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The only thing better than catching your breath at Halong Bay’s limestone karsts? Taking in the majesty of the My Son ruins? Or lying back on the beaches of Phu Quoc? Vietnamese food.
Whoever said “you can’t have it all” has never been on holiday to Vietnam. Biting into a crunchy banh mi baguette or a soft summer roll, tucking into a hearty bowl of pho, or chowing down a banh xeo pancake rival even Vietnam’s most awe inspiring sights. So how to discover the best of your new favourite food?
1. Street food tour, Hanoi
Guide books, maps, and online reviews can only tell you so much. To get to the heart of a place, you really have to live there. In Vietnam’s capital Hanoi you can team up with a local to go stall to stall without missing a crumb of the city’s best street food.
If your feet get tired, take a pit stop at any number of French inspired cafés for a pastry and a mug of egg coffee (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!) before filling up again. You may not need to eat again for the rest of your vacation…
2. Ben Thanh market challenge, Ho Chi Minh City
You’re never too old for a treasure hunt! With a warren of stalls selling just about everything, the busy hive of the Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City can be a complicated one to navigate.
Armed with a list of cryptic clues, this challenge will see you and your team weave in and out of the market meeting local people, trying new food, and finding spots for the best snaps. Meet up with the other teams at the end to see who will be crowned the ultimate Ben Thanh market challenge winner.
3. Private cookery class with Chef Duc, Hoi An
If there’s one thing that Hoi An isn’t short of (lanterns and tailors outstanding), it’s restaurants. From the teeniest café with the very best coffees, right up to swish fine dining establishments, your tummy won’t be disappointed. As head chef at some of the town’s best restaurants, Duc Tran is a stalwart of the scene, making this half-day cooking experience a particularly exclusive one.
Explore Hoi An’s food market to pick up fresh ingredients and meet favourite local vendors before going to his restaurant to make your own masterpiece.
4. Home cooking with Chef Ai, Hanoi
No cookbooks or classrooms could compete with renowned Chef Ai’s masterclass in her home. After going to the local market together to hand pick your fresh produce, you’ll head back to her kitchen to learn skills you can impressive your friends with at home.
She shares the secrets of Northern Vietnamese cuisine as you go along, so the journey to a meal cooked by your own fair hand will also be a cultural (as well as a delicious) one.
Salt and rice: so far, so simple, right? Not so in the ancient town of Hue. With complicated methods to make lots of different flavoured salts, alongside the finest quality rice, Com Muoi (salt rice) is something very special indeed. Learn this prestigious skill from one of the town’s masters for a unique foodie experience.