Our tour group of five has a private session at the Morning Glory cooking school. It's fantastic. It's in a very professional setting above a restaurant. We sit at our worktables in front of LuLu (who handily has a big mirror above her reflecting her actions). She started working for the owner at 14 and is now 35 and head chef.
This is education, demonstration, enough hands on activities for beginner cooks to be fun, and delicious food to eat. Definitely worth doing (and handy if you have this as your expectation rather than a lot of hands on cooking; this is the style again where all the food is already cut and much of the cooking is done by the chef). From the sign outside it's normally around USD$40 and 8-30 pax. Simon used to be a chef and says they would have charged at least AUD$300+ for the kind of experience our group of 5 get.
Lulu teaches us about fresh herbs, vegetables and spices. It turns out that water spinach is also referred to as Morning Glory. (which is beautiful sauteed with garlic!).
We make beautifully arranged fresh spring roll; the order and placement of ingredients is important to make it as pretty as possible when rolled.
White rose dumpling (another local speciality). We meet their dumpling chef and get to practice rolling out the white rice circles and trying to make flowers. Lulu laughs kindly when she sees mine but they are tasty steamed.
Out third experience with Banh Xeo crispy pancake and now we cook our own. Everything comes prepared and ready to put in the mini frying pan. We discover that this is not fried egg; instead it has ingredients like coconut milk and rice flour; it is the spices that provide its colour. We also have, in addition to standard ingredients, green banana - bitter, starfruit - sour, to provide a delicious balance to the flavours.
The main dish is then marinated fried pork with Cau Lau noodles. It is absolutely amazing. We get to assemble our bowl ourselves with noodles, mun bean, pork, sauce, shallot oil, fresh herbs, Vietnamese coriander, fried Cau Lau squares (their version of croutons), rice cracker, chilli and vinegar.
Dessert is local ice cream. The lemongrass flavour is refreshing.
This is some of the best food that I have in Vietnam.
I purchase the owner's cookbook (which is personally autographed to me).
I also return for dinner. I have the hot silkworm salad. The bugs aren't crunchy and they kind of squish into a creamy paste in your mouth. I manage about a quarter of the bowl before their little eyes staring up at me creeps me out & the taste isn't really doing it for me. I also have a bowl of the local Mi Quang (yellow thick rice noodles unlike anything we get at home)
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