Monday, February 28, 2011

Vietnamese Cooking class

This morning we took a cooking class, I had been looking forward to this the whole trip. We debated about taking a Thai one as well but I am sure I can figure out pad thai on my own, since we like Vietnamese food more we thought it ould be a good choice. We were right on! White Lotus was the place, Ty who is the head chef was our teacher and t make things even better we were the only ones in the class. Also, White Lotus is a restaurant that is non-porfit and the proceeds benefit displaced adults in the area. It is part of Project Indochina, an organization founded by an Austrailian that helps people throughout Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos find work and a better way of living. We ate there 3 times already, hence the reason we chose to learn from that chef.
Our morning started at 8:30am, we got to the restaurant and had Vietnamese coffee. Then it was off to the maket to get our fresh veggies. Ty showed us around, it can be a bit overwhelming. He pointed out what we need but he also gave us a crash course on Vietnamese vegetables and fruit basics. There were so many that we had no idea about, some of the things we use in the states but did not look even close to what we are used to "same, same but different". Then it was a boat ride back to the restaurant to begin the preparation.
Next it was the first course complete with chef hats. I actually thought he would have aprons but chef hats are so much cooler!  Yesterday we got to choose 3 courses from about 12 dishes. Our first choice was papaya salad with shrimp and pork with prawn crackers. Not necessarily something I would pick off the menu but it's all about trying something new. Good choice!! He did make fun of me for being left-handed apparently that is not big in this country. Luckily there was a girl there who was as well and she showed me how she used the fancy gadget used to cut the onion juliene. It's backwars but it works, story of my life.... I told her in my country left-handed people were smarter, she laughed but I think she secretly believed me. Then we ate! Awesome salad!
Next course, what we have been waiting for Vietnamese soup otherwise known as Pho (fa). Pho Bo' (beef) tobe exact, pho ga (chicken) is for breakfast. Now eating with chopsticks is hard enough for me but cooking them is even harder. I had to boil the rice noodles while Eric chopped to ingredients for the broth, I had to use the chopsticks to get the noodles out of the water when they were ready. No strainer here.... Then bon appetit....
Lastly, it was the main course sweet and sour pork. This one threw me for a loop, who would have thought they used ketchup to make the sweet and sour sauce. Then, you guesses it, we ate. After that course they served us fresh fruit.
We left there with all 3 recipes printed out for us, a calander with picutres of the children in the villages that people in the program took and a memorible experience that will last a lifetime! Not to mention the homemade recipe for Pho for Eric's mom to add to the famly cookbook with an even better story to go along with it.


  1. Sounds like so much fun!!! And, yes, I'm super excited about the additions of Vietnamese recipes to the family cookbook...can't wait!!! Thanks for thinking of me. Can you make Pho without meat? (just vegetables?)

  2. Of course, I do believe they also make it with tofu and vegetable stock. They do have a large buddist population and some do not eat meat.

  3. Oo Oo yes!! I LOVE Pho! We just need to find those large bowls to make it complete. Glad to hear you guys had a good experience. Can't wait to try it :o)