When Reva started planning her trip to Vietnam, there were bound to be a whole lot of food-related activities in it. One of the most exciting things she came up with was attending a cooking class. Our online research showed up Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An as one of the most promising, so off we went, booking ourselves for one regular & one vegetarian class, with Sara in tow.
The class started mid-morning at Hai Cafe (after we collected our custom-made shoes), and almost every female at the café came over to coo at Sara. First we followed our guide for a visit to the local market, learning names of fruits, vegetables, and getting more preferential treatment (in terms of fruit handouts from the vendors), thanks to Sara. Deeper into the same market was the section for fish and other scary seafood, where the women went totally crazy over Sara, offering her some dead fish and live eels, and whatnot! Ewwwwww!!! The last part of this tour was about some typical spices and herbs used in Vietnamese cuisine.
Then we headed over to our boat which took us on a meandering ride through the river to the Red Bridge School. The walk through the herb garden was fairly enlightening, and the cock-a-doodle-doo was quite enough to keep li’l Sara entertained.
We were a little worried at the class – Will Sara sit quietly in one place? We were a small group of around 15-16 people. The chef/instructor would show us a little demo of a dish, then send us to our cooking stations, where we would do it ourselves, with the able assistance of a large staff ;-). Interestingly, the cooking stations were on a platform separated from the river by nothing, and there were times when Reva & I were nicely contorted, in attempts to prevent Sara from taking a splash overboard. Luckily, the staff here were as gushy about her, and supplied her with enough paper to scribble on, while we cooked.
One fresh rice paper, one pancake, one claypot with veggies/seafood and some food decorations later, we were quite done, and could settle down to eat some of our own preparations. Not bad at all!