Cooking classes in Hanoi, Vietnam are an exceptional way to experience the city’s iconic gastronomy. The exotic ingredients and unique flavor combinations in Vietnamese cuisine are a mystery to many visitors. After spending days indulging in the best Hanoi food at top-rated restaurants, I was intrigued to
eat more learn more about the local food. How do they make Pho? Is there a secret ingredient in Banh Mi? And, what exactly is in that sauce?! I wanted in on the secret – so I signed up for a half-day Hanoi Cooking Class. Sign up here, now!
Picking the Best Hanoi Cooking Class
Finding a Vietnamese cooking class in Hanoi is no problem. Cooking classes in Vietnam – especially in Hanoi – have become widely popular in recent years. In fact, just around the corner from our hotel are three Hanoi cooking schools in the Old Quarter. However, I was interested in seeking out the absolute best Vietnamese cooking course.
Hanoi Cooking Classes: What To Expect
Most Vietnamese cooking classes in Hanoi operate using a standard framework. Class participants meet their chef and then go to a nearby market to pick up supplies needed to prepare the food. Once at the school, guests are instructed how to make each menu item; how much hands-on there is depends on the school. When all the food is ready, participants enjoy the fruits of the labor – and everyone shares the meal together.
Rose Cooking Class Hanoi
In my search for the best cooking classes in Vietnam I discovered the Rose Kitchen Hanoi, Vietnam cooking school. Located to the west of the Old Quarter in a historic villa, Rose Kitchen Cooking Class Vietnam includes a guided tour of a very local Hanoi market, hands-on experience in the kitchen and professional, English-speaking chefs. Classes are offered in the morning or afternoon and the course costs less than $40 USD. They also provide hotel pick-up and drop-off – and you can book online with instant confirmation.
Rose Cooking Class in Hanoi Itinerary
I booked my Rose Kitchen Vietnamese Cooking Course online one day before the class (and I was lucky to get in, as they only had a few spots left!). Kris had other plans that morning – and I was happy to go to the class on my own. After I received immediate confirmation through the booking site, I got a second email direct from Rose Kitchen providing a specific time for pick up and a complete class itinerary. (Note: Because of my email settings, the email with instructions went to my junk mail folder, so be sure to check there if you don’t get a personal email from them!)
Getting To Rose Cooking Classes Hanoi
Getting to the class could not have been easier – they provide hotel pick up services. As I was staying in a hotel located in a pedestrian-only alley, the chef met me in the lobby and then we walked to the main street where a Rose Cooking School van was waiting for us. After collecting all of the class participants from the Old Quarter, we were given a brief introduction to the day as we traveled a short distance to the west.
Our larger group was split into two small groups for more personalized attention; I was in a group with an older couple from Australia, a single man from America and a young couple with their 8-year-old daughter from Korea. Once we were all introduced, we headed for the market.
Local Hanoi Market
Almost all Hanoi cooking class tours include a market visit – but what is so great about Rose Kitchen is that the market they take their guests to is extremely local. Outside of the Old Quarter and void of vendors selling tourist trinkets (and completely void of tourists – except for us), the local market provided us with an authentic Hanoi experience.
Before heading into the market, our chef gave us the option to choose what we wanted to make. It was decided that we would make three main dishes: classic Beef Pho, a vegetarian egg Banh Mi and a stuffed sizzling pancake, Banh Xeo, which is a Vietnamese dish I had yet to try. And, at the end of the meal, we would learn how to make the famous Hanoi Egg Coffee.
With our menu set, our chef led us into the depths of the local market. She explained the different herbs that we were buying, showed us which pantry items we needed (like flour and rice paper) and then took us through the wet market where we bought fresh (and I mean, really fresh) shrimp, sausage, beef and eggs. Because we were in such a small group – and with a local resident – the vendors and fellow shoppers were kind and helpful.
Rose Cooking Class Hanoi Kitchen
We arrived at the French-era villa armed with all of the ingredients needed to make our meal. After taking the food into the kitchen, we were offered cold beverages (an unlimited supply of water, Coke and local beer) and the opportunity to relax in the villa garden while our chef made a few final preparations.
The air-conditioned workspace had room for 8 participants, plus the chef. Around a large table, we each had a wood block cutting board, chopping knife, food grater, clean apron and hand towel. Because we were around the table – with the chef at the head of the table by the stove top – we could work as a group to prepare the meal.
Vietnamese Cooking: Food Prep
Dressed in our matching aprons, our chef quickly put us to work chopping and preparing the necessary vegetables, herbs and spices. As we worked, she explained the important elements of Vietnamese cuisine: Sour, Bitter, Sweet, Spicy and Salty – and described the Vietnamese cooking theory of Yin-Yang Balance.
After slicing and dicing, we were instructed how to prepare the rest of the meal. We learned about making broth for Pho and created a nutty mushroom pate-like paste for the vegetarian Bahn Mi. For Banh Xeo, we made the batter from scratch and stir-fried the fragrant filling, which included both sausage and shrimp. When it was time to make the sizzling pancakes, we each had a turn at the stove, where we grilled and filled the pancake to perfection!
Feasting: The Highlight of Vietnamese Cooking Classes
While the chef and attending staff plated each dish, we took a short break in the garden. When the food was ready, we re-entered the aromatic kitchen; our workspace table had been converted to a dining room table topped with a feast. Our chopping blocks had been replaced with plates and chairs ringed the table.
Before we began feasting, our chef taught us how to use herbs to enhance our bowls of Pho and the proper way of using a spoon and chopsticks (and a lot of slurping) to consume it. She explained the flavors we used in the Banh Mi sandwiches – and how they worked together. Then, she showed us the complicated (but oh-so-worth-it) method of eating Banh Xeo – a dish that now ranks as one of my top 5 things to eat in Vietnam.
We ate and we ate…and we ate. We kept eating, until we couldn’t take another bite. Then, it was time for our Egg Coffee. After vigorously whipping the yolks, we spooned the thick cream on top of the coffee. Our chef instructed us how to properly mix the tasty concoction (and, later in the week, when I visited Giang Cafe where Egg Coffee originates from, I drank it like a pro!).
Vietnamese Cuisine Recipes
Before being shuttled back to the Old Quarter (using private Grab taxi drivers, because the van was already out picking up the participants for the afternoon class), we received an email from the cooking school containing the recipes of the dishes we made. The best part was that they gave us recipes for all of the most iconic Vietnamese dishes (including vegetarian Vietnamese food, too!).
Why I Loved Rose Kitchen Hanoi Cooking School
I left the class completely full – of delicious food and knowledge, too. The meal at Rose Kitchen Cooking Class in Hanoi was one of the best and most memorable meals I had in Vietnam.
While there are many Vietnam cooking tours to choose from, I think Rose Kitchen offers the best cooking class in Hanoi. Below are the highlights of what I loved best about the Hanoi cooking class tour.
Small Group and Personalized Attention
Because Rose Kitchen teaches their Hanoi cooking course to small groups, each participant gets personalized attention. I also loved that we worked around the table as a group, as opposed to classic classroom style with the teacher in front, facing the class.
Singles, Couples, Friends, Family Cooking Class
The relaxed vibe and villa setting create a charming atmosphere that is suitable to a wide range of participants – from singles to couples to families and groups of friends. Despite coming from different places, we immediately felt chemistry in our group.
Professional Chef and Delicious Food
Our chef was simply amazing. A true professional, but not at all rigid, she easily adapted to our requests, answered our questions and taught us her passion. She was at ease working with our group…and helping us to work as a group.
Of course, actually eating the food was the true highlight of the class! The meal surpassed all of my expectations. In fact, since the class, I have searched for Banh Xeo that is as good as what we made…but to no avail. I guess I’ll just have to keep looking…or go back to Rose Kitchen for another class!
Best Cooking Class Hanoi
If you are looking for a Hanoi Cooking Class, I can – without a doubt – recommend Rose Kitchen. The professionalism, class setting, quality ingredients and attention to detail make it the best cooking class in Hanoi! Reserve your spot!
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