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Learning To Cook Classic Valencian Paella

Paella Cooking Class - Valencia, Spain - Robyn Around The World

Heading to Spain, there was one thing I knew I wanted to try. Paella! Originating in Valencia, I decided to make a trip down the coast and take a class to learn how to make the original Valencian Paella.

The first time I tried Paella was at one of my bride’s wedding that I was photographing. They both loved Spain and decided to serve Paella as their main course. I remember it containing mussels, clams, shrimp, and andouille sausage. So many different flavors that all mixed together really well.

Upon arriving in Valencia, I learned the original Paella, wasn’t seafood but made of chicken, rabbit, snails and four kinds of beans. A stark contrast to the seafood creations I’ve had.

MARKET TOUR

First up was a market tour at Mercado Central de Valencia where we purchased all the ingredients. We learned the best way to get the most flavor is for each piece of meat to have a bit of bone in it. We also went to purchase saffron and learned about the different qualities and the best one to use. This recipe also calls for four types of beans, FOUR! Each brings its unique flavor to the dish.

Paella Cooking Class - Valencia, Spain - Robyn Around The World

Paella Cooking Class - Valencia, Spain - Robyn Around The World

Paella Cooking Class - Valencia, Spain - Robyn Around The World

 

MAKING VALENCIAN PAELLA

Our teacher had us pair up in teams. Instead of showing us how to cook with us just watching, he talked us through it having use do each step of the process. Each team used a 16-inch diameter pan to create the dish. I thought it would be a lot for two people to finish, but we had no problem polishing it off, snails and all!

To make the dish, we first made the broth from scratch in the pan, then added ingredients with a few fun techniques that I explain in the recipe. After adding the rice and waited for the paella to finish we were served plenty of wine with mussels.

After our creations were complete, we went outside for an epic picture and then sat down to taste the results of our labor. Surprisingly everyone’s paella tasted different. We all used the same ingredients, but some may have used a little less or more salt or cooked their broth just a little bit longer or shorter. Just these little tweaks made a huge difference in flavor. All of them tasted really good!

Paella Cooking Class - Valencia, Spain - Robyn Around The World

Paella Cooking Class - Valencia, Spain - Robyn Around The World

Paella Cooking Class - Valencia, Spain - Robyn Around The World

Paella Cooking Class - Valencia, Spain - Robyn Around The World

Paella Cooking Class - Valencia, Spain - Robyn Around The World

When I make paella in the future, I know no two will ever taste the same. Now that I have the base for making paella I can branch out and create my own. I can make it with traditional meat, using local seafood, or creating an amazing vegetarian version. This recipe is one that doesn’t follow strict rules.

Paella Cooking Class - Valencia, Spain - Robyn Around The World

 

Check out the other cooking classes I’ve taken around the world:

International Cooking Classes

 

Paella Cooking Class - Valencia, Spain - Robyn Around The World

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Indian Cooking Class: Tastesutra, Delhi

 

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

One of the things I knew I wanted to do when I went to India was to take a Indian cooking class. I found Anchal through TripAdvisor and reached out to her a couple of months before I came. Her class was the one thing I was looking forward to after my whirlwind tour of the Golden Triangle. I took an auto rickshaw to her studio and walked up the stairs into her beautiful kitchen.

Her studio is painted with bright colors of blue and is welcoming soon as you set foot in the door decorated with things she personally upcycled. She made a beautiful mirror frame out of rolled up paper, and you will also find puzzles and needlework framed and on display on the walls. Anchal started the classes 22 months ago leaving her career in marketing to follow her passion for teaching others Indian cooking how to make traditional cuisine.

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

THE INDIAN KITCHEN

Although I was the only one who booked her class for the day, she agreed to do the class for me privately. I looked at our menu for the class and was excited to learn we’d be making eight dishes and sides! Salted Lassi (Chaas), Pakoras with chutney, Chicken Curry, Dal Tadka, Paneer Labadar, Roti, Rice, and Phirni. Anchal first went over all the spices. She mentioned every Indian family would have a spice box of 7-9 spices in their house. They keep small tins in a larger tin, instead of individual jars. They do this so the spices are readily available to use since most of them are used in all dishes they create. She went over medicinal properties of some of the spices and how they are used in each dish (Asafetida helps with stomach gas in lentil dishes!). She also said she grinds all her spices fresh from the whole spice then just puts them in a spice grinder to create her own spices. I’m going to try this instead of buying McCormick’s which will be a fresher way to make my own spices and probably cheaper?

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

INDIAN DISHES

We then started making the dishes. Because Indians make all their meals fresh (they don’t have leftovers that they put in the refrigerator) they use pressure cookers to speed up the process. The Paneer and Curry dish were made with the same ingredients of tomato and onion but cooked differently. The Paneer cooks the vegetables first then blends them, where the curry makes the vegetables into a puree first then cooks them. Two completely different flavors just by changing the way they’re cooked.

All the dishes were simple to make, just a lot of spices. But with the spice box readily available with everything you need in them, it makes for an easy task. After cooking all our dishes, we sat down to eat, and she showed me how to eat with my fingers. She told me the Indians eat with their finger for two reasons. First is because you are feeding with and to your heart. Second, it helps with portion control. You tend not to over eat and take smaller bites when you use your fingers. I love the story behind this, but in America, there are not many dishes that we could really do this with (Burgers anyone?).  But, I do love the history behind it none the less and ate my lunch sans fork and spoon.

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

MARKET TOUR

After our meal, Anchal took me on a market tour. Most of the market was closed because it was a Monday. It was nice to see it not full of people as I’ve seen all week long in the other parts of Delhi. It was such a great morning and so glad she made the exception to teach me. I’m looking forward to cooking her dishes at the next place I land that has a kitchen.

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

Cooking Class Details

Tastesutra

anchalbhalla@tastesutra.com

www.tastesutra.com

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

Check out the other cooking classes I’ve taken around the world:

International Cooking Classes

Indian Cooking Class -Tastesutra -Delhi, India -Robyn Around the World

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Cooking Filipino At Ven’z Kitchen

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

 

If you’ve been following along for a while you know, I love learning how to cook local food! Philippines is the 9th country in Southeast Asia where I’ve taken a class, and I fell on it by happenstance. I had planned to find a cooking school in Cebu City. When I arrived at the small diving town of Moalboal, I fell in love with one of the restaurants there (I ate there almost every day!). I saw they offered classes, so I inquired, and the owners gave me a private class!

Venus and Venisse run Ven’z Kitchen. Venisse is from Manila and worked in IT in Malaysia for four years. Venus is from Davao and worked as a pharmacist for five years before opening the business. Both of their passion is cooking, and they decided to take their passion and open a restaurant on Cebu. They found their space in Moalboal and opened in April 2016.

Their food is a mix of local staples like Adobo and Pancit, but also serve local flavor fusions making an array of vegan dishes for the non-meat eaters. You must try the banana heart salad. It tastes like tuna but is all vegetables and absolutely delicious.

MARKET TOUR

On the day of my class, Venisse took me to the market to pick up the ingredients for our dishes – Chicken Adobo, Pork Kare-Kare, and Ginataang Talong – and gave me a tour of the market. We picked up a coconut and had it shredded that would be used to make the coconut milk and cream for the Ginataang Talong. This was a treat to learn how to make, I’ve learned how to squeeze coconut milk from shredded coconut in Thailand and Indonesia, but this technique was different. They use the coconut meat, where the other countries use the meat and the flesh.
Back in the kitchen, Venus was waiting for me to explain the ingredients and talk me through how to make the dishes.

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

 

FILIPINO DISHES

The first thing we did was extract the milk and cream from the coconut. You take a small amount of water and squeeze it through the coconut shreds. This first press creates the coconut milk. We then added another small amount of water and pushed it through a strainer, which created the coconut milk. Honestly, as long as there is coconut around, I will never use boxed coconut milk or cream again! So easy and it doesn’t get fresher than this!
Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

After the coconut milk and cream were made we moved on to making the dishes. First was Chicken Adobo. You’d think these recipes would be so complicated to make, but they are very simple and packed with flavor. Adobo was the first dish I had at Ven’z, and the chicken just melts in your mouth with the savory sauce. The ingredient that surprised me? Ketchup! You don’t even know it’s in there!

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World
The second dish we made was Pork Kare-Kare. I have to say I was a little concerned when Venus put a beautiful piece of pork belly in boiling water. I was like, what is she doing to the pork?! I’ve always had pork belly roasted or sauteed; I thought boiling it would take away flavor and texture. I was sooooo wrong. The boiling made the belly even more tender than it already is. We used the broth the pork was cooked in to make the sauce and just brought out all the flavors of this dish that just melts in your mouth. I can’t wait to try this one at home!

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

The last dish we made was Ginataang Talong, eggplant in spicy coconut sauce. This is where we used the coconut milk and cream to make the sauce. Such a simple dish with a nice spicy kick.

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World
After all the dishes had been complete, I sat at their bar table and ate my labor of love. I stuffed myself silly trying to finish all the dishes. One of my favorite cooking classes to date!

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The World

 

Check out the other cooking classes I’ve taken around the world:

International Cooking Classes

Ven'z Kitchen - Moalboal, Philippines -Filippino Cooking Classes - Robyn Around The WorldPin it for later!




Learning To Cook Malaysia’s Beef Rendang

 

Learning to cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

 

I’ve been in Southeast Asia for two years, and my favorite food is Malaysian. Especially the street food. I’ve been holding out taking a cooking class here because I really wanted to find a place that teaches the street food. I haven’t been able to find a class, so I finally broke down and took a class at a school I’ve been eyeing over the past year and decided to learn Beef Rendang. I’m so glad I took this class! I’ve made Beef Rendang before, but have used store bought spice packets. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to learn how to make it! Fairly simple, just A LOT of steps. No more pre-made spice packets for me!

MARKET TOUR

I’ve been on market tours for most of the classes I’ve taken. I loved that this tour started with breakfast. We had a roti with tea before we walked through the market. Ana, the owner of LaZat Cooking School, walked us through the proper way to make a roti and the different kinds you can find in Southeast Asia. We then walked through and learned about all the ingredients we’d be using in the class. I love market tours, and even though I’ve already been, I learned a few new things in each which makes me never want to skip one when they’re offered.

Learning To Cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class - Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

Learning To Cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class - Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

Learning To Cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class - Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

Learning To Cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class - Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

Learning To Cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class - Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

Learning To Cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class - Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

AUTHENTIC MALAY DISHES

I signed up for the Authentic Malay course. This class is only offered on Saturday mornings because making Beef Rendang takes time. We learned how to make three dishes Beef Rendang, Acur Timun, and Kuih Koci.

First up was Beef Rendang! It’s not very complicated to make; there’s just a lot of steps and A LOT of waiting. This dish is so worth the time to do from scratch. The secret is being patient.

The second dish we made was Kuih Koci, a rice ball dessert. I’ve made a form of these before in Cambodia, but they weren’t nearly as good as these! Kuih Koci is coconut, palm sugar balls that are wrapped in rice dough then covered in a coconut glaze and steamed. I’m not a big sweet person, but these are pretty amazing and best when eaten right out of the steamer.

Our last dish was Acur Timun, which is a cucumber and carrot salad cooked in a fish paste. I wouldn’t have thought to cook the carrots and cucumbers but just heating it through to where it’s still crunchy but warm gives it a surprisingly good flavor. This side dish went really well with the Beef Rendang. The spiciness of the rendang perfectly complements the sour and sweet taste of the Acur Timun.

I loved making all three dishes and will definitely make them when I get to a place that has a kitchen for me to cook in. This was my favorite class so far!

Learning To Cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class - Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

Learning To Cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class - Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

Learning To Cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class - Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

Learning To Cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class - Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

Learning To Cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class - Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

Learning To Cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class - Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

 

Check out the other cooking classes I’ve taken around the world:

International Cooking Classes

 

 

Learning to cook Beef Rendang - LaZat Cooking Class Kuala Lumpur - Robyn Hartzell

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Weekend In Koh Mak

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

 

Koh Mak is a small island off Southeast Thailand, a 35-minute speedboat ride from Trat. Koh Mak has a unique history in that five families own the island. These families inhabit 80% of the land. Mainland locals and foreigners run the other 20%. Koh Mak wasn’t open to tourism until 1974 but really started targeting tourists in the late 1980’s. Unlike other islands like Phuket, the families have agreed not to allow tourism to grow too big. There are only 25 resorts on the island, allowing only 600 people, which keeps the tourist numbers low. The family’s primary goal is to keep work, life balance while also sharing their beautiful island to others.

Koh Mak is a green island, which they brand as low-carbon. Starting the movement in 2007, all the streetlights are run by solar power along with many of the resorts and restaurants. You will see many bikes for rent on the street as the island is only 16 square kilometers (6 square miles) and is best seen by bicycle with its accessible roads.

Surrounded by 27 Km (16 miles) of beautiful coastal beaches, you’ll have your pick of a private oasis to hang out and swim. The island also has a coconut and rubber tree plantation. Drinking coconut water is a daily staple of the locals and tourists alike. There’s nothing like sipping a coconut, cut fresh from the tree.

While I was there, I took a tour with Royal Silk Holiday and got a feel for how the locals live and how they stay green.

KOH MAK MUSEUM

The first place we stopped was the Koh Mak Museum, which is run by one of the five families. The owner gave a history of Koh Mak and showed us the family tree. He also explained how important it is to him and the other four families to not bring in too much tourism to keep a healthy balance. Koh Mak being champions of the low-carbon movement, are continually looking for ways to make their island green.

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

 

KOH MAK SEAFOOD

Next to the museum is a seafood restaurant that runs solely on solar power. They get all their seafood from local fisherman and serve only fresh fish that was caught on the day. The fish are kept in nets and containers in the water to stay in their natural environment, instead of tanks.

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

 

CASTAWAY

The second day we did an activity called ‘Castaway.’ It started off taking a 2-hour solar powered boat ride to the island of Koh Kradad. Here we learned how to open a coconut by hand just using the edge of a tree to open. We then learned how to make a fire using magnesium sticks, then cooked bamboo rice over the fire. This was such a fun activity, and I will totally be showing off my coconut opening skills to friends and family in the future!

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

 

COOKING COMPETITION

After our day on the island, we went over to the island’s organic farm which produces 70% of the vegetables for the island. Here is where we had a friendly food competition where we made Som Tom (Papaya Salad), a green salad, and spring rolls. After getting a tour of the farm, we went through and picked all the ingredients we needed for our dishes. We then created them to be judged by our three tour guides. In the end, each tour guide chose a separate dish they liked so in the end, we all won!

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

 

KAYAKING

On our last day, we went kayaking to the private island of Koh Rayang Nok. The island was purchased 30 years ago for $50,000 and is now on the market for a mere $6 Million. Any takers?

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

I really enjoyed all the activities on tour. The island is great if you’re looking to get away from the party islands and just want a quiet weekend to enjoy the beach.

 

Koh Mak Island, Thailand - Robyn Around the World

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I’d like to thank Royal Silk Holidays and DASTA for sponsoring me on their low carbon tour of Koh Mak. As always all opinions are my own.




Cooking Burmese: Pennywort’s Cooking Class




Burmese Cooking Class - Bagan - Pennywort's - Robyn Around the World

Who wants to learn how to make Tea Leaf Salad? Me, please! Sign me up! Northern Myanmar’s signature dish mixed with so many flavors; you’d think this simple dish took all day to make. Coming to Myanmar, I knew I wanted to take a class. I buffered in extra time in Bagan, so I could learn how to make Tea Leaf Salad and other Burmese classics.


SHOPPING AT THE MARKET


They’re only a couple classes that teach classes. I went with Penny Worts. May is the owner and met my friend near the market and me to start our day. What I loved is she asked us what we’d like to make. She planned salad and curry but asked us what kind we wanted to learn. Of course, I said Tea Leaf then decided to learn a chicken curry. We walked through the market, and she talked about the ingredients we would be using. After shopping, we went to a proper tea shop for a drink then headed back to her house to learn how to cook Burmese.

Burmese Cooking Class - Bagan - Pennywort's - Robyn Around the World

Burmese Cooking Class - Bagan - Pennywort's - Robyn Around the World

Burmese Cooking Class - Bagan - Pennywort's - Robyn Around the World


LEARNING TO COOK BURMESE


May set-up the kitchen while we started peeling and chopping the vegetables. The agenda was three salads and two curries.

Tea Leaf Salad – Using real tea leaves and lots of crunchy nuts
Cucumber Salad – A simple yet refreshing salad
Tamarind Salad – My second favorite salad
Chicken Curry – Slow-cooked in a hearty and savory sauce
Chickpea Tofu Curry – An amazing tofu in a thick tomato curry sauce

All the dishes were simple to make. The salads use many ingredients when mixed give them the complex flavors that burst in your mouth with each bite.

Burmese Cooking Class - Bagan - Pennywort's - Robyn Around the World

Burmese Cooking Class - Bagan - Pennywort's - Robyn Around the World

Who knew there was such a thing as chickpea tofu? I didn’t, and it’s my new favorite tofu. I won’t be going back to soybean tofu anytime soon!

Burmese Cooking Class - Bagan - Pennywort's - Robyn Around the World

Burmese Cooking Class - Bagan - Pennywort's - Robyn Around the World

All the cooking was done on a clay-cooking stove heated by wood. I’ve only seen this type of cooking in Laos and really like this style.

Burmese Cooking Class - Bagan - Pennywort's - Robyn Around the World

Burmese Cooking Class - Bagan - Pennywort's - Robyn Around the World

After we were done making everything, May put a spread out on the table of all the things we cooked along with a few other dishes her family prepared for us. It was so much food and the best meal I had in Myanmar!

Burmese Cooking Class - Bagan - Pennywort's - Robyn Around the World


Gioan Cooking School – Cooking Vietnamese!



Cooking Vietnamese - Gioan Cooking Class

If you haven’t guessed yet, I love cooking and am obsessed with taking classes in each country I visit. Out of all the classes I’ve taken, I was super excited to get to Vietnam and learn how to make Pho and one of my favorite dishes Banh Xeo. There’s something about Vietnamese food that has that comfort food quality to it, along with being so flavorful. I loved all the dishes I ate in Vietnam, they were light, not heavy and filling. I won’t have a place with a kitchen for a while, but I’m excited to cook these dishes when I get to a place that does!


MARKET TOUR


Like most cooking classes in Southeast Asia, our morning started with a market tour to learn about the produce and pick up ingredients for the class. Most of the vegetables that I’ve seen in Southeast Asia were the same, but Vietnam has this whole section of herbs that they use as a topping for their soups and dishes. Herbs they use in most recipes are lemon basil, hung mint, rice patty, wild betel, bitter herb, and coriander. These are usually served on the side for you to add as much or as little as you like to your dish.

Cooking Vietnamese - Gioan Cooking Class

Cooking Vietnamese - Gioan Cooking Class


COOKING VIETNAMESE


There are many places offering cooking classes. We decided to do a class in Hoi An and picked Gioan Cooking school because of the private classes. It was just the two of us, and we were able to pick the time and which four dishes we wanted to learn. Our teacher, Vina, has been with the school for eight years and was very entertaining singing American pop songs throughout the class. The four dishes we picked to learn how to make were:

Pho – Noodle Soup with beef
Banh Xeo – Pancake with shrimp and pork
Fresh Spring Rolls – Vegetables, shrimp, and pork wrapped in rice paper
Clay-Pot – Pork marinated and cooked in a thick savory sauce

Cooking Vietnamese - Gioan Cooking Class

The kitchen had a typical gas stove for cooking and utensils you would find in your western home. We used a large frying pan to make the pancake and sauce pot to make the Pho. I liked how simple everything was to make. The spices they use is what give Vietnamese food their tasty flavor. All of their flavors come from using fresh herbs.

Cooking Vietnamese - Gioan Cooking Class

Cooking Vietnamese - Gioan Cooking Class

After taking this class, Banh Xeo is still my favorite dish! I love that the pancake is light and crispy. Not to mention its fun to take rice paper and herbs to wrap the pancake up. Dip it in chili sauce and this dish is a tasty treat as an appetizer or main meal. I can’t wait to make this recipe on my own!

Cooking Vietnamese - Gioan Cooking Class

Cooking Vietnamese - Gioan Cooking Class


15 Must Eat Street Eats In Vietnam



Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!

Vietnam quickly topped my charts of best eats in Southeast Asia with their amazing noodle dishes! Every dish they make has a variety of rice noodle/paper in it. Even served on the side with many of the dishes. Here are 15 must-try street eats in Vietnam!


PHO


You can’t go to Vietnam without getting Pho! I took a cooking class and learned how to make this simple yet yummy dish! It’s a basic rice noodle soup with your choice of protein in a beef broth, served with a side of herbs and chili to create your own flavor.

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


BAHN MI


Another staple of Vietnam, they eat these for breakfast or lunch. Breakfast the roll is served with eggs and vegetables on the side to create your own breakfast hoagie. Lunch is where it’s at, though! These warm rolls were stuffed with pate, vegetables and meat then chili and mayonnaise are drizzled on top. The best place I had one was at Queen Bahn Mi in Hoi An!

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


BAHN XEO


I loved this dish! It’s a super thin rice flour pancake stuffed with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts. It’s cooked to crispy then served with rice paper, herbs, and chili sauce. To eat you take a piece of rice paper and add a bit of the pancake with herbs, roll and dip in chili sauce. Delicious!

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


BAHN BO – WHITE ROSE


This simple snack is made of rice paper stuffed with minced pork and made into the shape of a rose and boiled then topped with fried shallots. It reminds me of a wonton, but with more flavor.

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


BUN CHA


Bun Cha is what Obama ate with Anthony Bourdain when they were in Vietnam together. This dish is famous in Hanoi, but you can also find it in Saigon. A bowl of both grilled pork patties and sliced pork is served alongside a plate of rice noodles, herbs, garlic, and chili. The pork is very tender and slightly sweet, but adding it to the noodles with all the other condiments you can create your own flavor and make it more savory. Bun Cha my second favorite dish in Vietnam and I ate at the same place that Obama and Bourdain ate Bun Cha.

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


BUN BO


This party in a bowl starts with rice vermicelli then is topped with lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts, beef slices, peanuts, grilled onions and green onions. Oh, wait there’s more! Who wants a fried pork spring roll to go on top? Yes, please!

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


BUN KHOT


Mini, bite-sized pancakes are made in a pan that looks like a mini cupcake tin. The batter is placed into each then stuffed with scallions and a single shrimp. The top is covered to both steam and cook the pancake which is then served with leafy greens on the side to wrap them up and pop in your mouth.

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!

 


BUN MAM


Found in Hanoi this fermented fish soup, yes you read correctly, is pretty darn tasty! It reminds me a bit of gumbo with its mixture of eggplant, pork belly, shrimp, and chunks of fish. This thick, hearty, spicy broth is served over rice vermicelli with a side of herbs, not that it needs anything else!

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


BO LA LOT


Pork fatty goodness! This little roll of fun starts with a minced pork mixture then is wrapped up in wild leaves before deep fried and served either plain or topped with tomato sauce. Both ways melt in your mouth.

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


CAO LAU


Only served in Hoi An, this traditional dish is known for it’s Cao Lau noodles and is made by one family in Hoi An. They are warmed in a bowl then topped with herbs, pork slices and fried pork skin with a little bit of pork juice poured over top. The best Cao Lau I tasted is at Central Market.

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


CHA CA


This fun dish is fish sautéed with a healthy portion of scallions and dill cooked in a pan on your table by your server. Once cooked you create a small bowl with rice noodles, cilantro, peanuts, fish sauce and the fish mix. This would be a really fun night out with friends! I made friends with the family at the table next to me and winded up doing whiskey shots with them!

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


CLAYPOT


As the name suggests, is vegetables or meat simmered on the stovetop in a clay pot. The broth is simmered with the main ingredient until it dissolves into a thick broth then served over rice.

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


MI QUANG


Another noodle dish that starts with lettuce at the bottom of the bowl then topped with thick rice noodles, marinated pork slices, peanuts, grilled onions and a quail egg. Mi Quang another staple in Hoi An.

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


CAFÉ TRUNG – EGG COFFEE


This sugary treat is thick and tastes like a sugar stick. It’s Vietnamese drip coffee topped with eggs whipped with a healthy portion of sugar. It’s so thick you drink eat your coffee with a spoon.

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


FRESH SPRING ROLL


Another staple of Vietnam is the fresh spring roll. Rice paper wrapped with vegetables, rice noodles, and pork then decorated with shrimp slices in the final fold. So fresh and served with a side of chili sauce for dipping.

Vietnam Street Food - 15 Must Eat Street Eats!


Cooking Cambodian: Beyond Unique Escapes




Cambodian Cooking Class - Siem Reap

As you can probably tell by now, I try to take a cooking class in each country I go to. So far I’ve taken classes in Bali, Laos, and Thailand. When I found out Beyond Unique Escapes did a half day course and taught 2 of the three famous dishes here for only $24, I signed up! I looked on Trip Advisor, and there were many companies that came up, but this one was in the top ten, the right dishes and at the right price! I signed up online, and a tuk-tuk came and picked me up at my hotel the morning of and dropped me off after at no additional charge.

THE CLASS

They offer two classes, one in the morning and one in the evening, or you can combine the two and make a full day out of it. After the tuk-tuk had picked me up, he took me to the office to pay (they take your card online but don’t charge it) then we went off about a 15-minute drive from the center of town to a small village where the cooking venue is out in the rural part of town. It was nice to show up and have our guide walk us through the village and meet a family to interact with them and see how they live and cook. As a token of gratitude, we (the school) offered the man of the house 2Kg of rice. I thought that was a small amount to give while allowing strangers into your home, but the school visits them almost every day, so I guess the rice will never be wasted while also being plentiful. The villagers were happy to see us and smiling and willing to answer any questions and take pictures. There was a girl in the kitchen peeling garlic and a cute little girl playing outside.

Cambodian Cooking Class - Siem Reap

THE DISHES

After our tour of the village, we went back to the cooking school where we each had our own station to make three dishes: Fish Amok, Green Mango Salad with Chicken, and Sticky Rice Balls. With only a class of 9 (they take up to 10) it was very intimate and fun!

Cambodian Cooking Class - Siem Reap

Cambodian Cooking Class - Siem Reap

We first learned the Fish Amok and chopped all the ingredients ourselves and made the dish up until the last piece where you add a raw egg in at the end; they did that for us. There were no recipes given out, but I took good notes so I can replicate the dishes later. This was my favorite dish!

Cambodian Cooking Class - Siem Reap

Cambodian Cooking Class - Siem Reap

Although I came to learn the Fish Amok, it was great to find out how to make the Green Mango Salad too! All over Southeast Asia you’ll find Papaya and Mango Salads that are to die for! This salad didn’t disappoint, and now that I know the techniques and what’s in the dressing I can change it up to make it spicier, sweeter, or sourer.

Cambodian Cooking Class - Siem Reap

Cambodian Cooking Class - Siem Reap

The last dish we learned was a sticky rice ball dessert. None of us had high hopes for it as all it consisted of was the dough which was glutinous rice flour and water, then the filling was a chunk of palm sugar. I thought maybe the palm sugar would be enough to bring the flavor out, but it was just a hint of sugar in the ball. Basically, you roll a small piece of dough in the palm of your hand then make a little divot in it and add the piece of sugar then pull up the dough around it and form back into a ball. Then you boil them and drop into the cold water to stop the cooking and eat cold. I wanted the sugar to be more prominent, but all I tasted was bland rice flour with a hint of sugar. I think if you made the balls thinner/smaller and added more sugar or even coated the outside of the ball with toasted coconut or sugar they’d taste better. I’ll have to experiment with it.

Cambodian Cooking Class - Siem Reap

I really enjoyed this class, the only other dish I wish I could have learned how to make was Lok Lak, it’s a beef dish marinated in a pepper sauce and served with a fried egg and rice. So good I had it three times while I was there!


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