Hoi An is known for two things: for tailors and cooking classes. We all have gained some experience with tailoring (at least with the process of ordering) and last Sunday we finally could try our best in kitchen at the study center!
First, we went to the market and our chef explained some exotic vegetables and fruits and things you don’t really want to know – for instance, that all parts of a bull – yes, really all – are used in the kitchen…
From the market we went to the study center where we got dressed up with white cooking aprons and hats. I love cooking and after some time of traveling and without a kitchen, I really enjoyed to prepare vegetables for the following dishes: Banana flower salad, fresh spring roles, Hoi An rice pancake and Hot Pot.

The first step was to make the sweet-sour sauce which is the basis for all the dishes we cooked. Two spoons of fish sauce, two spoons of sugar (oh, you just don’t want to know…), one spoon of water and as much chili and garlic as you want (I wanted a lot!) – ready is the delicious and very easy sauce that can be used as dressing for salad as well as a dip for fresh spring rolls and rice pancake etc. etc…
In the next step we’ve learned how to create a flower out of the peel of a tomato, some wooden sticks and carrots – I have to admit that I’m not a big artist when it comes to food art, therefore, my flower  looked a bit sad and I focused on the spring rolls.
Making spring rolls is easier said than done. The rice paper has to be moistened in a bowl of water but shouldn’t be too wet, otherwise it’s quite a mess when you want to roll it. The rest is easy (at least from the description) put slices of carrots, cucumber, salad, shrimp and pork on the lower corner and start rolling. If you managed to roll it to a nicely looking spring roll – dip it in the sweet-sour sauce and enjoy. If not – do it again 😉

We have been quite full already after a salad and fresh spring rolls – but two more lovely Vietnamese dishes waited to be prepared. We managed to flambé our Hoi An pancake without burning eyebrows or hair and even the turn in the pan turned out to be successful – who would have thought that… 😉

I really enjoyed it and only can recommend to cook some Vietnamese food at home – most of the special ingredients can be easily replaced by something European (for example banana flower by cucumber) and for example fresh spring rolls are perfect as a snack at University!

Greetings from lovely Hoi An!

Lisa

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