Vietnam is famed for its fabulous food. With this in mind, it is no surprise that cookery classes are one of the most popular activities for visitors to Ho Chi Minh City. The down side is that the market is saturated - and with most tour agencies offering you to try your hand at the cuisine it is often difficult to find the best bang for your buck.
Lucky, then, that we stumbled upon the rather amazing Hoa Tuc restaurant in the upmarket Hai Ba Trung area of District 1. This is not only a rather wonderful restaurant offering the best in contemporary Vietnamese cuisine, but it is also home to the Saigon Cooking Class.
Goi Ga Bap Chuoi (shredded banana blossom salad to you and me)
It was my friend's birthday and I decided to treat her to a morning class. We were not disappointed. In the sumptuous nouveau surroundings of the upstairs floor of an old opium den, we were given purple aprons and taught how to cook several Vietnamese classics. In between courses we had the opportunity to savour the fruits of our labour.
The Ubiquitous Pho - Vietnamese Broth (here's one I made earlier!)
Our comprehensive class covered cha gio sai (fried Saigon spring rolls with traditional nuoc mam dipping sauce), goi ga bap chuoi (shredded banana blossoms salad with chicken, peanuts and deep fried shallots presented beautifully in a banana leaf) and, of course pho-bo, the traditional Vietnamese dish of beef noodles soup. Not only that, but I now know how to cut a red hot chilli pepper into the shape of a flower - win.