Day 6 and 7 - Culinary skills!
Trip Start Sep 27, 2012
20Trip End Nov 06, 2012
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After breakfast (where noodles were part of the buffet but i couldn't stomach them in the morning) we picked up our tailored clothes (my new coat and shoes are lovely!!) and met up with a guide called An who took us to the local market to show us differences in Vietnamese fruits and veg. He then showed us the seafood and taught us how to judge when seafood is fresh before we buy. I picked the veg option for cooking today as I'm unlikely to make the seafood at home.
We took a lovely boat ride to the Redbridge cooking school. An first showed us around the spice garden as the school grow their own spices. I realised I really didn't like the fish plant leaves...actually smell fishy..uggghhh :( Lemon basil on the other hand smelt good
I made mango and papaya leaf salad with walnuts, rice paper tofu spring rolls, Hoi An mushroom pancake, aubergine vietnamese curry in claypot and food decoration. All the dishes were first demonstrated and each of us had a little cooking station to make the food. We then ate the food we made for lunch with a watermelon cocktail :) Delicious!!
Dinner was just dessert later in the evening followed by a local bar where the girls and I played foosball and had cocktails until midnight. The clubbing scene in Hoi An doesn't really exist (despite an ominous 'why not' bar being advertised by local motorcyclists) and Rianna had to wait for the next time!
Day 8 - Huế pronounced Ho yay)
We left at 9 after breakfast on a private bus ride to Huế. The journey was about 4 hours with beautiful mountain scenery enroute. Some history about Huế:
Huế is well known for its historic monuments, which have earned it a place in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The seat of the Nguyễn emperors was the Citadel, which occupies a large, walled area on the north side of the Perfume River. Inside the citadel was a forbidden city where only the emperors, concubines, and those close enough to them were granted access; the punishment for trespassing was death. In the Vietnam war it was classed as a demilitarised zone (DMZ) dividing north and south Vietnam
We reached Huế about 12:30 and headed out with Dave for lunch to a cute little restaurant owned by a Vietnamese family well known to backpackers. The tiles on the wall were full of backpacker graffiti (to which I added my own ) and we were each given a really cute bottle opener by Lan Thien (the owner who as mute due to his mother breathing in toxic chemicals during the war when she was pregnant).
We then went to see the imperial citadel which was the home of the king during the Nguyễn dynasty. Parts of it were being restored when we visited and it had some ancient architecture and beautiful gardens. The weather today was very hot and we were walking around a lot so were planning a late dinner at a backpacker restaurant.
The plan for tomorrow is a motorbike tour around Huế (I'm excited!) in the morning and a sleeper train to Hanoi in the afternoon :)