When you are visiting a country with as many delicious culinary options as Vietnam, you might as well get creative about how you enjoy your meals abroad. When you visit Ho Chi Minh City, you will fall in love with the simple dishes and complex flavours. Instead of winging it, try any of the following three experiences to get a more personal and unique perspective on the food that defines the city.
Cooking classes aim to get you involved in the farm to table process of cooking a meal in Vietnam. Specifically you will learn about the ingredients that typically go into making Vietnamese food, you’ll often go to the market to pick the ingredients out for yourself and then under instruction from a local chef, you will prepare a Vietnamese feast for yourself and your classmates.
The added bonus to this experience is that you can take the recipes and the knowledge gained back with you to impress your friends and family at home with a traditionally prepared Vietnamese meal. If that isn’t a great souvenir, then we don’t know what is.
If this sort of experience interests you, we suggest taking the Ho Chi Minh City Half-Day Local Cooking Course. You will learn how to cook Vietnamese food from the experts and in a comfortable and cosy environment. You will meet up with a local chef, stop at a nearby market to pick up the ingredients you will need, and then head back to the chef’s house who will then give you a personal, hands-on cooking lesson for Vietnamese dishes. After you’ve prepared the meal, you can enjoy it together. Costs for this class range from $50-70AUD.
Food tours are the quickest and best way to get to know the area of HCMC you are staying in and the kinds of food available there. By taking a guided food tour you’ll get local insights on the best places to pick up a quick meal, the best drinks, the best specials, and of course, the best restaurants around. Instead of keeping your nose stuck in a book, you can keep your eyes peeled and try some of the most delicious dishes while wandering the city and getting to know its cuisine.
One major part of Vietnamese culinary culture that is unlike that found in Australia is the street food. On this Ho Chi Minh City Street Food Tour you will take a 2.5 hour walking tour through HCMC with a local guide. You’ll have the chance to sample Vietnamese favourites such as “banh mi” sandwiches and popular rice dishes. You can even taste local coffee, beer, and other offerings from vendors as you wander the various markets and cafes. This tour is limited to 12 people keeping the experience small and personalized with a group of like-minded food lovers.
Now that you know how you can cook the special Vietnamese dishes you see on every menu, and you know where that food comes from and how it is harvested, you can sit back and relax as you enjoy the food in a unique and special environment.
One of the best ways to do this in HCMC is with the Bonsai Dinner Cruise along the Saigon River. For just under $80AUD, you will be able to enjoy the vibrant city lights of Ho Chi Minh City as you take a two-hour cruise down the river. You’ll be cruising on a traditional Junk boat where you can enjoy traditional Asian cuisine as you take in the sights and relish the panoramic views of the city.
It is one thing to imagine the delicious meals you’ll enjoy in Vietnam, but it’s a whole different thing to know that you can enjoy the food through cooking classes, food tours and special dining experiences instead of just picking up a quick meal on the street or in a small cafe. Choose your ideal experience (or do all three!) and get planning the rest of your Vietnamese holiday. Don’t forget to pack travel insurance before you jet off so you can rest easy knowing Cover-More is always there.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Jeffreyw