During one of the shore excursion for my extended cruise in 2016, we went to the ancient town of Hoi An and took a lesson in Vietnamese cooking.
If you’re looking for a unique culinary experience, where you will gain an understanding of how ingredients are selected and assembled to create local dishes, then Ms Vy’s Market Restaurant is the perfect venue. Located right next to Hoi An Central Market, you are first brought over to see the raw ingredients being sold in the local wet market. Then you proceed to the modern cooking school to assemble your own lunch.
We were taught how to make three dishes – a Vietnamese rice spring roll (gỏi cuốn), a Vietnamese pancake (bánh xèo) and Vietnamese lemongrass chicken kebab (gà xiên nướng).
This savoury pancake dish is wrapped in rice paper and eaten as a finger food. Originally from the South, this dish is eaten mostly during wintertime. It is a good example of the harmonious balance of taste and textures in Vietnamese food: fresh and fried, sweet and sour, soft and crunchy.
- ½ cup long grain rice
- ½ cup mung beans 5
- ½ cups water
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tblsp spring onions, green part only, sliced finely
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- 8 tsp vegetable oil
- 16 slices of pork shoulder, sliced finely
- 16 baby shrimps, shell on
- 200gr bean sprouts
- 8 sheets rice paper
- 2 cups mixed herbs
- 8 green banana slices
- 8 star fruit slices peanut sauce or sweet and sour sauce
* bánh xèo powder can be purchased from any good Asian grocer. This can be used in place of making the batter.
- Soak rice in 2 cups water overnight.
- Also soak mung beans in 2 cups water overnight.
- Rinse rice well and drain.
- Add 1 cup of water to rice and blend until a smooth liquid forms. Rinse mung beans well and drain.
- Add ½ cup water and blend until a smooth liquid forms.
- Mix the 2 batters together and add turmeric, spring onions and coconut cream.
- Stir well to combine. In a bánh xèo pan or the smallest frying pan you can find, heat 1 tsp oil.
- Put 2 slices of pork in hot pan on one side and cook 10 seconds on each side.
- Place 2 shrimps in pan on other side. Ladle in a small amount of mix and tilt pan to distribute evenly.
- Fry for 3-4 minutes until lightly coloured and crispy.
- Place a handful of bean sprouts on the side closest to you, then fold the far side over towards you, creating a half-moon shape.
- Continue cooking 1-2 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining batter to make 8 pancakes. Keep warm.
- On a sheet of softened rice paper put a bánh xèo, a handful of herbs, a star fruit and green banana slice and roll up.
Eat with dipping sauces.
Serves 4 as a starter.
Other Dishes We Learnt
Besides the pancake, we learnt how to make a starter salad and a bbq kebab dish
While most of the ingredients for the Vietnamese rice roll can be easily found in Singapore, but the herbs and the pork crackling are pretty rare.
The main meat skewer dish comprised of two parts – a semi-ripe mango salad and a chicken skewer marinated with fish sauce and lemongrass. The chicken skewer was then bbq over charcoal fire and then placed on the delicious mango salad.
And to round off the self-assembled lunch, we were given a scope of vanilla ice cream – what an anti-climax.
If you find all these too tedious, you can visit the restaurant below the cooking school. With Vy’s Market Restaurant, Owner/restauranteur Ms Vy has captured the essence of a traditional Vietnamese market by offering a wide choice of street foods and specialties to visitors but in a space where they can feel comfortable to enjoy them. Guests get an up close view of how their favourite Vietnamese foods are made – from individual ingredients to the final meal. Whether it be watching how rice noodles are formed, peanuts are traditionally roasted, or bearing witness to a suckling pig being cooked over a charcoal grill, there is much to see, learn and taste.
Vy’s Market Restaurant and Cooking School
03 Nguyen Hoang St, Hoi An – Quang Nam province – Viet Nam
Tel : +84 2353926926
Date Visited : Nov 2016