Vietnamese Cooking with a Grilled Cheese Flair
More and more people are choosing to take cooking classes when they travel. The sheer number of misspelled Cooking School signs around Da Nang, Vietnam gives me the idea that Vietnamese cooking is hot on the culinary scene. So, being a sheep, I have joined in the foodie addiction splendour – I am officially going to take a Vietnamese cooking class.
Of course mine is run through the primary school where I teach. And caters to nine-year-olds. After school on Wednesdays my school transforms into a cooking center, complete with colourful aprons and two wonderful cooking instructors, who just happen to be my friends. By day they are a graphic designer and restaurateur. But by night (or, rather, by afternoon) they selflessly dedicate their time to teaching children the art of food. My official statement is that I’m going to classes to support the kids. Really it is because I can’t cook anything except nothing and think this might be my chance to finally learn how to boil water. We will learn things that are appropriate for small children, difficult for me. I plan on bullying all the kids’ samples away from them and stealing ingredients from the school cafeteria. Brilliant.
All this brings me to the idea of food in travel. Food for me has always been about convenience. I am a lover of fast food and don’t bother to think about nutrition. My standard meal consists of cheese, wine and maybe chocolate (all things that are difficult to find in Vietnam, but I manage). But to others food is more than a solution to a hungry problem. It’s a passion.
So alright, Foodies out there, let’s talk about food; Vietnamese food. And more importantly, where you can get it in Da Nang, Vietnam without having to make it yourself.
First up, Intercon.
Get your Fancy Pants ready (and make sure they have a wide elastic waist)! The Intercontinental Hotel, Da Nang has a champagne brunch that will leave you rolling away down their gorgeous mountainside to the even more gorgeous ocean. This is serious luxury. And serious food. When you’re in the mood to spoil yourself rotten head on up to Son Tra and pile your plate with seafood, steak and chocolate mousse all at the same time.
Silver Medal: Dirty Chicken.
While I might not know the real name of Dirty Chicken (no one seems confused by just ‘Dirty Chicken’) it serves up chicken that is both, yes, dirty and scrumptious. And cheap. Who gives a what if you’re sitting on miniature Vietnamese plastic chairs or if the toilet is less than glam? Chicken’s cheap. Beer is cheaper. And they serve everything with a side of cucumbers. I’m in!
Another goodie: Loc Chau.
Clams and cheese? Yes, please. Prawns and chilli? Give me more. Let’s throw in some morning glory (that’s a type of sea spinach, not a flower…or anything else) and, of course, cheap beer and it’s a date. (P.S. – it’s right across the road from the beach).
The fact that you are located at the end of my block is only part of the reason I love you. I would go to you even you were all the way across the Han Bridge. Maybe. The sheer weight of your enormous menu tells me I am in for a ride with the delicious. I love that you don’t judge me when I order Vietnamese noodles with a side of cheese pizza. Or when I eat an entire family sized portion of edimame by myself. The fact that nothing –from exotic Western spaghetti to delicious shrimp springrolls – cost more than three dollars tells me that we will be friends for a long time to come.
Dear Readers (Yes I know I’m just writing to my mom and boyfriend when I say “readers”),
Eat at Babylon. It’s good.
The Illusive Author of Beyond Disney Travel Tips (actually that’s still just me – Kathy)
So now that I have satisfied my obligatory post on FOOD I’m off to go eat some myself. Dirty Chicken calling in T-minus-2 minutes!.