While food is probably considered my lifes passion, travel is right there behind it. I’ve traveled all over the globe in my quest to find the world’s most delicious food and being based in Seoul, Asia is my most covered continent. In July TFB and I managed to book flights to Vietnam for under 300,000 won each, thanks to a new influx of low cost airlines like Vietjet, and with Hoi An being only a mere 4 hours away it seemed like the perfect destination for us to use as a base for a food filled vacation.
After spending hours and hours researching where to stay we finally settled upon the Hotel Royal, a boutique hotel which is part of the MGallery Colletion. Not only was the hotel in the perfect location to explore the city, it was also sensationally luxurious. The hotel was deigned to keep within the them theme of the Old Quarters colonial style while still retaining a modern edge. The fact that it’s less than a year old also meant that all the facilities were in peak condition and the staff couldn’t have been friendlier.
Now while I could have laid by the beautiful pool all day long gorging on hotel food I was there to do some work, and one of the things I was most looking forward to partaking in was a cooking class. All over Vietnam cooking classes are offered in almost every restaurant that you walk past. The sheer amount of places offering different classes means that you could be cooking each and every day of your vacation for a month if your heart desired. Last time we visited Vietnam we took part in a cooking class in Nha Trang and were really looking forward to learning how to make a few new local dishes.
After some consideration we decided to do the cooking class at our beautiful hotel Royal Hoi An MGallery. Not only had we eaten some amazing food there already, but the lack of travel time and the fact it didn’t start until 9am sealed the deal.
We started our class by riding our bikes along the scenic and picturesque river to the local market. Bike riding may sound tough but I assure you its incredibly easy and a very pleasant ride despite the heat..
After a look around the traditional markets to see where all the local ingredients were sourced we enjoyed a refreshing sugar cane juice drink by the river then rode back to the hotel.
Our chef for the day prepped us with everything we would need for the class, then gave us a brief introduction to the style of cooking that’s found in Hoi An. he then set about showing us how to prepare each of the three local dishes he had planned for us to make.
The first dish we made were the traditional Vietnamese rice rolls. These are one of Vietnam’s most famous foods and despite having made them at home before I still found them tricky and of course TFB’s were better than mine once again. Though while they may not have been quite picture perfect they were still very tasty.
Our second dish was a very inspiring marinated grilled squid dish which I will definitely be making at home, served with a banana blossom salad. It was so exciting to try something new and the flavours were so fresh. I will be sharing the recipe on my return, if I can find the banana blossoms of course.
Lastly we made one of Hoi An’s most famous dishes, Mì Quảng. It is a dish special to the local area and made with rice noodles. A rich broth is poured over the top along with marinated chicken pieces, shrimp and quails eggs, despite the ease of making the dish it was full of flavour and unlike anything else I have eaten before.
After our cooking class we took some time to eat our delicious lunch then sat by the pool for a few hours to cool off and relax.Then it was time for our cocktail making class! I love a good cocktail and was so excited to learn how to make a few, and I took TFB along too so that he too would be able to make me a fab and refreshing drink at the end of a long day.
We started off by tasting the sweet, bitter, sour, and herb elements that go into making a great cocktail and taught how to balance them with other fruit flavours. After that we learned all about the different liquors and had a little test, not surprisingly as a bit of a lush myself, I did quite well on this part. We also tried some of the local liquors that Hoi An has to offer, some of them were more delicious than others.
After a quick chat about which drinks we’d like to learn to make I selected the Lemongrass Mojito. I love lemongrass, especially in a mojito, so was very eager to give this one a go. I watched carefully as Tri our teacher carefully showed me the ropes, then I had to replicate it for myself. If I do say so myself I did an awesome job.
TFB decided to go with a gin based cocktail with fresh green apples. Again he watched and learned before having a go himself, he clearly has a knack for it as I adored his and we will definitely be making this lovely refreshing treat at home. After the class was over, we took our cocktails with us and then had another relaxing hang by the pool, it was pure bliss.
Both the cooking class and the Cocktail class were ran by the Hotel we stayed at, Royal Hoi An Mgallery. The Cooking class runs everyday from 9am – 1.30pm and costs about $25 per person while the Cocktail Class is from 3pm – 4pm and is about $15. The room we stayed in was the Grand Deluxe and prices start from 140,000 per night. If you would like any more information, to book a room, or either of the classes we tried please visit the hotel website directly.