Our five cyclos (xe xích lô in Vietnamese) rumbled through Hue’s buzzing streets towards Bến Ngự market. These three-wheeled bicycle taxis appeared in Vietnam in the 1930’s and are still a transportation option in some parts of the country.
We were often single-file in our individual cyclos, like ducklings following their mother. Instead, we were behind the cyclo carrying Chef Thuy from La Residence Hue Hotel and Spa. She was leading us to Bến Ngự market. Here we would learn about Vietnamese food products and shop before returning to La Residence Hue Hotel and Spa for a Vietnamese cooking class.
Bến Ngự Market Experience
After climbing out of our rickety cyclos, we followed Chef Thuy into Bến Ngự market. We edged around locals purchasing their daily groceries, stopping to sniff pungent turmeric, touch prickly rambutan, and trade smiles with the female vendors. One glance at my son’s saucer-like eyes said it all – this market was an authentic experience and exactly what we search for when we travel.
Before returning to the La Residence Hue cooking class, we shopped for produce at the stall that supplies the hotel. The boys learnt how to select their favourite fruit and purchased a few items.
A Taste of Hue – La Residence Hue Cooking Class
Back at La Residence Hue Hotel and Spa, we proceeded to La Parfum restaurant to cook. We had selected three items – creamy Hue style seafood soup (Sup Hai San), translucent steamed rice rolls (Bánh Cuốn) made with fresh rice paper (noodles and rice paper are made daily in this part of the world), and fragrant traditional Vietnamese pancakes (Bánh Xèo).
Some classes are more of a demonstration where the chef cooks while you watch, but this was not the case at the La Residence Hue cooking class. Dressed in aprons, and chef hats, we sautéed, folded, and sprinkled before sitting down to a beautifully set table and flavourful Vietnamese lunch.
I often arrange cooking classes when we travel as a family because I believe it is an excellent way to learn about a culture. The entire family agreed that the La Residence Hue cooking class and market experience was the best one yet.
Travel Tips La Residence Hue Cooking Class
- La Residence Hue cooking class participants select the items they want to cook from an extensive list in advance of the class
- The 2.5-hour cooking class and market tour cost 5,590,000 Vietnamese Dong for four people.
- We spent three days exploring Hue, Vietnam from our base at the lovely M Gallery La Residence Hue Hotel and Spa – I recommend this luxurious riverside property and will write more about it this month.
Do you attend cooking classes at home or when you travel?