Morning Glory Cooking School @ Hoi An, Vietnam

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Hoi An was my favourite town during my vacation last year in Vietnam. It's such a beautifully quaint little town that has oft been criticised as being overly-commercialised. Whatever the matter, its very charming and one can easily spend hours chilling at any of the pretty cafes.
Hoi An Islet
One of my favourite activities while on vacation is checking out Cooking Schools (if my schedule permits). I chanced upon Morning Glory Cooking School on my first day whilst roaming around the streets of the Ancient Town of Hoi An on foot.
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This is the Cooking Studio, situated on the 2nd floor. It has a nice layout. They run quite a few programs here, some are hands-on classes and some are cooking demonstrations. Most of the programs require 10 people to start a class and advance booking. I wanted to sign up for the "Vietnamese Street Food Cooking" hands-on program which required 2 to start a class. When there didn't seem to be anyone keen on the class, on my 2nd day in Hoi An, I told the school that I would pay for 2 but attend the class by myself (my travel buddy doesn't like cooking). I set a time to return for the lesson and proceeded to explore other parts of the town on a bicycle. The rental bikes are very heavy. It didn't help that I was a bad cyclist. Nonetheless, it was still an interesting experience trying not to embarass myself excessively with my child-like cycling skills, trying not to ride into a pit while gawking at the sights and trying not to freak out when approaching a busy intersection.

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This is a picture of the kitchen on the first floor where most of the street food is prepared. Nice island in the middle! The contraption on the bottom right gas ring was for making fresh spring roll skins with. Its a pot with a cloth tied over its mouth and was filled with boiling water. One had to ladle the batter evenly over the cloth, let it steam a little (this causes the batter to solidify and look like thin unravelled "chee cheong fun"), then use a slim bamboo stick to gently lift the spring roll skin off the cloth and onto a plate. It was a fun experience trying to get it right!

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The next dish was Banh Xeo, a lacy crepe made with eggs and rice flour, then stuffed with shrimp, pork, mushrooms, bean sprouts and mung beans. I love this dish as the crepe is crispy and savoury. It was a fun experience learning how to make this dish and I loved the aroma of hot banh xeo on a stove. :)

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Here's a picture of Marianne trying to overcome her fear of spattering oil while making Banh Xeo. LB and I had met her during a day tour of Hue, the previous town that we had visited. I was indulging in a snack at Cargo Club while waiting for the class to start. Then she happened to ride past. I told her about the class and invited her to join me since I was already paying for 2 people. She was apprehensive at first but I told her that the extra fees would go to waste and I would love to have her join. It was a fun experience for her too and I was glad to have had the opportunity to share the joy with a fellow traveller. :)We ate quite a bit during class and were too stuffed to have any dinner that day. We made plans to meet the next evening for dinner, our final night in Hoi An, before departing for different towns. The most pleasurable bits of cooking classes is smelling the delicious food being prepared and then getting to eat them. :)

This is a place to check out if you're keen to learn some Vietnamese cooking. Even if you're not into cooking, the food served at this restaurant is really good. Marianne and I agreed that they had the best local fare amongst the few places that we tried.

More suggestions are always welcome! I hope to visit Hoi An again someday!

Morning Glory Cooking School & Morning Glory Street Food Restaurant 106 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hoi An, Vietnam Tel: (84 0510) 241555 / 241556 Fax: (84 0510) 911431 Emails: morningglorycookingschool@gmail.com / morningglory@hoianhospitality.com