Aug 31 2011
While many visitors to Vietnam elect to take a cookery course in Hoi An, where there are plenty of ad hoc, cheap alternatives, Hanoi also offers cooking school options worthy of consideration (aside from its great street food tours).
First up is Hanoi Cooking Centre, which was set up by Australian Tracey Lister. Tracey used to be chef trainer at Koto (Know One Teach One) and is co-author of the Koto cookery book Koto – A Culinary Journey through Vietnam and the upcoming Vietnamese Street Food to be published in Australia and the UK.
Classes run in the mornings and early evenings with different themes rotated across the sessions. Themes cover Hanoi and the northern highlands, food from the coast, Vietnamese street food, spring rolls, barbecues and salads. All courses cost US$50 (1,050,000 VND).
There are also classes covering Western cuisine, taught in Vietnamese, and kids’ classes on occasional afternoons. Check the schedule on the website.
Hanoi Cooking Centre is based on Chau Long, near Truc Bach Lake, and has a lovely courtyard café attached as well as being next to Bookworm — so there’s plenty of reasons to visit then.
As well as its street food tours and language classes, Hidden Hanoi also provides cooking courses, held at their purpose-built kitchens on Nghi Tam. All recipes have been developed by Hidden Hanoi and use ingredients that can be found in Asian grocery stores internationally, meaning you’ll be able to replicate them back home.
They aim to teach people about Vietnamese culture as well as cooking, looking at for instance the traditional Vietnamese kitchen, rice and its cultural significance and Vietnamese spices and markets, among other topics.
The first person to book each course gets to choose the menu for the day – so get in there early! Courses cost US$40 or US$50 including a market tour.
Old Hanoi is a well-known restaurant in Hanoi – re-opened in 2010 by none other than Gordon Ramsey – and its chefs run well-rated morning and afternoon classes. For US$40 you’ll get a market visit and hands-on cooking experience, or opt for a private class here for US$60.
Finally, Koto, a scheme for disadvantaged youths, offers four different courses, each including five dishes. Choose from Traditional Hanoi Street Food, Spring Class, The Art of Pho and Strictly Vegetarian. All classes include a local market tour and you’ll leave with a Koto apron, a full recipe folder and pen and a certificate of completion as well as the knowledge gained from the course. Prices range from US$35 to US$42 depending upon the course selected.
Old Hanoi Restaurant
4 Ton That Thiep, Hanoi
T: (04) 3747 8337
59 Van Mieu Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3747 0337
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