Saigon Cooking Class at Hoa Tuc restaurant

28 Aug

So on July we were involved in a cooking class. I had already seen Hoa Tuc restaurant and knew they were offering cooking classes, and after having a look at the menu, I thought they had pretty originals healthy and brand new ideas.
Lucky us, we had a special reduction of 5$ on the price because it was summer time. So the class actually cost 35$ instead of 40. Hoa Tuc is located in an old colonial house which is really luminous and pretty and the classes are happening upstairs (you need to go on the right side of the restaurant to get there).

The cooking class has a different menu everyday, so when we booked by email our class, the manager sent us a pdf with all the week’s menu (even if we had asked to do it on Sunday). She was right because after seeing the menu, we thought we’d rather take the class on Saturday, because it looked more appetizing to us!
It’s also a good thing that you don’t need to pay in advance (maybe not good for them, I don’t know), but I hate it when you have to get through all those processes to pay (paypal, wire etc… we had to book everything in advance by paying for Thailand, and also when I was travelling in Argentina and Chile and I hated that!).
Furthermore, the manager is really nice, and you can tell her if there is something you don’t like or you’re allergic to for her to adapt the menu (and that’s how everyone ended up with the passion fruit custard in my class). Found that funny.

So this day we had: fresh springrolls with pork and prawns and a peanut dipping sauce, a water spinach salad with prawns and carrots, a chicken claypot with ginger and finally a passion fruit custard.
You usually never know what will be the dessert because they prepare it especially for you, and do not teach you how to do it (although you can ask the chef and she will tell you how).

Here you have a small part if the inside. There was this big table where we cooked, and a few tables where we were enjoying the food while the assistants were cleaning the table. The toilets were really nice too by the way.

We had many weird new cooking tools we used. Like the serrated knife to cut carrots or the round green plastic thing on a stick which is used to cut water spinach into several pieces (you get your long stem, put the stick inside its hole, and push the stem through the upper part where there is the green thing, and there you have your water spinach separated in small stems!). You can even buy the tools or cutlery (even aprons) there, although it is a bit expensive (I personally think that you can find the green thing in Ben Thanh for less than 1€).

Here is the peanut dipping sauce, made with peanut butter and Hoi Sin sauce. I won’t give you any recipe now, don’t think it’s quite fair for the Saigon Cooking Class actually. But it definitely gave me plenty of ideas and inspirations, so I’m sure I’ll be giving you soon enough a lot of recipes! Furthermore, I already gave you the how-to-roll instructions earlier!

By the way, when I’ll be spending a few days in Singapore at a friend’s place, I’ll definitely be cooking Vietnamese food to thank her and her family to host me for a couple of days (she already tried my French food when we were in England), so there will be Vietnamese recipes coming really soon!

You may remember this picture, I posted it with my “Rolling the Vietnamese way” post to give you a hint of what are the different techniques to roll.
Anyway, here you see my finger rolling the end of a springroll (big one, looks more like a can of soda than a springroll but it was my first try, with a camera in the other hand actually!). It was made with lettuce, rice vermicelli, pork, shrimps, Vietnamese basil (sometimes called Thai basil I think), bean sprouts and mint.

Here you see the plate with my two big springrolls and the peanut dipping sauce, it was delicious! Really simple actually, but it’s a Vietnamese cooking’s basic so you have to learn how to do it even though there aren’t much to learn.

Here is the salad sauce made with nuoc mam and kumquat (which isn’t kumquat actually but calamansi, it’s some kind of small mandarine, with the size of a cherry, green outside and orange inside).

The salad after being well laid. It was made with water spinach, prawns, onions, carrots, Vietnamese basil, fried shallots and garlic and peanuts. Really refreshing and whole new!

Here is the gas cooker we used to cook the last dish.

Here is the claypot chicken made with fresh ginger, chili, garlic, sugar, annato seeds’ oil and nuoc mam.
It was nice, but not my favourite.

At the end, everyone got the passion fruit custard because of us. When we sent the email to book, we said that my friend had a red fruits’ allergy and I quite hate bananas and coconut, so I think they hadn’t much choice for the dessert!
I would have liked to make it though… Or to learn how to make some Asian pastries with green tea, Asian fruits, pandan leaves, rice dough…. It would be fun!

Here is the bill! They used the regular exchange rate for Vietnamese dongs/dollars (1$=21 000 dongs), maybe the machine calculated with the actual rate so they changed it. We didn’t care, we have a Vietnamese bank account.

Oh here is myself with the apron they lend us for the cooking class (cute apron, right?). Now you may get why I chose a red-haired girl from a poster of Mucha as a profile pic on WordPress (that you can see on the page About Me) and on Hellocoton! After 5 months in Vietnam, just got tanned in the arms, a bit on the feet and a lot on the face (I actually don’t have much time to tan though, maybe if I had, I would be more tanned).

Anyway so Saigon Cooking Class was a good experience. It got me thinking that taking a cooking class while you’re abroad is definitely one of the best way to apprehend the local culture, so even if you’re staying only a few weeks in Vietnam, you ought to take a cooking class. Last great thing about the cooking class, there was a nice atmosphere between the “students” and the chef, everyone was really nice and involved!
Hoa Tuc (the restaurant) offers some of the dishes we make in their cooking class so it’s really promising!

Saigon Cooking Class:

74/7 Hai Bà Trưng,
District 1, Hồ Chí Minh

4 Responses to “Saigon Cooking Class at Hoa Tuc restaurant”

  1. Wilma GALFRE August 28, 2012 at 19:49 #

    Ca à l’air bien bon tout ça ! Est-ce que ce n’est pas le restaurant où j’ai mangé le dernier jour avant de rentrer ? Dans une rue perpendiculaire à celle où il y avait la librairie où tu m’avais envoyée chercher les affiches ?

    • eatingmodern August 28, 2012 at 22:25 #

      Je ne crois pas, car Hai Ba Trung est parallèle à la rue où est la librairie (mais Hoa Tuc est bien dans une petit allée partant de Hai Ba Trung)

  2. agromarine August 29, 2012 at 18:22 #

    These cooking class really great and they give different menu everyday. They edify new dish everyday.that’s really nice.students think to take the class on Saturday, because it looked more appetizing to them!

    Notes : Prawn Spring Rolls Products ,Butterfly Shrimps products,aqua shop in India

    • agromarine August 31, 2012 at 15:22 #

      Guys try Saigon Cooking Class at Hoa Tuc restaurant that used we useful when you are interested in cooking.

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