We actually booked this class just through a random travel agency in Hoi An without many expectations other than a 3 vegetarian dish lesson at a restaurant. The tour began with Mr. Toan picking us up at our hotel and cycling down to the market to pick up some fresh ingredients. We were pleasantly surprised that he spoke fantastic English and that he'd be our guide and interpreter (as the chef spoke little english). We ended up being a group of two (my girlfriend and I) and would therefore not be going to the restaurant to cook but a little ways out of the city. We were a little skeptical, especially when we turned up at a regular looking house - his house in fact. His wife was the chef and their 'kitchen' was a front room of the house overlooking their small garden out front.
All our anxieties that this may not be a professionally run class disappeared when it was obvious that we were getting so much more out of it - a local business owner had just welcomed us into his home and immediately made us to feel like part of the family! We made 3 dishes (all made especially vegetarian/vegan for us) - Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake), fried spring rolls, and the famous local dish: Quang noodles - which was excellent!
We were shown what to do but never felt that we just spectators as all the chopping, cooking, stirring, plating, and of course eating we did ourselves. After each dish, we were meant to write down all the ingredients and steps we took to prepare as a way to reinforce what we just did plus to have a copy of the recipe!
The lesson was meant to be a 4-hour day, however we ended up really taking our time and enjoying each dish and chatting that we ended up in the kitchen for 6 hours!!
All in all it was a great course, great chef, great guide and totally recommended!
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