What’s Cooking in Hanoi?

4 days in Hanoi is a long time, so we spent a day in Halong Bay and on the last full day in Hanoi, we took a cooking class at Old Hanoi Restaurant & Bar. We wanted to go with Exotissimo’s cooking classes, but I believe they are USD 50, and then when we called up the cooking classes that’s offered at the Metropole Hotel, they were USD 100! Here, at Old Hanoi Restaurant, the cooking class is USD 24 / person 🙂

Old Hanoi Restaurant & Bar

Old Hanoi Restaurant & Bar

We got there half an hour late so we weren’t able to go to the wet market to buy the food ourselves. Rather, the staff there had already prepared all the stuff and raw food for us to start cooking. The first was fish fillet mixed with turmeric, not unlike the Cha Ca dish we had the other night (in fact, I think it was a Cha Ca).

Fish Fillet for Making Cha Ca

Fish Fillet for Making Cha Ca

Ingredients for Making Nuoc Mam Sauce

Ingredients for Making Nuoc Mam Sauce

We started off making the Nuoc Mam sauce, which can pretty much be used for anything related to Vietnamese cuisine. You need to mix together the following:

  • 2 spoons of sugar
  • 6 spoons of warm water
  • 1 spoon of fish sauce
  • 1 spoon of rice vinegar
  • 1 spoon of fresh lime juice
  • 1 spoon of chipped garlic and chili

And there you have it … although, I’d go easy on the sugar … I don’t like mine that sweet.

Nuoc Mam Sauce on the Right

Nuoc Mam Sauce on the Right

I had forgotten to take photos of the making (and marinating) of the Cha Cha. In any case, the staff had taken our fillets into the kitchen to cook (no, we didn’t actually get to cook that one) … and then we were on to our next dish – the “Old Quarter Spring Rolls”

Ingredients for the Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Ingredients for the Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Chop and dice all of the ingredients: Carrot, Bean Sprout, Spring Onion, Onion and Auricularia (or “Wooden Ear” in Chinese / Jew’s Ear / basically, its [Botany] tree mushroom or edible tree fungus), crack the egg and get rid of all the egg white, throw the yolk and mince pork into the diced ingredients and mix. Add salt and pepper in the process and you should get something like this:

Ready to Mix!

Ready to Mix!

Split content into 3 chunks and get your spring roll paper ready:

Ready to ROLL!

Ready to ROLL!

And roll.

Too Much Water on the First Spring Roll

Too Much Water on the First Spring Roll

Remember not to put too much water on the Spring Roll paper! Otherwise, it’ll look like the roll on the far left.

Heat Cooking Oil Until Ready

Heat Cooking Oil Until Ready

Remember what they say? Put a wooden chopstick (or spatula) into the cooking oil, if its bubbling, then the oil is hot enough to fry stuff with.

Fry Until the Rolls Turn Golden Color

Fry Until the Rolls Turn Golden Color

Place rolls on napkin to get rid of excess oil … leave until its a little cooler, dip in nuoc mam sauce and consume!

Oily Spring Rolls

Oily Spring Rolls

Right after we devoured the rolls, came the Cha Ca fish fillet we were making earlier and it looks something like this:

Self-made Cha Ca!

Self-made Cha Ca!

Hanoi-style Grilled Fish

Hanoi-style Grilled Fish

Roll fish together with shredded veggies, dip into the nuoc mam sauce (again) and consume.

Finally, we were on to our 3rd dish of the morning: Royal Rice with Shrimp. Basically, chop all of the ingredients below into dices and fry them together, like so:

Ingredients for the Rice Royale

Ingredients for the Rice Royale

Fry the Mix!

Fry the Mix!

Once ready, then this is what you’ll have to do:

  1. Place a whole shrimp in the bottom of the center of a standard rice bowl
  2. Put a thin layer of rice on top of the shrimp and apply pressure
  3. Put a layer of the stuff you just fried on the parameter inside the bowl
  4. Add another layer of rice, apply pressure
  5. Repeat Step 3
  6. Repeat Step 4
  7. Using a handle of a knife, knock on the outside of the bowl
  8. Slide knife in between the rice and the bowl
  9. Flip over on plate and you should get something like this
Royal Rice with Shrimp

Royal Rice with Shrimp

By the time we’re done with this, we were already full. I actually didn’t find this particularly good, partially (I think) because I was stuffed from the rolls and fish, and partially because there were so much rice packed in there …

And finally, to end our cooking lesson, our instructor decided she was going take things into her own hands and just deal with it for us. It was Diced Sweet Potato with Ginger …

Diced Sweet Potato and Shredded Ginger in Tapioca Mix

Diced Sweet Potato and Shredded Ginger in Tapioca Mix

Pouring the tapioca mix in …

Tapioca Mix

Tapioca Mix

This, unfortunately, also wasn’t very good … it was a little too thick!

Vietnamese Dessert

Vietnamese Dessert

And there you have it … cooking class in Hanoi … in a nutshell.

Old Hanoi Restaurant
106 Ma May, Old Quarter
Tel: +84 824525
Mobile: +84 913559096
Email: hanoicooking@yahoo.com.vn
Web: www dot hanoi-cooking dot com

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One Response

  1. What a fantastic post! I wish I could have gone on this trip. The ingredients look incredibly fresh, and the photos are making me very hungry. Lucky you…

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