Vietnam Day Sixteen

After our big day around the DMZ we had a little bit of a sleep in. Not much tho as we were getting picked up for our cooking tour. Our pickup was at 10am so we grabbed a light breakfast and waited at the check in desk for our guide to arrive.
Our guide Threi (pronounced three, found that amusing) arrive at the hotel. She had walked all the way from the restaurant to the hotel. She had left her phone at the restaurant so we called for a cab and got on our way.
The first stop was the markets. This was a great experience. We discovered that 99% of the people in Vietnam buy their food each day. They would go in for lunch, buy cook and eat and do the same for dinner. Unlike us westerners who shop once a week. This is due to fridges being so expensive they are unable to keep food cool for that long. So they shop every day.
We started just walking thru the market whilst Threi explained how the products are gathered and farmed in the country and brought in by car, motorbike or bicycle to thr city markets. We bought some onions, garlic, noodles and several other products before we headed into the seafood section.
This was a real shock, so much fresh seafood. A dinner plate sized dish full of baby squid, 50kVND that’s only 2.50AUD insane!! We picked up some fish and moved thru to the meat section. The smell was, well pungent. It was unbelievable how all this meat was, well everywhere. Being cut and prepared on slabs made from tree stumps. It was rather shocking. Health and local laws would have a field day. We got some beef bones for stock and fillets for the the soup. We continued to wonder around the market for a little more, checking out some of the stalls and more fresh produce and made our way back out to the street.
Threi asked us to wait at the front of the market whilst she ran off to get a cab to take us back to the restaurant to begin cooking. Our cab arrived after about 10mins and we were on our way. It was really hot and humid in the markets so we relaxed with a cold drink and then got started. Threi handed us an apron each and a chefs hat. This was starting to become lost of fun! I get to wear a chefs hat!!
Without going into too much detail, Threi began by explaining the menu and instructions then started to show us how to do the first part, Vietnamese Pancakes. We stood by thinking when are we going to get a shot, then she grabbed my brother and got him to begin preparing the vegies. Mum and Dad started with the sauce, and I got started on the pancake mix. Its a savoury pancake, with vegies and some seafood inside. Kind of looks like an omelette, the way it folds over. Before we knew it, they were cooked and we got to eat them, they were sooo tasty!
Next we were to make Fresh and Fried spring rolls. Not much too these really, just rice paper, onions peppers mushrooms etc. For the fresh spring rolls you stirfry the vegie mix and then spoon them onto the paper, roll them and plate them up. For the fried ones, you use fresh vegie mix and then roll them and flash fry them. Pretty simple really, and yet again tasty
Next was Pho Bo, a beef and rice noodle soup. We brought out the beef stock with the bones in it we started earlier, added some more ingredients to it for flavour. Each bowl had a small amount of rice noodles in it, and we had a platter of greens to put in after dishing it up. The beef is cut into tiny little pieces, this is due to the way we cook it. All you do is put some beef onto the ladle and cook it in the boiling stock for a few seconds, spooning the hot water over the top. Its cooked within a minute!! Amazing! Put the beef into the dish with stock for the soup and add fresh greens into the soup for flavour.
There was nothing left to cook, so we sat back enjoyed our soup and had a few drinks to wash it down with. Before we knew it, it was almost 5pm and we were exhausted. We got a cab back to the hotel and dad decided to walk. I bet he wished he didnt because it absolutely bucketed down as soon as we got to the hotel, he walked for almost an hour in torrential tropical rain! Haha suck it!
We just chilled at the hotel, got some drinks, room service and had an early night. Tomorrow we’re off to Ho Chi Minh City

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