Hoi An, Vietnam - Cooking Class
For the making of Hoi An beef salad at the Hai Cafe in the Old Quarter, we were first presented with the above laid out ingredients - in circular fashion in the photo above, from 9pm, wood ear, shallots, long beans, yam, carrot, chokoes, two eggs and vermicelli. The raw vegetables are cut finely to provide texture plus taste, after which they are mixed by hand - the lightly cooked vermicelli and raw eggs are then added thereafter. Grilled beef strips are put in last.
The young lady chef was purposeful and focused on the cooking demo, but also had an engaging manner to draw our attention. The class was held in English on a mid-week evening and we then consumed our prepared dishes. Hai Cafe carries out such classes in conjunction with the Red Bridge Restaurant in another part of town.
Other garnishing like mint leaves, green mango slices, coriander leaves and roasted peanuts are also utilised to garnish the salad after being combined with the original shredded ingredients.
Thinly cut slices of tender beef are marinaded with tamarind juice to provide a local touch. The salads are served individually in bowls bedded with banana leaves.
Below, the grilled fish steamed wrapped in banana leaves are served with a condiment. The fish fillets are first soaked in a marinade consisting of coriander, sugar, onions , garlic, lemongrass and surprisingly, rum.
The local variety of water spinach found in Vietnam is popularly referred to as Morning Glory and is simply stir fried before being served to accompany main meals (foreground in the photo above). Another dish we made was the spring rolls, with fresh produce wrapped tightly in wafer thin skins.