I am so excited to attend a day of Vietnamese cooking lessons at Miss Vy’s Cooking School, (pronounced V), truly a highlight of my trip to Vietnam. From my hotel I take A short walk through the sleepy early morning streets and arrive for the class early as the village of Hoi An is just beginning to stretch it’s arms and awaken for the day.
Eager to visit the local market to select ingredients for our day’s cooking class we set off down the lane to the docks where we hop aboard a small open water taxi of sorts and putt putt along the muddy river to the morning market. It’s always fun to see a river town from the perspective of it’s watery thoroughfare.
Market vendors peddling their heavily laden bikes along the river heading to sell their wares, hopeful for a successful day, early risers chatting with friends along the bank before their days activities begin, lend a subtle excitement to the new day. We blend in easily with the food vendors setting up shop and other customers eager to make their purchases and hurry along to begin their day elsewhere.
So many strange and wonderful foods await at this peaceful market. Frisky, river eels flailing around in their bucket of water furious at their predicament.
Fresh noodle vendors, their smiling faces shining with creases of character, surround themselves with large, flat bamboo trays of noodles of every description. Butchers butchering beasts, Fruit merchants offering tastes of exotic and beautiful bounty, Fish mongers competing for a moment of your time and hopefully your business, holding a flying fish by its angel like translucent wings hoping to tempt.
The most beautiful fresh herbs still moist from the morning showering of watering cans in the field not far from the market.
Alas, I can’t shop in a fresh market like this everyday! I could spend half the day here chatting with the merchants ( in sign language) and tasting, touching, sniffing and simply absorbing this wonderful melange of sights and scents. Ok, yes I am a sensualist!
Back to reality and time to get cookin’ if we are to complete our menu in time for lunch! We plan to whip up Green Mango Salad, BBQ Chicken with lime leaves, fresh spring rolls, and Banh Xeo, (a type of rice crepe filled with paper then sliced pork, succulent star fruit, soft slices of green banana and fresh fragrant herbs) Ah yes, this will be a lovely lunch indeed!
After lunch we head down to the first floor restaurant of Vy’s school and taste the array of weird wonderful Foods. To my own shock and surprise I screw up my courage and try a few really weird foods! Silk worm salad, Lemongrass frog, pig brain and giant snails. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it! Who knew pig brain would taste like Foie Gras…..