Hoi An Eco Cooking Class: wooden bowl boat ride and the making of traditional Vietnamese cuisine
With the current rise of Airbnb and various travel booking websites, it's not hard to find a local tour. However it is pure luck that we have stumbled upon this value-for-money cooking class; the other packages on the website seems to be targeting tourists that are too lazy to look at maps and deal with transportation by themselves.
Since we reside in a riverside hotel in Danang, Kien, the host offered to help us on transportation from Danang with a fair cost (12usd). We began the journey by a tour around the local market, in which we were greeted with ultra-fresh vegetables, fish, poultry and more. Kien offered a lot of knowledge, briefing us on their love for turmeric, the difference between herbs, some Vietnamese dishes and their origin etc.
Afterwards Kien's friend drove us to the riverside, it is a roofed outdoor area that has been fully equipped with around 20 work spaces. Most surprising of all, is that the venue is connected to a river, which the entrance are filled with wooden bowl-shaped boats! We are greeted with friendly locals who offered us bamboo hats and cold water, all while they are idly rowing us out to the main river. For a second I was thinking it's merely tourist fanfare, but their smiles are contagious and we could not help but laugh and clap with the locals whenever they danced! Their genuine smiles are something I could not forget probably for these few months.
Once back on land, we cooked 6 dishes (no spoiler here!) in 2 hours, and I am very impressed. Not only the teachers demonstrated their skills, they allowed us to practice and interacted with us, asking for our preferences, which this I have never experienced in other classes in Hong Kong. Instead of using pre-made ingredients, we chose to make every basic material from scratch! Not going to reveal all the details here, but I can tell you, every bite of the food we cooked is pure joy.
We are making our very own rice paper with a steamer with coal and fire, and almost burned our faces! (joking)
After the hearty lunch we bade a sad goodbye and went to the touristy riverside Hoi An for sightseeing.
Mrs Phi was very friendly and helpful, knowing that we had difficulty going back to Danang, she offered transportation and we scheduled a time after the night market. It's long since I have experienced such hospitality, and needless to say, I was very touched. Just like the ladies we met at the Han Market who offered help for the Áo dài we bought, the people here are very kind; and this begs the question, when have we, the urban people lost our smiles and grown hostile to strangers?
Their website here
Find them on the reviews page on TripAdvisor! They have been highly recommended by the tourists.
Other Danang adventures: