I Made Pho, and it was Pho-king wonderful

I apologize for not blogging yesterday, I was super under the weather and stayed in bed and watched Celebrity Big Brother all day. Luckily, I had brought antibiotics with me and am starting to feel better!

Today was a pretty relaxing day, we went to the Thuan Tinh Island Cooking school to learn how to make some Vietnamese food. We booked the afternoon tour, and so slept in a little bit. At 11:30, our guide Thuy picked us up from our hotel and took us to the local market. We walked around the market and bought everything we would need for our cooking class later. After the market tour, Thuy told us that we would be the only 2 people at the cooking school for the afternoon which was awesome.

We went down to the dock to wait for our boat. Thuy told us that it was “broken” and needed to be fixed – which didn’t bother either of us as it was a beautiful day and the scenery was beautiful. Thuy was an absolute gem and surprised us with vegetable graters because she felt bad that the boat was taking so long.

The boat showed up and we were soon off to the cooking school! Upon arrival, we were shown how to make rice milk and each got to try using the mortar. Its easy to see why the Vietnamese ladies are so strong!

As soon as we got to our station, we were given passionfruit juice (the first of many of the day) and were soon learning how to make fresh spring rolls! They were definitely easier than I thought they would be, and I’ll definitely have to make them when I get home. Also, the peanut sauce was incredible. Just saying.

Next up was Vietnamese Pancakes or Bahn Xai. These were a little bit intimidating for me due to the flipping of the pancake (I’m an absolute Klutz in the kitchen) but they came off without a hitch! My only gripe with these was the amount of oil used to fry them (but we’ll chalk this one up to the fact that my parents are the the cleanest eaters around).

We then tackled Beef Noodle Soup – a simple yet super tasty dish. This one was definitely the toughest for me as the chef (Tuy) wanted us to decorate our plates with vegetables. Not my cup of tea. Hell, I can’t even draw a stick person how do you expect me to make something with vegetables.

Finally, we made some Pho. This was by far the highlight of my day and was easier than I thought it would be! The most difficult part was by far getting the spices just right for the broth! Everything was downhill after that.

After a long day we were taken back to the hotel, and we immediately crashed for a bit. After that we headed out for “dinner” (as we were still quite full from earlier) and ice cream. I finally tried White Rose – a local specialty, its a type of pork dumpling, and it was so good! I also had a Banana Pancake which was supposed to come with Nutella but didn’t, oh well. I finished it off with Pineapple and Passionfruit Sorbet. All in all it was great.

Now, I’m off to pack as we’re off to Hanoi tomorrow. I don’t think its set in that we only have a little over 3 weeks left as it still feels like an eternity, but will go by so quickly.

Good Morning Vietnam

Forgive the pun – I had to make it at least once.

After a long travel day yesterday (Phnom Penh, Cambodia –> Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam –> Da Nang, Vietnam then a short drive to Hoi An) we slept in a little and then hit the streets to explore the Ancient City of Hoi An. By the time we headed out, it was already very hot, thank god the hotel has a pool.

We spent the morning wandering around and hit a few of the museums in town (ex. The Pottery Museum) and a few gathering halls/pagodas. By noon we were both starving and headed to the Mermaid Restaurant for some Pho. It was arguably the best Pho I’ve had but the portion size was probably the smallest I’ve seen.

After lunch, we headed to a few of the old houses in town that I can’t remember the names of because they’ve all blended together in my brain. We also went to the Japanese covered bridge and walked down by the river. The highlight of my day was finding a store that sold vintage Vietnamese propaganda posters. I probably bought way too many (they’re postcard sized) but I’m over it. They’ll make cool decorations.

We were both pretty wiped from the heat so we headed back for a nap. On the way we stopped at a tailors beside our hotel. Hoi An is famous for its tailor shops so we figured we’d see what the fuss is all about. While I would love get a suit, I just don’t have the room for it.

After our nap we headed for dinner. We had read about a place called the Secret Garden and decided to try there. The food was excellent (we had beef and betel leaf) and the setting was really quite serene. After dinner, we walked around town to see it all lit up at night. It was really beautiful and reminded me of a town on the French/Italian Riviera.

We stopped at a mini mart for snacks (I’ve probably eaten by body weight in Coconut Oreos over the last 2 days) and Katelyn popped into a tailor to get a dress made. While she was doing that I headed back to the hotel to relax and work on my scrapbook.

I’m thoroughly exhausted, and these hard beds are killing me. As much as I hate to say it – I’m almost ready to come home. Watch me backpedal when I actually start heading  home…