Let’s be clear. I am no cook! I burn water and normally any dish that I even glance at will be destined for the dust bin. I am the kitchen Grinch.
It’s not actually that I don’t like cooking, it’s just that I’m bad at it. It’s a detail thing. I loathe details. Always have and always will. Recipes and I have never gotten on. Turns out replacing 300 grams with “that’ll do” doesn’t end well.
So when I learned that I was to take part in a cooking class in Saigon with some colleagues boy did I start sweating! And it had nothing to do with the oppressive mid-afternoon Vietnamese humidity!
Saigon Cooking Class. Could I actually do it?
We arrived at our cooking school an excited gaggle. Well not all of us! We climbed the stairs to our kitchen, come dining room and I scanned the room for the rubbish bin. I’ll be needed that soon I thought.
We then met our cooking pilot. I think he’s called ‘a chef’ or something. He was beaming a smile warmer than the temperature in our 2nd story kitchen. That won’t last long I hypothesised.
And then it began.
We were going to be cooking
- Beef Salad with Lemongrass
- Sour Soup with Prawn
- Vietnamese Pancake with Prawn and Shallot
Yeah right! I almost left right then. But this was a work activity so of course I didn’t.
However almost immediately, and under the expert tutelage of our instructor, I began to smile. I was having fun cooking. Ye gads, can this be possible I thought?
We just had to follow-along with the precise and patient direction of our private chef. Furthermore all the delicious ingredients were there right at our fingertips. We just had to slice and dice a little. It was incredibly enjoyable. Cooking and chatting. Chatting and cooking.
It was like a Vietnamese Ikea. Everything was included. We just had to put it together.
As you will be able to see from my photos I was actually able to create food that was not just edible but divine. Me!
The meals were fresh, flavoursome and authentic. This Saigon cooking class delivered an oasis of calm and a melting pot of aromas and tastes. Outside Ho Chi Minh City is chaotic. But in here eating delectable food that you yourself have cooked quite the opposite.
Spicy sauces matched with quenching ice-cold beers matched with conversation over lunch with friends.
To me this was truly fine-dining!
If you are visiting Vietnam consider adding a cooking class to your itinerary. There are numerous schools through-out the country. The costs are low and the rewards outstanding even if you are a kitchen Luddite like me!
My experience was at the Saigon Cooking Class.
All photography copyright Thirty Summers. All rights reserved.