Cooking and Culture in Southeast Asia
Hanoi, Hoi An, Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam); Siem Reap (Cambodia)
About the location: Vietnam is a vibrant and diverse land with three main geographic regions, each of which you will visit during your unique Vietnam cooking tour: the temperate north, the dry central region, and the tropical south. Vietnam's history and culture are fascinating, and its many centuries of Chinese rule, independent Vietnamese dynasties, and French colonial rule are on ready display in its architecture, cuisine, and culture. For many Americans, the idea of Vietnam has been frozen in 1975 with the fall of South Vietnam and subsequent unification following the Vietnam War. The last couple decades have, however, seen Vietnam's economy grow, its place among other developing nations be solidified, and its tourism industry boom. Its cuisine, known throughout the world for its complex flavors and emphasis on fresh vegetables and herbs, is said to combine the fundamental tastes of spicy, sour, bitter, salty, and sweet in every delectable bite.
Lying to the west of Vietnam is Cambodia, your other destination during this amazing Southeast Asian culinary vacation. A fertile and predominantly rural country, life there still revolves around the family, the village, the rice fields, and the local Buddhist temple. A majority of the Cambodians are Khmer, but minority groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, and Chams. During your Cambodian cooking school tour, you will visit Siem Reap, an intriguing city that boasts Chinese-style and colonial architecture and is the gateway to the Angkor region, home to some of the most amazing temples in Southeast Asia.
Your accommodations during your stay in Southeast Asia will be in 4-star or 4-star superior hotels with private bathrooms. Whether in Hanoi or Saigon, Hoi An or Siem Reap, the hotels are ideally located and often offer amazing views.
About the cooking lessons: You will experience three very different cooking lessons during your culinary itinerary. Your first lesson on the Vietnam cooking tour portion of the vacation will feature a market visit in Hoi An and a cooking course at the Red Bridge Cooking School, where you will learn the art of Vietnamese cooking, including an introduction to Vietnamese food carving. Your second cooking class will be at the home of a local farmer, where you will learn traditional Vietnamese family fare. Finally, you will end your culinary vacation with a special Cambodia cooking school course featuring a Khmer market visit and a lesson on Cambodian cuisine.