Cooking and Cycling in Hoi An.

The weather in Hoi An had turned for the worse with heavy rain the previous evening and was forecast to continue through today so we sacked off our plans to do a cycle tour and signed up to a cooking class instead. This was run by our hotel the Lantana Boutique Riverside Hotel and we met our guide in the lobby.

We started by being driven out to the farmers’ fields where we walked through the crops and learnt what was being grown and what the locals used it for. There were workers out tending to the land which was a great way to start the day.P1020359 1P1020360 1

Next we were taken to the local food market and wandered up and down between the packed stalls picking the produce we would be using in our dishes later on. Our guide talked us through some of the more exotic items on sale.P1020364 1

Our final destination was back at the hotel where they were setting up a cooking station in the dining room. To give the staff time to prepare everything we would need we were sent down to the spa for a quick foot massage each and then when we returned all the ingredients and utensils were laid out ready.P1020381 1

We made 3 dishes- spring rolls, a ceramic pot cooked marinated pork and beef pho. As we cooked we were taught the techniques and uses for the ingredients. Then was the best part- the tasting. We had both been looking forward to trying pho and this was definitely my favourite dish of the three. After this we thanked our guide and cooking instructors and they gave us the recipes to take with us, which was a lovely touch, meaning we could recreate the food at home.P1020407 1P1020422 1

In the afternoon the weather had cleared a little so we hired bikes from the hotel and rode into the old town to get to the market for Fraser’s first suit fitting. It was there ready and waiting for us and looked really nice with just a few sizing adjustments required. We were asked to give them a couple of hours to make these so we set off to explore the town more.

We were shocked to find the whole street that ran along the river bank through the Old Town was completely underwater, we hadn’t realised the rain was that bad! Thankfully not too many of the businesses along the street had been too badly affected as many of them were still open and trading as usual.P1020433 1

We stopped for an ice-cream and then a drink (and cake) back at the cargo club where we had brunch the day before. Then we went back and picked up the finished suit which was amazing, just like the one we had seen on the mannequin outside the shop and fitted Fraser perfectly.P1020465 1P1020506 1P1020509 1

By this time the night market had opened on the opposite side of the river so we crossed and Fraser found a barbers to get his hair cut. We parked our bikes outside here then went on foot to explore. The first things we came to were the famous lantern stalls that feature in so many Instagram feeds (and now ours too). With the sun set they were beautiful and so we quickly snagged some for ourselves (well we do have a new house to furnish)! There were also plenty of other trinkets on sale including awesome pop-up cards that were perfect for Christmas cards for people back at home.P1020530 1P1020546 1

Once we’d looked around, we cycled back to our hotels for our massages that had come within our nightly room rate which finished off an awesome day.

Taking a cooking class was not something that appealed to me before the trip (I hate cooking) but actually I really enjoyed myself and would highly recommend, it really felt like we were connecting with the local culture. The bikes are a great way to get around within Hoi An and again I would definitely recommend doing this whilst in the area. Hoi An is such a charming city and is both pretty and historical and was my favourite place I’d visited so far in Vietnam.P1020520 1

What are your favourite things to do in Hoi An? Is it somewhere you would like to go?

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