Fully a week into our vacation, and we were relaxed! In the morning, we headed over to the Morning Glory Cooking School for our cooking class. One person took us in small groups over to the central market where we learned about local herbs, plants, fruits, and fish. Interestingly, all places in town get their food daily from the market. By noon, all the produce prices are dramatically reduced, as the quality is perceived to be diminished greatly.
After that, we came back to the cooking school where we began our class. The teacher was one of the main chefs at the restaurant who has been working there since she was just 14. She was an excellent teacher, except her English was a bit hard to understand at times (much worse, though, than my Vietnamese!). Still, Jon and I were able to successfully make five dishes: a soup with cabbage and shrimp mousse dumplings, a fresh spring roll, marinated chicken that was then grilled and served with vegetables and rice, a crispy pancake with shrimp and pork, and a nice mango salad with homemade dressing. The most interesting part, to me, was that most meats (cuts of pork, beef, etc.) are traditionally eaten with the fat still on them, as there is no dairy or other source to incorporate that taste into the diet.
We took some time in the afternoon to get some rest and then borrowed some bikes from the hotel to ride the 4 km to the nearby stretch of beach. In recent years, several resorts have sprung up along the shore but there was still a fair amount of sand available to the public. We walked along while some of the other tourists were swimming or playing games along the sand. Our next destination while we were out on bikes was an herb garden (or vegetable village, as it was translated on one map) just north of Hoi An. The sketchy directions we had led us down what I’m sure were several people’s driveways before we finally aborted the mission and rode back to town. On our way back, some screaming caught our attention, and sure enough, there was Mary waving as she’d spotted us biking by!
That evening we were back on foot and over to the market area searching for a bahn mi stand we had heard about. We weren’t able to find that specific one, but we did find a lady with a bahn mi cart who served us some delicious sandwiches for us to enjoy as we wandered the streets and grabbed some lemongrass ice cream at the Cargo Club, yum! An early flight the next morning meant turning in rather early.
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