Taking part in a cooking class in Hoi An is not only a fun activity but also offers great insight into the local culinary culture. In addition to learning awesome recipes, you get to make delicious food and memories to last a lifetime. Here are the best cooking classes in Hoi An.
1. Red Bridge Cooking School
Red Bridge Cooking School is one of the most established names in Hoi An when it comes to cooking classes, offering classes now for over 10 years. Daily, they offer a classic half-day tour and a deluxe full-day tour of Hoi An’s colorful central market and other areas. There’s also a night tour at their sister restaurant, Hai Cafe. Red Bridge is located a little out of town, in a romantic riverside setting — the perfect backdrop to enjoy a meal you just learned to cook. By the way, after a delicious family-style meal, you can jump into the pool.
The tours include a walk through the picturesque Tra Que Herb Garden and a leisurely river cruise. The tours differ when it comes to overall time, meaning you get to spend more time enjoying the activities and the dishes you prepare in the full-day tour. The tours are priced at USD$33 for the half day and USD$55 for the full day. Children under seven years of age may join the tour free of charge.
Hai Café, run by the same owners of Red Bridge, offers an introductory-level cooking class in the evenings, right in the heart of the Ancient Town, in a gorgeous heritage building with a lovely courtyard as a backdrop. The class is only USD$30 and makes for a perfect alternative to dinner at a restaurant.
2. Tra Que Waterwheel Organic Farm Cooking Class
Tra Que Vegetable Garden is an organic herb and vegetable village located two kilometers northeast of Hoi An that has existed for around 300 years. It is where all the delicious herbs and veggies used in everyday meals of Hoi An are grown. Tra Que Water Wheel restaurant is located right in the heart of the village — a traditional Vietnamese house from where you can watch farmers with their Vietnamese conical hats tend to their produce in absolute tranquility.
In this tour, after exploring the central market, you get on two wheels and cycle through the garden. You can also get down and dirty — but first, get into some farmers clothes! Try your hand at fertilizing the plots, preparing the soil, planting the herbs, and watering and hoeing the vegetable beds. You’ll even get to pick some delicious greens! The tour also includes rice paper making, and, of course, the opportunity to cook a variety of healthy Vietnamese specialties. A water buffalo ride will complete the awesome day.
3. Green Bamboo Cooking School
Green Bamboo Cooking School is the ideal cooking class and was opened in 2010 by Ms. Van, the perfect hostess. She differentiates her class from some of the more established players by offering a more personalized cooking class experience. Ms. Van runs the show herself and openly shares her knowledge about Vietnam and its cuisine in a very friendly and relaxed setting.
After visiting the market, she will invite you over to her own home and kitchen to cook together and then enjoy your meal family-style, with absolutely no rush and lots and lots of chatter. Her home is located right by Cua Dai beach, so you could enjoy a gorgeous sunset after your meal.
4. My Grandma’s Home Cooking
My Grandma’s Home Cooking is a good option if you’re looking to learn recipes that are more traditional and have not changed with the times. Your hostesses are Thom and Phuong, who welcome you to their own home, located on an island just outside Hoi An, where you will learn to prepare central Vietnamese cuisine as it has been traditionally prepared by their grandmother.
The tour will begin with a boat ride to the village where Thom and Phuong were raised, and you will get to interact with the friendly locals and visit their aromatic gardens and learn about spices, herbs, and vegetables used daily in their dishes. Afterward, you will cook with the ingredients you learned about and also learn how to adapt these Vietnamese recipes back home with ingredients that are readily available to you.
Once you have enjoyed your delicious meal, you will leave with a gift: a collection of recipes of the dishes you learned to prepare. And a bonus, grandma will make an appearance at some point too. The tour can be combined with a cycling tour. Overall, a brilliant experience of Vietnamese culture and cuisine.
5. Taste Vietnam – Ms. Vy’s Cooking classes
Ms. Vy is the owner of a few restaurants — Cargo, Morning Glory, and Vy’s Market, all of which have raving reviews from even the most discerning of customers. She is also behind some of the town’s most successful cooking classes but no longer runs them herself.
At Taste Vietnam, all sorts of classes are offered — some for those casual foodies looking to dabble in a bit of cooking, others for more serious amateurs, and for more professional chefs. While Ms. Vy doesn’t run her classes, she has a great team on the job that is more than competent. Classes are run in a training facility upstairs at Vy’s Market restaurant, where you can expect nothing but professional facilities and training.
6. Hoi An Eco Cooking Class
Hoi An Eco Cooking Class is full of fun activities! Not only do you get to learn to cook the best Vietnamese dishes, but you really get to enjoy experiencing the local lifestyle: Bargaining at the local market, learning about ingredients, traveling by boat, and riding a basket boat (check this video out!), joining race competitions, catching fish, and visiting a coconut tree forest — these will all be part of your day!
The dishes cooked in this class are also diverse — goi cuon (fresh rice paper rolls), nom hua chuoi (banana flower salad), bun thit nuong (grilled pork vermicelli noodles), and banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake) are some examples that are included in the menu. Chop, cook, stir, and learn to roll in this truly authentic experience.
7. For tourists who love nature and the environment: LEMON BASIL COOKERY
If you want to see how vegetables in Hoi An are grown and sold, this LEMON BASIL COOKERY cooking class will bring you back to the countryside to experience Hoi An cuisine in its own right. The itinerary begins at Cam Chau market, a colorful rural market with a variety of agricultural products from the fields and vegetable gardens nearby.
Explore the markets with buckets of fresh fish, baskets of fruit of all colors and sizes, baskets of freshly picked herbs, and a variety of other unique local ingredients. A tram ride will take you to Tra Que organic vegetable garden, where farmers will explain how to grow eco-friendly crops here, and help you choose the best ingredients in the garden.
After the visit to the vegetable garden, let’s board a basket boat floating along the calm canal, through the nipa forest with herds of hard-working visits, and stop at The Field restaurant. Here, you will learn how to cook delicious Vietnamese dishes in an open space in the middle of rice fields. Enjoy mincing, slicing, frying, and stir-frying under the guidance of local chefs, and enjoy your own hand-made dishes amidst the poetic scenery of the day.