Food corner

“There is no sauce in the world like hunger.”

Miguel de Cervantes

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Vy's Market Tour and Cooking Class, Hoi An

I was that girl at the cooking class in Hoi An. No, not the know it all who answers all the questions and shows everyone how it’s done. I do my best to keep that under wraps, though fair play for jumping to that conclusion.

I mean the one with two cameras (iPhone and DSLR) and several lenses taking photos of anything and everything – the market stalls, the vendors, the teacher, the demos, the ingredients, each stage of preparation and the finished dishes. The girl sitting next to me looked like someone who might have bothered to talk to me in another environment, but I could see what she was thinking: ‘you crazy tourist, why don’t you just put your cameras down and enjoy the class?’

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Weird and 'wonderful' food in Hoi An

I'm fairly open-minded with food and will try most things once, but there are a few things I just know I never, ever want to put in my mouth. Or so I thought. Today I ate something that I never thought would pass my lips. But let’s build up to that, like I had to. 

As part of a market tour and cooking class I did in Hoi An, we were given the opportunity to sample a number of dishes at Vy’s Market Restaurant, which is basically a posh version of a street food market geared towards westerners. That doesn’t mean they dumb down the food; if anything, in an effort to educate foreigners they go to great lengths to provide all manner of dishes from around the country.

They let us in gently with some lovely tasters, such as these gorgeous bahn cuon, which are like a mini-version of bahn xeo (rice-flour pancake). Slightly thicker, they were crispy on the outside, soft and juicy in the centre and studded with little pieces of pork, chives and a crispy prawn.

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Best things I've eaten in Vietnam (so far)

Since internet cafes seem to be few and far between here, I've decided to just hit you with the highlights, rather than the city by city summary I was intending. Here's the best of the things I have eaten in Vietnam so far.

Squid stuffed with pork mince on Cat Ba Island

Sounds weird, but utterly delumptious. The squid was fresh as they come, fished out of the bay across the road that morning. It was also grilled perfectly - soft and tender, with slightly crispy tentacles.

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A Taste of Hanoi

If I were to write a food diary, I just might be able to shed a few pounds. It was quite horrifying when I started drafting this post to realise quite how much I put in my stomach on an average day.

On my first day in Hanoi I ate:

  • Beef pho for breakfast at 7am

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Short & Sweet: The Ledbury

Style: Modern European, fine dining

Budget: Very expensive (£600 for two, though we did drink a lot)

Venue and atmosphere: Inviting and elegant dining room with soft tones and plenty of natural light. White tablecloths and silver service but not too stuffy. 

Service: This is the kind of place where they read what kind of people you are and what service you want and behave accordingly. We were clearly there for a good time and they gave us one. Our waitress talked, joked and laughed with us. When my cousin wanted to swap one of the tasting menu options, they just brought it as an extra course. When it came to cheese, they saw we’d been having a few craft beers and suggested a beer matching instead of wine. Nice touch.

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