Asia/Indonesia, cooking classes, food diplomacy, hoi an, vietnam, living like a local, vietnam

Hoi An’s Big Ah HA — Vietnamese Cooking Class About More Than Food

In case you haven’t noticed, food is a vital part of our travel itinerary. We spend a great deal of time shopping for it, buying it, preparing it, cooking it, tasting it, photographing and videoing it, commenting on it, sharing it with others, pairing it with beer, wine or any other beverage and generally enjoying everything about it.

Our most favorite thing to do while traveling is taking cooking classes. We used to think taking these classes were all about food. Now we know better. There are loads of reasons for taking cooking classes. In Hoi An, we discovered that some of them have nothing to do with food.

Cooking classes are a great way to learn about a new area, new people, new customs, and culture. We recently took our bikes to the beach to find a geocache that was hidden near the Beach Village Restaurant. We, actually Bev, found the geocache, a new restaurant, some new friends and a new way to look at food.

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Our adventure began at the Beach Village Restaurant in Hoi An.


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Bev and her Geocache.

Bev found the geocache, of course, with a little help from the terrific waitstaff. Since we were already there , what the heck, we said, “lets see what is on the menu”.



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Grilled Scallops with Peanut Sauce.

Much to our deight, the grilled scallops with peanut sauce were amazing. As you can see, they were almost gone when we realized we needed to photograph the dish.

Naturally, we asked about the cooking classes, registered, paid, and excitedly returned to our Airbnb for the evening.

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Bev waiting patiently for class to begin.

The class was to begin at 10. We grabbed our bikes and were there well ahead of schedule. We were greeted by Chef Dong, whose family runs two restaurants, the cooking school, and some fishing boats as well. There is a wonderful heart warming story here, unfortunately there isn’t enough space to tell it. Suffice it to say, the whole family is involved and couldn’t be more happy.

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We began with a table full of the freshest of the fresh — Red Snapper, Shrimp, Pork, veggies, spices, oils, tofu, and really sharp knives. The lunch menu consisted of Grilled Aubergines in Peanut Sauce, Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls, Pork Satay on Lemongrass , Sauteed Tofu and Veggies, and Red Snapper steamed to perfection.
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Chef Dong has a great sense of humor and cooking style. No pans thrown today, only praise, laughter and joy in his kitchen.

We have learned so much from taking cooking classes. Not about food and food preparation either. We have learned about the place we are visiting, the people, the customs, the culture. As much as we love cooking and eating, the best reason to take cooking classes is the people. We have made new friends in each of our classes. Today it was Andreas and Susan, originally from Germany, now living the Expat life in Shanghai.

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Following our lunch, Andreas, Susan, Bev, and I sat and chatted about Germany, China, U.S.A, work, immigration, politics, and living as expats, for nearly two hours. It was all facinating, informative and great fun. These are new friends for life.

No matter where we go, we inevitably meet another person or couple, spend some time with them, laugh alot, learn alot, and realize just how similar we are, and how much we have in common. We should all practice food diplomacy more often.

See you on the road.

Bev & John


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Since 2017 Bev and John have visited more than 10 countries and 30 cities while making it possible for some wonderful home owners to go on holiday and not have to worry one little bit about their homes or their beloved animals.

Since 2017 Bev and John have visited

Caring for two dogs in a small village in a foreign country can be daunting. But, not for us. We have done it before, As International Trusted House Sitters we get to make new friends with all sorts of critters. The best part, however, is making new human friends.
We have rented our home and gotten rid of most of our “stuff”  so we could explore the world, unencumbered.  Join us as we explore how to live like locals without it costing a fortune.
About Bev & John
We have rented our home and rid ourselves of most of our “collection of stuff” so we could explore the world, unencumbered. Join us as we learn how to live like locals, throughout the world, without it costing a fortune.
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