Sunday, 10 April 2016

Food Trip to Vietnam

On Friday I came back from Real Food Adventure Vietnam, run by Intrepid. I had a fantastic two weeks sampling the delights of Vietnamese food and making new friends. Instead of posing hundreds of photos of my trip I thought I would take you through some of my foodie highlights and oddities of the trip.

We started our adventure in Hanoi and the first morning we went to a local cafe for pho, the traditional noodle soup, which although odd for breakfast for me, is a staple for the Vietnamese. We chose from beef or chicken and I went for chicken. I have to say it was delicious and I would definitely eat noodles for breakfast again!

We then went on a food and market tour of Hanoi run by the Hanoi Cooking Centre. One of the highlights of this for me was Yoghurt Coffee, given that I don't actually like coffee, I really enjoyed this.

We went back to the centre in the evening and did a cookery class, my first of four! We made Banana Blossom Salad with prawns which was delicious.

Prawn and Omelette Spring Roll with a dipping sauce. We also made ginger chicken and were shown Sweetcorn and Coconut Soup. 

The cooking class was really good and the market and street food tour were fascinating. I also tried silkworms and a tiny bit of fertilised egg that night.

We took a boat to Halong Bay and saw the wonderful caves. The surroundings were spectacular and the seafood on the boat one of the highlights.

The chef also came out and made a carrot net, it was incredible to watch but I definitely don't have the patience!

On the way back from Halong Bay we stopped at a craft centre and I had my first western meal, a grilled cheese and ham sandwich! It was unlike any grilled cheese sandwich I have ever had!

On our morning in Hue we went out for Bun Bo Hue for breakfast, spicy noodle soup this time! A bit too spicy for me but the underlying flavour was great. Beef this time with thinner round rice noodles and crab and pork meatballs.

Then it was on to Hoi An. Our first meal in Hoi An was at Banana Leaf I started with the Hoi An speciality of White Rose, which are little steamed dumplings.

Then I had Mackerel with Turmeric, which was sublime. I wish I knew what went in it so I could recreate it. 

The following morning we went on a bike tour of Hoi An and the surrounding countryside. Stopping to visit a man who grew bean sprouts in sand and a nursery garden. We then went to the cookery school and did a cookery class, learning to make, white rose and vegetable dumplings,

Crispy Pancake Spring Roll

And Cao Lau, the special Hoi An noodles, with barbecue pork were done as a demonstration. 

For dinner that night we went to Lantern Town in Hoi An's Old Town. I had white tuna with a celery sauce, pomelo salad and mashed potato. The fish was incredible, I'd never seen white tuna before so it was a bit of a revelation.

On our final night in Hoi An I did an optional cookng class run by Mr Hai of Green Mango. This class as very much a team effort and instead of making individual dishes by ourselves we all chipped in doing different bits to form a whole meal. We made, spring rolls, pho, bun cha (pork patties), squid, green papaya and mango salad and pickles. 

Then it was on to Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon. The photo below shows Saigon in rush hour, whilst we were being peddalled around the city on a tour. The driving was crazy but it all seemed to work!

We took a trip out to the Mekon Delta and saw people making coconut candy

and rice paper for spring rolls. 

They also made rice wine with all sort of interesting things in it, including snakes!

At the homestay where we stayed, I got to relax in a hammock and I made a friend!

Before leaving the Mekong we went to a tree nursery where they were growing everything from jackfruit (pictured below) to durian.

Our guide made us a snack of prawns coated in young green rice and then fried, with a chilli mayonnaise dipping sauce. They were fantastic, something very different an the rice almost puffed up.

We then helped the family to prepare dinner, helping to stuff squash flowers, grate veg, chop loofah and make spring rolls. They was also this rather spectacular fish, which was made into spring rolls amongst a host of other dishes.

We then returned to Saigon and on our last evening did our final cooking course with Mrs Cam Van who is something of a celebrity chef in Vietnam. It was very short and we made a squid salad and prawns for the main course. We were also shown how to make an egg and tomato soup.

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Vietnam. If I was to sum up the food, it is quite sweet, they use a lot of sugar, but that is counteracted with chilli. The seafood and fish is spectacular and I still love noodle soup!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this looks like a trip of a lifetime! I would love to eat Vietnamese food for a solid week. Thanks for sharing your photos and memories!