Vietnamese food is renowned for being one of the best and healthiest cuisines in the world. Incorporating a cooking class into your Vietnam itinerary is the best way to learn in depth about Vietnamese cuisine. You can simultaneously learn cooking skills and Vietnamese culture, for the food is a large part of the culture.
- Shop at local markets, and visit a farm or a plant-nursery with an experienced guide
- Learn about the fresh ingredients which are most used in Vietnam
- Make new friends who, like you, are traveling around the world
- Create beautiful memories with your loved ones
- Enjoy tasting your own cooking
- Bring some recipes back home to share with family and friends
- Learn about the culture of Vietnamese cuisine
Why You Should Take a Cooking Class in Vietnam
Cooking is recommended as a special activity, distinct from other more traditional sightseeing. You’ll fill your stomach, as well as finding out about cooking and ingredients during the class.
An excellent way to spend quality time and create memories
You can enjoy living in the present by participating in this activity. Shopping for ingredients in the local market, following the chef’s instructions and making a meal back in the kitchen, and finally devouring your own creation once it is ready, all make for a pleasant time!
A chance to interact with local people and other travelers
Almost every class includes a tour of the local market, one of the best places for experiencing local life and connecting with locals. You can even bargain with the locals while shopping. In joining in cooking classes, you have a chance to get to know other travelers.
Learn about the ingredients and how to cook Vietnamese cuisine
You will see many kinds of meat, vegetables, seafood, fruit and spice in the market. Your guide will explain the ones you are not familiar with, which are popular in Vietnam. The chef will show you how to make the dishes in the Vietnamese way, from handling to cooking.
What Cooking Class Is Like in Vietnam
No matter what kind of class you take, you will find out more about the fresh ingredients and essential herbs mostly used in Vietnam. The chef will demonstrate step by step how to cook the traditional dishes.
Most classes have fixed programs and menus each day. If you are interested in some particular recipes or skills, you may need to schedule a particular day. A private class is for up to 6 people, while group classes are usually designed for between 16 and 20 people.
Every cooking class involves roughly the same process, as follows:
- Gather together at a certain point and time.
- Stroll through the local market, where you can see people buying and selling. You can also be part of the buying experience.
- Your guide leads the way to shop for the necessary ingredients and to introduce you to many kinds of food in the market.
- Back in the kitchen, the chef demonstrates step by step the process of cooking the dishes.
- Make your own dishes following the chef’s instructions.
- Taste your own meal.
Top Places for Cooking Class in Vietnam
Cuisine in Vietnam is different from region to region. The country is divided into northern, central and southern regions. Different kinds of pho are famous in Hanoi; seafood is popular in the central coastal region, where people prefer strong spices; river fish and sweeter food are preferred by people in the south.
Hanoi cuisine is generally northern-style. The food tastes light and is not as strong in flavor as that from central and southern Vietnam, due to the cooler climate which limits the planting of spices. Pork, chicken, vegetables and pho are most popular.
Recommended Cooking Class — Blue Butterfly
The Blue Butterfly serves modern cuisine of high quality, but employs the basic values of authentic Vietnamese cooking, embodying the five elements of metal, wood, fire, water and earth. This hands-on class teaches you how to use basic ingredients to cook authentic Vietnamese food.
The daily cooking class with a small group of between 2 and 10 people offers a fixed program of four popular dishes, with all the challenges of prepping, cleaning, chopping, slicing, shredding and cooking the raw ingredients, under the guidance of experienced chefs. Detailed recipes and a certificate are presented to participants at the end.
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
15:30 pm – 19:00 pm
US$ 55 per person
Vietnamese Traditional Rice Noodles with Beef Soup
Hanoi Deep Fried Spring Rolls
Hanoi Grilled Pork Balls with Vermicelli
Hue is located in mountainous terrain, affording good conditions for growing an abundance of spices. People there eat more spicy food than in other regions. The dishes are decorative and colorful, a legacy of the royal-court-style cuisine, as Hue was the capital of the last dynasty.
There is a must-try food list in Hue, which is noble and delicate: bun bo Hue (Hue beef noodle soup is the traditional one), com hen (mussel rice with a variety of herbs and a spicy flavor) and banh Hue (Hue cake, with many different flavors, according to the many kinds of possible ingredients).
Recommended Cooking Class — Taste of Hue
Taste of Hue is more about teaching you knowledge of history and culture in Hue by trying the locals’ daily routines yourself. The menu is believed to be very similar to the one served to royalty in years gone by.
Being picked up by motorbike from your hotel, you can enjoy the view, farm and animals on your way to the kitchen in Thanh Toan Village. This is perfect if you love the peaceful life outside the city.
9.30 am – 1.30 pm
2.00 pm – 6.00 pm
45 US$ per adult
32 US$ per child
10 people maximum
Seafood, fish sauces, and chili peppers are part of the daily diet in Hoi An. It’s easy to find restaurants serving fusion food like Western and Vietnamese food.
Recommended Cooking Class — Red Bridge
Red Bridge Cooking Class has a half-day class which has already been going for 10 years and is listed in all the major guidebooks. The menu includes essential dishes which are easy enough even for beginners.
Get on board for a nice 25-minute boat-ride along the river to the cooking school. By exploring the school’s private herb garden, you can learn more about herbs, which are a crucial element in the cuisine’s unique flavor.
If you book for this, please consider adding US$ 2 to support the school’s charity, which is a good way of helping the locals via your travels. In addition to cooking skills, there is a brief introduction to Vietnamese plate decoration or food carving, and a chance to enjoy the 20-metre swimming pool.
8.15 am to 1 pm every day of the year
US$ 33 per person
Fresh rice paper shrimp rolls
Crispy Hoi An pancakes with shrimp, herbs, bean sprouts & peanut sauce
Seafood salad with mixed Vietnamese herbs served in half a pineapple
Quang nam style fresh noodles with chicken
Food decoration – pineapple boat, 3-colored flowers & Vietnamese hand-fan
Private Session or Join-in Class
Special experiences will be created during either a private session or a join-in class. They have pretty much the same agenda: meet with your guide and start the market tour, learn the cooking process with the chef, try making the dishes on your own and then eat your own meal.
Comparison Between Private Class and Join-in Class
|Size of the Class
||Allows 4 to 6 people
||Allows 15 to 20 people
||You can choose dishes to cook and influence the class pace. You have the chef’s full attention and more time to communicate with him/her.
||Only some fixed menus that don’t require much time to cook, but you’ll have better interaction with fellow travelers.
||Private return transfer between your hotel and the meeting point
||You are picked up at a pre-designated location and time, sharing a shuttle bus with others.
The Asia Highlights Experience
To meet each client’s demands and for a better experience, we carefully selected some cooking schools in the main cities of Vietnam with which to co-operate. We inspected some of them. Our travel consultants will recommend what is most suitable for your needs.
Asia Highlights’ arrangements for your cooking class will feature:
We offer a private vehicle to transfer you between cooking class and your hotel or other preferred location.
The ideal size for a cooking class will be less than 6 people. Each of the participants will be well cared-for by the chef and you will be able to concentrate more clearly on the cooking.
You can bring this authentic local flavor back home with an easy cooking procedure and with ingredients you can find at your local supermarket.
Giving Back to the Local Community
We select good classes run locally, which allows you to be part of work that helps the local community. And you may even understand the situation in Vietnam more deeply than the food, by talking with those local friends.
Explore Asia with Asia Highlights
At Asia Highlights we offer tailor-made tours through Asia, where you can enjoy all highlights as well as amazing cultural experiences. To get started, send us an email.