So as you (should) know, we’re huge food lovers. We love eating delicious food, and even more, we love cooking delicious food. Therefore, we’re always keen to learn new tips and tricks on how to improve our cooking and how to please our taste buds even more. So far, we’ve done at least one cooking class in each country we’ve visited. Vietnam wouldn’t be an exception.
A couple of days ago, we arrived in Mui Ne. As usual when we arrive in a new place, we do our research on what to do in that particular place. It didn’t take long for us to decide that Mui Ne would be the place where we did our first cooking class in Vietnam. Mui Ne Cooking School has amazing reviews on Tripadvisor and it seemed to be a good place to learn to cook Vietnamese food.
So, we booked a cooking class at Mui Ne Cooking School and two days later, we arrived at Mui Ne Cooking School at 9am sharp.
A Visit to The Local Morning Market – Ham Tien Market
The cooking class at Mui Ne Cooking School starts with a visit to the local morning market in Mui Ne, Ham Tien Market. The visit was quite interesting. One of our teachers led us around the market, along the local vendors and gave us facts along the way. She even bought us some local snacks and drinks to try out whilst she told us more about it. Mmm, those coconut crackers were something else…
We really enjoyed the visit to the market. However, it felt a bit rushed and our teacher seemed a bit stressed. She almost ran between the different vendors. She did, however, take the time to answer all our questions and she waited for us to buy whatever we wanted, which we appreciated.
After about 20-30 minutes we took a taxi back to the cooking school to start the cooking.
As some of you probably know, we are vegetarians. Hence, we don’t eat soup made out of meat broth or anything else that has anything to do with meat. Apparently there had been some misunderstanding when we booked our cooking class, because our teacher said she hadn’t prepared enough ingredients and vegetable broth for the vegetarian soups. We got a bit surprised and told her a couple of times that we don’t eat meat and we don’t eat seafood. After some dithering back and forth, she understood and in the end she managed to make it work.
However, as we are traveling in South East Asia and 90% of every dish contains fish sauce, we have decided to be okay with fish sauce in our food. If you do not eat fish sauce, make sure to be super clear with this when you book your class. We ended up using fish sauce in every dish we cooked at the cooking class.
During our four hours long cooking class, we would be making four different dishes. And of course eat all of it (or at least try). The first thing on the menu was beef noodle soup – for us, vegetable noodle soup. Our teacher had prepared all the ingredients before hand – measured, chopped and sliced. For us it was more or less just to put the ingredients in as she told us to and mix it.
Once it was ready we got to sit down and enjoy our creations. It was really yummy and sooo filling! It was a good thing that we got some breaks in between the eating and the cooking cause we were already starting to get full.
The second dish was Vietnamese pancakes. We got to try these out at the morning market and there they were really yummy. Now, we would get to make them ourselves. Usually there’s some type of meat inside the pancakes. We got to make them with vegetables only.
First, we were supposed to make a tomato flower for decoration. It looked so simple when she did it. I quickly dropped that thought once I got to try myself. It was not easy. I did however end up with a tomato flower and our teacher cheered, jumped and shouted. She said I made her very happy.
Once all of us had made (at least something similar to) a flower, our teacher let us watch while she made the batter for the pancakes. Then she divided it equally among us and we went to our cooking table to fry it.
These pancakes are eaten together with a sweet-and-sour sauce. We learned how to make this as well. Then we got to enjoy our pancakes together with the sauce (and our tomato flower on the side). They were really yummy. They didn’t taste anything like the ones we tried in the market.
The next thing on the menu was fresh spring rolls – YUM. If you don’t like spring rolls, there’s probably something wrong with you (just kidding! Or am I..?). The ingredients were already chopped and prepared. For us it was just to fry the tofu (pork for the meat-eaters), wet the rice paper and then place salad, herbs, noodles and tofu in the rice paper and finally roll it. For the spring rolls we made a sweet-and-sour-peanut sauce that was very flavorful. As expected, the spring rolls tasted heavenly.
Last but not least was a seafood salad. The two meat-eaters in our group got to fry shrimps and mix it with vegetables and sweet-and-sour sauce. Instead of letting us do the same thing without shrimps, she made us do something totally different. We fried vegetables and ate it with soy sauce. I’m still not sure why she decided to do it that way. It turned out pretty good, so we can’t really complain, even though I still think we would’ve enjoyed a salad better.
All in all, the food was very tasty, filling and fresh. You could tell that the ingredients we used were fresh and flavorful. We left the cooking class at Mui Ne Cooking School with very full stomachs and satisfied with our accomplishments.
Two sweet Vietnamese ladies were our teachers that morning. One of them did all the demonstration and talking whilst the other one did the chopping and other preparations. The lady doing the preparations didn’t say much whilst the other one talked a lot. She explained, encouraged and cheered, which was fun. Sometimes we got the feeling that she was a bit too speedy though. At some point, she did the work for us and it was more of a demonstration than a class.
Also, she was very strict with how things should be. When we made the noodle soup, Pajam put a little bit of garlic in, because he loves garlic. Instead of explaining why we shouldn’t put garlic in the soup, she just shouted “no no no, not garlic!” and plucked it out. Nevertheless, we managed to squeeze in a lot in a short time and the food turned out great (even without garlic). And in the end, we got some useful tips and tricks on how to cook Vietnamese food.
The Price For a Cooking Class at Mui Ne Cooking School
The cooking class at Mui Ne Cooking School was a bit pricier than other cooking classes we’ve done. In Thailand we did one for 15USD per person and in Cambodia for 10uUSD per person. Both included four dishes each, plus a recipe book and the one in Cambodia also included a visit to the local market. The cooking class at Mui Ne Cooking School was 35USD per person including the market visit. If you don’t feel like going to the market, the price is 30USD per person.
There are however several reasons to why the price for a cooking class at Mui Ne Cooking School might be pricier. First, it’s a different country and prices varies among countries (obviously). Also, Mui Ne Cooking School is located in well, Mui Ne. Mui Ne is a very touristy area with resorts and tourist attractions everywhere. Things tend to be more expensive in these places. Lastly, Mui Ne Cooking School seems to be the only cooking school in Mui Ne, which also tends to increase the price.
Included in the price
For 35usd per person the following was included:
- A four hours long cooking class
- A visit to Ham Tien market, where you get to try local snacks and drinks
- Transfer back and forth to the market
- Ingredients needed for fours dishes
- Cooking and eating four dishes
- Ice tea
- English-speaking teachers
- A recipe book.
DISCLAIMER: We were welcomed as guests by Mui Ne Cooking School. As always, all opinions and views remain our own.