Looking for the best Hoi An cooking class? Then read all about my experience of this Hoi An cooking school – just make sure you come hungry!
I love cooking classes. From Argentina to India to Thailand, I have done them all around the world. I genuinely find they’re the best way of immersing yourself in the food culture of a country – you just learn so much on a cooking class that you’d never pick up anywhere else. Also, all the food is downright delicious, so it’s win-win basically.
When Chloe, Cooper and I were travelling around Vietnam, one of the Vietnamese experiences I was most looking forward to doing was a cooking class in Hoi An. I knew this was one of the top spots in Southeast Asia for cooking classes, so I was super excited to learn how to cook like a local.
My Hoi An cooking class lasted about 3 hours, and in that time we made a spicy green mango salad, crispy pork and prawn spring rolls, authentic bánh xèo (the ever-popular Vietnamese pancakes), and a very unctuous pho with beef and bean sprouts.
I know this is going to sound like hyperbole, but it was one of the best meals we had in Vietnam. Honestly, cross my heart. I don’t now if it was the freshness of the ingredients or the fact we were cooking it all ourselves, but it just tasted so good. And now I get to cook all of that again at home!
What I loved about this cooking class was how much cooking we did. I know that sounds like a stupid thing to say, but I’ve done cooking classes before where all you do is chop an onion then watch the chef cook. In this cooking class, we actually got to cook. I definitely enjoyed it a lot more because of that.
If you’re visiting Hoi An and you want a break from all the tailors and shopping, then I can’t recommend this Hoi An cooking school enough. It really lived up to the expectation – hopefully you’ll see why in this review!
Just as a heads up, another activity we absolutely loved in Hoi An was the basket boat tour – I recommend you check out that one too!
Getting to the cooking class
We booked this particular cooking class because it was one of the highest rated/reviewed tours on GetYourGuide (our go-to booking platform when travelling).
As a disclaimer, we paid for everything ourselves. I’m not working with or promoting GetYourGuide on this one (though if you do decide to do the same tour and book via my link, then I make a tiny commission).
A lot of other tours in the area included a tour of the market or a boat trip, but we were here for one thing – to cook. That meant we wanted a cooking class that maximised cooking time.
Also, we wanted a class that lasted a max of around 3 hours. As we were travelling with our little boy (who was 8-months-old at the time), we knew 3 hours was that sweet spot where we could keep him entertained without him getting bored.
We got picked up from our hotel at around 10am, and then we drove about 15 minutes outside Hoi An to Cam Thanh Coconut Village. This is where they do the coconut boat tours, another of the top things to do in Hoi An.
Once we got dropped off, we walked through a few streets with houses still waking up for the day. Then, just by the side of the river, was our cooking school for the morning.
In total, there were only 9 of us in the class, so it was a good size and meant we weren’t all scrambling for space.
Our menu: What we cooked
Things got off to a great start when we were given a nice cold glass of passionfruit juice when we arrived, just to get our tastebuds tingling. Then, when our teacher was ready, we all stood at our individual places as he instructed us what to do.
Spicy green mango salad – The first thing we made was the spicy green mango salad. This was super easy to make but showcases the best of Vietnamese cuisine. It’s sour, salty and a little bit sweet before finishing spicy. It’s one of those dishes that you keep going back for more.
The thing that binds it all together is the salad dressing. This is simply fish sauce, sweet chilli sauce, lots of lime, a tiny bit more sugar, then crushed up garlic and chilli to taste. That’s it, but that’s what this dish is all about.
Crispy pork and prawn spring rolls – We then moved onto the filling for the pork and prawn spring rolls. This consisted of us chopping up lots of ingredients like carrots, chillies, garlic, mushrooms, shallots – all the good stuff. Into this mix we added minced pork and some diced prawns.
All of this was mixed together, and then we got to shape the spring rolls into little parcels to be fried for later. I was actually surprised at how easy it was to make and shape the spring rolls. I mean, they looked like spring rolls you’d get from a restaurant, so I was very pleased with that.
Bánh xèo with pork and prawn – Our next dish was making the bánh xèo. There were a lot of steps to this, so I won’t go into them all, but it was a really fun dish to make. At one point our teacher was shouting at us “crack the egg, crack the egg! Fry! Fry! Fry!”
It all came together at the end really nicely, and the pancake was actually crispy. Every time I’ve had them on the street the pancakes have been flobbly, but not here.
Once we had made those 3 dishes, we got to sit down and enjoy the fruits of our labour. As I said, all the food was so delicious. They were the best spring rolls I’ve ever had in Vietnam.
Just when we were nearing the end of our meal, our teacher got us up to the cooking area again where he explained what went into the pho, the beef noodle soup. Obviously this is a low and slow dish, one that takes hours to perfect, so it had been bubbling away in the background.
We finished off making the pho by adding in a few spices, lots of lime, and then loads of fresh ingredients like bamboo shoots, coriander and shiso leaves. Again, it was a cracking dish and the perfect way to end our cooking class.
How much did it cost?
How much do you reckon you’d pay for a cooking class like that? £50? £40? It was £17.50! I couldn’t believe how cheap it was. And that includes all food and transport too. Such a bargain, right?
I know there are a number of cooking classes in Hoi An, and I’m sure whichever one you choose will be just as good, but I can’t recommend this one enough. I really couldn’t fault it.
Where to book the tour
To make things easy for you, if you’re looking at booking this particular class, then you can do so using the button below. I hope that helps!
Are you heading to Hanoi? Then this is the blog post for you! – 14 Best Foods to Eat in Hanoi
As ever, if you have any questions about this tour or about Hoi An, let me know in the comments below. I’ll be sure to get back to you. But I really hope you enjoy this food tour as much as I did!
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