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Hanoi Cooking Centre Cooking Class

Hanoi Cooking Centre

Before even arriving in Vietnam I already knew I loved summer rolls. Fresh veggies, noodles and meat or shrimp all bundled in a rice paper wrapper to be dipped in a fish sauce based dipping sauce = perfection. So when I found the Hanoi Cooking Centre as being top rated cooking class on trip advisor AND offering spring roll themed cooking classes, I booked a class without hesitation.

Another solo cooking class outing for me (Dave spent the afternoon napping in the hotel). I hopped in a cab and a $2 ride across the city later I was there.

Welcome cup of tea

I was greeted by a friendly host and led into the courtyard for a cup of tea before the class started where I noticed that the charming building doubles as both a restaurant and a cooking school. With only one other couple in attendance we had an intimate cooking group.

cutting daikon

Our young Vietnamese chef Lin, started with an introduction into the class, the types of spring rolls we would be making, and their differences. With essentially limitless filling ingredients and opportunities, we would be creating four spring rolls along with a dipping sauce.

mixing  spring rolls

After first watching Lin demonstrate how to cut the ingredients and assemble the rolls we set off to work. We started with the pork and crab spring rolls, with quite the extensive list of ingredients and slowly put them together to make the perfect, round shape. Surprisingly, we only lightly dampened the rice paper with water – simply using our fingers instead of running hot water over the rice paper as I had done before in the US.

Tuna Rolls in the making

This way was significantly easier and less time consuming. We carefully fried our spring rolls all together and set them aside to be fried a second time right before eating (this is the secret to the ubber crispy rolls).

From there we made the seafood rolls – more of a fusion of Vietnamese and French cuisine with the addition of mayonnaise and bread crumbs. The rice paper we used for these was machine made and you could tell as you couldn’t see the imprint of the bamboo drying racks on the rice paper itself. This rice paper seemed even thinner and smoother than the traditional rice paper and we set aside the rolls for frying later.

Lacy Tuna Rolls

From there we went on to make my favorite of them all – the lacy spring rolls with tuna. This rice paper was unlike any other I had seen before. It was “lacy” – slightly resembling the pattern that funnel cake batter makes in the pan, except thinner and more delicate of course.

Ingredients for Tuna Rolls

These rolls particularly intrigued me – tuna, carrot, shallots, fresh herbs and these magical looking rice paper wrapper? A match made in heaven I tell you. We lightly pan fried them in a dash of oil just to get the tuna cooked through.

Hue spring rolls

Finishing up the spring roll saga – the Hue spring rolls. These were served fresh, in bite sized sections with a sprinkling of pickled prawns and pork on top.

And then of course there was the dipping sauce. A simple set of ingredients – fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and chili whisked together becomes the perfect accompaniment to the spring rolls themselves.

Before we sat down to enjoy the spring roll feast we had created we headed over to the market. Since our class started in the afternoon the market was closed for break time but luckily by the time we were done cooking it was up and running again.

market tour

Lin took us around pointing out various vegetables, noodles, sauces and meat. He showed us the different fish sauces, explaining how they differ and which ones are considered the best (the first pressed ones). We watched the vendors carrying on their business without even noticing Lin picking up produce here and there to let us smell the fresh earthy herbs or marvel at the size and shape of some of the veggies. Luckily there were no cats or dogs this time.

On our way back to the cooking school we passed by a lady selling jackfruit and Lin bought some for all of us to try, as I had mentioned that I have never seen this fruit prior to our trip to Vietnam.

Jackfruit

With jackfruit as an appetizer and four courses of spring rolls to follow, dinner was a feast and we enjoyed it in the charming setting of the second floor cafe area. After two glass of beer (included in the class) to wash it all down I was stuffed.

Spring Roll Feast

Each spring roll was unlike the rest and a combination between traditional recipes and flavors with eclectic fusion cuisine. While the other couple shared their meal, I ate double in Dave’s absence.

Overall I enjoyed my cooking class with Lin from Hanoi Cooking Centre and would recommend it to those interested in learning more about Vietnamese food. We emailed several cooking classes but ultimately went with Hanoi Cooking Centre on account of its high rating on Trip Advisor. If springs rolls don’t interest you there are also street food cooking classes, barbeque, vegan, and even street food tours. Guess I’ll have to save those for next time.

Note: In exchange for this review we received a partial discount, however, all views expressed are entirely our own.

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2 Responses to Hanoi Cooking Centre Cooking Class

  1. Yum! I still have yet to take a cooking class (maybe I’m saving myself for Vietnam where I’ll take all the classes?!?), but I too love spring rolls… and pretty much any Vietnamese dish I have ever had. I’m so glad that the food did not disappoint and that you guys had such a good time. This class really looks great and it’s nice that they taught you some more unusual rolls as well as the classics!

    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) January 4, 2013 at 8:54 AM Reply
  2. I love eating and cooking, especially Asian food, so I don’t know why I’ve never taken a cooking class in Asia before! This looks like a lovely day out.

    If you go to Kanchanaburi in Thailand, look into the Apple Retreat cooking class. We ate there several times and it was the best food in Thailand. We couldn’t do a class as it was 40 degrees in April with no aircon in the restaurant and we had Reuben with us. We did buy their cookbook and pump Noi the owner for information on Thai cooking at every meal!!!

    http://applesguesthouse.com/

    Bethaney - Flashpacker Family January 5, 2013 at 3:13 AM Reply

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