stems salad with prawn/pork and Vietnamese beef rolls in betel leaf and lemongrass.
Chef Khanh at Saigon Cooking Class shows the class cooking techniques
It took almost an hour to make a finished dish. Vietnamese food is a slow type of cuisines, in both preparing and enjoying, and probably reflecting. As the class learned to make Vietnamese's authentic cuisines, the Chef pointed out many interesting facts and funs about the arts of cooking. For example, we all used the same ingredients to make the spring rolls, however, when dipping them into the oil to deep-fry, there are some floating while the others stay firmly at the bottom of the pan. The trick is if when one first dips the roll in the boiling oil and turns it around so that the oil can cover evenly all sides of the rice paper, the roll won't stick to the pan anymore.
From important techniques how to make a pretty roll to small tip how to carve a hot chili into a flower, many come to learn how much patience and attention Vietnamese food requires when they are in the making.
The joy of making food is probably the most rewarding experience
After finishing making a dish, the class brought their common 'outputs' to the dining table - which shared the beautiful set up as seen in Hoa Tuc restaurant. Every one was happy to get the first bite of their hard effort. It worked like a charm! The feeling of pride mixed with excitement about learning new things are probably a lovely part of each trip abroad.
At the end of the cooking class, a recipe book is handed out to every participant as a small reminder that one should practice what he or she learns beyond the class room. And to share with friends upon coming back as well!
For more information, contact Saigon Cooking Class by Hoa Tuc
Address: The courtyard,74/7 Hai Ba Trung, District 1, Saigon
Phone: (+84) 83 825 84 85
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