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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Hue to Hoian and Ho Chi Minh

A great spot on the Mekong for lunch

A couple of days in Hue became a historical awareness . These beautiful gentle people with a wonderful sense of humour, have endured thousands of years of battles and  two major wars in recent history.  The  ancient capitol of Vietnam, the city was under Chinese rule from 111 BC and the history is prevalent. Lots of Chinese influence in their architecture. The French also had control  and there are many French restaurants to be found. I feel though they are finally establishing their own "modern" Vietnamese identity and are very proud of it.
As we travel south, the food becomes spicier and each city claims to have the best pho or noodle soup.
Our cooking class in Hue was in a beautiful garden setting. The markets in Hue and Hoian, also an ancient town were similar, but each offered slightly different produce. Each of the markets are frequented every day by locals so there are also many cooking utensils on offer.
Unfortunately I don't have enough luggage space to bring it all back !
Sophistication is far from every day life, yet these softly spoken humorous people  bring service to a whole new level. Proud and eager to please every dining experience puts western service to shame.
We loved the glamorous, Ly Club and Nam Pham for the food, ambience and architecture.
The Ho Chi Minh cooking school took us to a whole new level. We drove for an hour to the outskirts of the city to a rural farm owned and operated by a Vietnamese chef who also owns a restaurant in Melbourne. We were given a guided tour of the farm and picked our herbs and vegetables for the class. The chef who is also a doctor regaled us with many medicinal remedies, for very herb we collected. All stories were told with a great command of the english language. The lake on the farm is thanks to the Americans who bombed the area in the war and now full of water, the crater provides them with fish.
So they say thank you America !
We ate, we drank,  we shopped,we laughed and learnt.
I am very excited about the next culinary adventure to Vietnam in March 2015
Market ladies with their fresh produce

The beautiful handmade ceramic artwork on the wall leading into our cooking class at Ancient Hue
The garden setting for our cooking class

Ancient woman with her produce

Happy students

Making rice paper sheets for fresh spring rolls

Japanese bridge in Hoian

Picking our produce for Ho Chi Minh cooking class
A final row down the canals of the Mekong

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