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Art Food Culture

Hoi An, Vietnam
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About Art Food Culture
Art Food Culture Retreats in Central Vietnam. Immersive fully hosted art, food and culture experiences. Local Food. Drawing, Painting, Sketching. Cooking Classes. Market Tours. Family Home Visits. Ethnic Minority Village Stays. Cultural Local Immersion. Experiential. Sensory. Connection. Responsible. Ethical. Slow Travel.
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Art Food Culture
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BayLife wrote a review May 5
Melbourne, Australia2 contributions
At a bit of a loose end following retirement, I took a friend’s advice & signed up for an Art Food Culture Vietnamese retreat. Until that point, I’d mostly travelled throughout Europe & the US & had never travelled alone. Considering the cheap airfare & very reasonable tour package, I thought it might be a good time to do something completely different. I am so glad I heeded that friend’s advice & chose to pamper myself with what turned out to be the most transformative travel experience of my life. Over the course of our tour, we were able to fully experience the rich culture of Vietnam, unhurried & in the hands of an adept & accommodating guide whose attention to detail was meticulous. Anna is the most professional, down-to-earth, & energetic tour guide I have ever encountered. A chef, artist, & anthropologist, her experience & extensive local knowledge is reassuring, but the depth of her passion for the place is downright infectious. With an accomplished chef at the helm, we were treated to carefully curated culinary experiences – the freshly prepared daily offerings were inexpensive, unpretentious, & unlike anything you’ll find in Vietnamese restaurants in Australia. If you value authentic cuisine, the thịt nướng, bánh tráng, khô mực, & cao lầu from the Hoi An night markets must be tasted to be believed (preferably in the steaming, teeming environs). And there seemed to be an inexhaustible supply of incredible street food: we sampled bánh bao bánh vạc (the famed white rose dumplings), mi quang noodles, an array of delicious seafood, &, of course, *proper* bánh mi. In addition to introducing us to the down-home local fare, Anna ensured that we got to some of the more high-profile eateries, including Bánh Mì Phuong (made famous by Anthony Bourdain & touted as the home of the world’s best bánh mì) & Streets Restaurant Café, the philanthropic enterprise on Lê Lợi Street with a mission to empower disadvantaged youth. We immersed ourselves in the tranquillity of the Tra Que herb village co-op (where we learnt the process of rice paper making from artisans), the haunting beauty of the ancient Mỹ Sơn Cham ruins, the incredible 500-year-old jewel that is the Tranh Ha pottery village, the mystical Marble Mountains (Ngũ Hành Sơn), a charming eco sanctuary & cooking school, & the fascinating history of different ethnic groups, like the Cham & Co Tu people. All our accommodation was modern, clean, comfortable, & very affordable. The unobtrusive but polite hosts made every effort to make us feel welcome. We enjoyed easy access to our sketching locations & local attractions. Private bus transfers, bicycle hire, & Old Town entry were arranged in advance to save time so we were able to focus on exploring. And RELAXING. Slow travel truly allows you to connect deeply with the people, place, & culture & time to reflect & unwind. And the small tour group allowed for interaction without overwhelm & a more personal experience. For me, the sketching workshops were both therapeutic & revelatory. I was initially self-conscious about trying my hand at something I haven’t done much of since high school (a lonnng time ago). But the Art Food Culture art tutors are among the cream of the international sketching crop & I thoroughly enjoyed the informal workshop sessions with author & urban sketcher, James Richards. We visited several stunning locations, but the highlight for me was a lazy morning in the Old Town, chatting & sketching near the famous Japanese Bridge (Chùa Cầu). Thanks to Anna & James, I’ve developed an enduring love for urban sketching & travel journalling, which have become part of my daily routine. These experiences of mindfulness, creative expression, & sharpening your observation skills are immensely soothing & deeply satisfying. I cannot recommend Anna's Art Food Culture retreats highly enough & I look forward to joining Anna again in future for workshops with some of her other talented artists.
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Date of experience: June 2021
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Tara G wrote a review Mar 2022
1 contribution
LOVE learning with Anna! She is amazing and I have learnt so much. Can't wait to travel Vietnam when everything opens up again! Also the BEST baker!
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Date of experience: March 2022
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Rennie61 wrote a review Mar 2022
Hobart, Australia5 contributions
We loved Anna’s local knowledge of the best markets, best vendors, best food experiences in Vietnam. We loved the visit to the CoTu village, and the art experiences we were able to have. It was a fabulous tour. Do it again in a heartbeat.
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Date of experience: April 2021
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Mi Mi wrote a review Mar 2022
Hoi An, Vietnam104 contributions32 helpful votes
Sitting on a plastic red stool, in the hustle and bustle of a local Vietnamese village market, immensed in the the daily chatter, array of aromas and miles of smiles. Tasting culinary delights on banana leaves, all locally fresh and carefully prepared by beaming market stall holders. The experience highlighted with colored pencils and paper to capture what most inspires me that day. Exploring and touring the culunary culture and country of Vietnam with Anna, who is an unforgettablly fun and effective host who looks after all the fine details. I throughly recommend and can't wait to book again.
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Date of experience: April 2021
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Dianna K wrote a review Mar 2022
Newcastle, Australia1 contribution
There were so many fabulous things I can’t pin point just one. Anna’s local knowledge is unparalleled. Not only knowledgeable about the country but the little things like local specialty places to eat and buy gifts. Recommendations of places to eat, after she’d checked them personally, recommendations of places to spend spare time after the formal tour as well. She coordinated different experiences to cater for different tastes and personalities. And that’s never an easy task. I have recommended Anna and her tours to many friends.
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Date of experience: April 2021
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