11 Days Culinary, Cooking & Food Vacations in Vietnam

Cooking Vacations in Vietnam

Join a culinary tour that is a specially-designed for the intensive experience of Vietnamese cuisine. The cooking classes are held in the most authentic restaurants or schools in every destination. You will undergo in-depth learning to get the best knowledge of authentic local food with hand-on experiences. A balance-trip of culinary travel and visits the highlights of Vietnam, you will experience local identities where daily life activities integrate with hospitable people in each destination.

Highlights

  • Vietnamese cuisine
  • 3 cooking classes in restaurants
  • 3 market visits, noodle and bakery tours
  • Cycling trip, river tour, cave visit, cyclo tour
  • Boat trip and overnight in Halong Bay
  • 10 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 5 dinners
  • 10 nights accommodation

Styles


10 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
Airport transfer included: Noi Bai International Airport
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Accommodation

First Class (3-star hotels):

  • Hanoi: Hong Ngoc Dynasty Hotel (ROH) or similar
  • Halong: Grayline Cruise (Deluxe Cabin) or similar
  • Hoi An: Ancient House Resort (Garden View) or similar
  • Saigon: Sonnet Saigon Hotel (Deluxe Room) or similar

Superior Class (4-star hotels):

  • Hanoi: La Siesta Central Hotel (Executive Room) or similar
  • Halong: Dragon Pearl Junk (Deluxe Cabin) or similar
  • Hoi An: Little Central Boutique Hoi An Hotel (Grand Deluxe) or similar
  • Saigon: Grand Hotel (Premier Deluxe City Room) or similar

Deluxe Class (5-star hotels):

  • Hanoi: Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake Hotel (Overwater Pavilion Room) or similar
  • Halong: Dragon Legend Cruise (Deluxe Cabin) or similar
  • Hoi An: Hoi An Boutique Resort (Deluxe Room) or similar
  • Saigon: Sofitel Plaza Hotel (Deluxe Pool View) or similar

Program

Vietnamese food seems never fail to enchant foodies who are eager to experience vacation weeks filled with great food, cooking classes, and beautiful attractions. This 11-day Vietnam culinary tour is a fantastic way to visit the charming S-shaped country, eat delicious treats, meet hospitable locals, practice how to cook and discover top attractions in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Saigon.

From the north to the central and the south, the food tour will please you with the local food and cooking, plus lots of scenic landmarks such as Tay Phuong Pagoda, Duong Lam Village, Con Son Kiep Bac Temple, and others, which complete a vacation of joy and memory. It will definitely be enjoyable during the cooking classes in Hanoi and Saigon, in which you savor the self-cook food and receive the recipe copies to bring home for the later practice.

Surprise the chefs and other tourists alike at how great you can cook and be glad at the delicious results in a Vietnamese style. The cruising in Halong Bay is so delightful that you cherish the emerald seawater, eat fresh seafood, and enjoy exciting nightlife activities. All make up a great time in Vietnam.

Day 1: Arrival

Upon your arrival at Hanoi airport, your guide will pick you up and take you to the hotel. Take a good rest in your room or enjoy a short Hanoi city tour at night.

Accommodation in Hanoi.

Meals included: none.

Day 2: Hanoi food tour

Have breakfast with “Pho Bo” (noodle with beef) in Pho Bo Hang Dong. As a cradle where Pho came to life, Hanoi owns the most authentic taste of this noodle soup.

Visit Cafe Kinh Do for French-time bakery-making technique, unique homemade yogurt, and cakes which taste as great as in the “Indochine in Vietnam” movie of the early 90's. Go to Cafe Giang for egg coffee to enjoy the yolk added to the strong black coffee.

Take a cyclo tour to the Old Quarter to see how the Hanoians enjoy their mid-morning routines such as having breakfast on the pavements. Then, get to Chau Long Market. To further enjoy your time, get to Ngoc Ha Village which is like the Oasis in the heart of the city. The traditional village preserves village temple and communal house, and the relic of B52 wreckage left by Christmas Bombing in 1972.

Enjoy lunch with “Bun Cha” including rice vermicelli, barbecued pork, and crab spring roll. After lunch is the discovery of Banh Com (young rice cake), mixed fruit, mango sweet soup, and others.

Dinner will be prepared for you in Cha Ca La Vong.

Accommodation in Hanoi.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 3: Hanoi cooking class, city tour

Begin with the hands-on cooking class in Madam Hien of Mr. Didier Corlou. Here is a class schedule:

Traditional cooking class: 09:30 to 13:00

  • 09:30 - 10:00 Meet with a professional chef in Madam Hien, and then visit the local market. Opportunities are to identify Vietnamese food and herbs, pick up the best items, use the herbs, and more.
  • 10:15 - 13:00 Watch how the chef performs cooking, and then carry out the steps and recipe to cook food by yourself. The menu will cover 5 dishes, and you will taste your self-cooked food.

The menu

  • Vietnamese banana flower salad
  • Hanoi Nem (deep-fried spring rolls)
  • Grilled chicken with lemon leaves
  • Bun Cha (rice vermicelli with grilled pork)
  • Sautéed pumpkin branches

When class is over, come to see two local highlights: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Temple of Literature. Take time listening to the historical merits and the irreplaceable importance of these two attractions. Then, relax with night Water Puppet Show. The traditional life of people in the Red River Delta region will be nicely performed on the water stage.

Accommodation in Hanoi.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch.

Day 4: Excursions, food taste/lunch

Start a great journey to the Red River Delta to see it peaceful, traditional, and charming. You will visit Tay Phuong Pagoda, one of Vietnam’s 10 most beautiful pagodas. Erected on the hill summit, this Pagoda is known for the Buddha and Arhat statues of the 17th century and the historical architecture. Also, the peaceful and spectacular landscape can calm all visitors’ minds.

Drive to Duong Lam Ancient Village in which lots of hundred-year-old houses are well-preserved and valued. Called “the Hoi An of the Red River Delta”, this village cheers you up with the pleasant waking on the small antique alleys, the visit to the communal house in Mong Phu hamlet whose entrance gate has the intact architecture.

Next, the group will proceed to a tofu marking factory to know how the locals run their family business. When it comes to lunch, enjoy the home-hosted meal with a local family who is likely to introduce the soybean sauce to you and urge you to try. Then return to Hanoi to enjoy your free time.

Accommodation in Hanoi.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch.

Day 5: Excursions, lunch, cooking class

Take a scenic drive through Red River Delta to Halong Bay. You will be transferred by a tender to Indochina Sails. Enjoy the welcome drink, and then move to the dining room for brief introductions about the safety and boat orientation plus detailed itinerary.

Have free time. At around 13:00, lunch will be served; it is a multi-course Vietnamese and Western set menu. Any dietary requirement will be supported. The cruise will be heading to Bai Tu Long Bay. The most captivating and tranquil corners will be present. Visit the beautiful Cua Van Fishing Village. Choose kayaking or boat trip on the sampan to get around the charming attraction.

Return to the cruise and have free time. Join the cooking class. The chef will demonstrate the cooking of traditional Vietnamese food. Taste the yummy food. Also catch the double-happy hours (between 18:00 and 19:00), enjoy “buy one get one free drink” program. Around 19:30, the appetizing dinner buffet will be offered. Then, be further pleased with the second double-happy hours, between 21:00 and 22:00. Nightlife will be wonderful with board games, playing cards, massage, and squid fishing.

Overnight on the cruise.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 6: Excursions

Start a healthy day with morning coffee, tea, breakfast pastries and especially the Tai Chi lessons at around 07:00. Approximately 45 minutes later, land in Ti Top Island. It will take 1 hour to walk around the beach and then ascend the steps to the panoramic peak. Enjoy the marvelous 360-degree sightseeing of the legendary Bay. After climbing, take time unwinding by the beach by simply relaxing on the soft sand bank, swimming, or listening to the rhythms of the waves.

In the next minutes, you will be back to the cruise to prepare your luggage and have a rich breakfast buffet. The rest of the time on board will be free. At around 11:00, disembark and come back to Hanoi. The return drive includes a stop in Con Son Kien Bac Temple, Hai Duong, the birthplace of Nguyen Trai - a famous character in Vietnamese history. After that, you will be driven to Noi Bai International Airport for the departure flight to Da Nang City. Next, upon arrival at the airport, you will move to Hoi An City, and finish the hotel check-in.

Accommodation in Hoi An.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch.

Day 7: Hoi An cooking class

Tour to the dynamic fish market that sells the very fresh fish. Then join Hoi An cooking class in The Market Restaurant. Before the chef’s cooking demonstrations, enjoy another tour to the local market to understand a variety of ingredients and spices used in Vietnam. Visit street food counters and eat Vietnamese sandwich, noodle soup, rice flour crepes, grilled rice paper, and especially the “Cao Lau” noodle. The cooking class lasts around 2.5 hours, with the live cooking demonstrations and the hands-on experiences. Enjoy the self-cooked dishes.

You will cook the following dishes: (for vegetarians, replacement ingredients will be provided)

  • Cabbage leaf parcels shrimp mousse in broth
  • BBQ chicken and lime leaves
  • Mango salad with prawns
  • Hoi An pancakes with pork, prawns, and bean sprouts

Next, travel to Tra Que Herb Village known for growing organic herbs. Discover a local bread-making factory, and then eat the Vietnamese sandwich in Banh My Phuong - the top address voted by Chef Anthony Bourdain. Go to coffee shops to drink strong Vietnamese coffee. After coffee time will be another market tour. Later, dinner will be served with chicken rice and “Cao Lau” noodle.

Accommodation in Hoi An.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch.

Day 8: Hoi An city tour

Use your free morning to take a Hoi An tour, go shopping in local tailor shops, or simply take a good rest in the hotel. And if you go out, taste the local street food, including the unique Cao Lau noodle and the chicken rice which are perfect for lunchtime.

Take a cyclo tour to Cam Nam Bridge and Cam Nam Village. The cycle will stop at the flattering corners for photography so that you will create the fantastic photo albums, including the records about local activities and landscapes on Thu Bon River. And when you reach another riverside, it is time for another photograph stop to capture the stunning Hoi An Old Town. Reach the intact village where shelters the friendly and amicable residents. Take time relishing the peace in the village. Going on, you will see the small canal beautified by the water coconut trees, from which an exciting boat trip will begin.

Embark a wooden boat and start cruising on Thu Bon River. Cruising delivers deep insights into the local lifestyle and livelihood by fishing, catching clam, and farming. Around sunset, get back to Hoi An.

Accommodation in Hoi An.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch.

Day 9: Excursions, dinner

This morning, you will say goodbye to Da Nang. Get to the airport to take a flight to Saigon. Arriving at Saigon, visit the city historical landmarks namely Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Central Post Office. While photography is awesome, history is a great subject to learn.

Lunch will be served in Indochine Restaurant. After lunch is the discovery of China Town (Cho Lon), Thien Hau Pagoda, and the street where “The Lover” movie was filmed with lots of lovely cafeterias. Do worshipping by burning the incense in Thien Hau Pagoda if you like, and then enjoy the coffee in any local shop that appeals to your interest.

Next, you will walk to the street filled with lots of brightly colored decorative products made from paper. And then, expect to see Binh Tay Market which is a very historical wholesale market founded by a wealthy Chinese man in 1930. The market atmosphere is bustling with lots of residents selling and buying, and it’s quite interesting to witness the age-old architecture of the site.

Authentic local dinner will be prepared for you in NGON Restaurant.

Accommodation in Saigon.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 10: Saigon cooking class

Get a cooking session with the Vietnam Cookery Center. The morning class will start with a short tour of the well-known Ben Thanh Market. The one-hour market visit will guide you on how to choose the meat, seafood, vegetables, herbs, and fruits. Then get back to the Vietnam Cookery Center.

During a few hours, you will become a great cook in spite of having no previous cooking experience. It is the hands-on practice and learning of the Vietnamese cuisine art that aid the foreigners in cooking the Vietnamese food and even reproducing them in their places with the recipe copies. The menu will include salad, local soup, braised fish or braised pork. After the practice is the rewarding time when you eat your self-cooked food as well as the restaurant-prepared feast.

When you are done with the cooking class, the afternoon is your free time to go shopping or explore Saigon on your own. As a sleepless city, Saigon will always excite you with the dynamic nightlife in the local night market, bars, pubs, entertainment establishments, etc. It will be an exhilarating night in an exciting city that you never forget.

Accommodation in Saigon.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch.

Day 11: Departure

You will have a free morning to enjoy at leisure until the transfer time to Tan Sơn Nhat International Airport for the your departure flight. Tour finished.

Meals included: breakfast.

Included excursions

Cultural tour and cycling trip in Tay Phuong and Duong La (day 4)

Drive to Tay Phuong, one of ten most beautiful pagodas in Vietnam. Located on the top of the hill, this pagoda is very famous about the collection of Buddha and Arhat statues from 17th century and great architecture.

Then, take 45-minute bike ride the rural area around Pagoda through green rice field, local villages. It will be the great chances for you to discover the daily life activities in the Red River Delta, interact to local people and feel the real atmosphere of rural area.

After that, back to the car for driving to the ancient village of Duong Lam, the place so called Hoi An of the Red River Delta as still preserve many hundred-year-old houses.

It will be your unique experience as you walk along tiny ancient alleys, visit Communal House in Mong Phu hamlet - the only hamlet whose original village entrance gate remains intact, dedicated to national heroes.

This is a typical Northern Vietnam village with its nice architecture. You can visit a local tofu making factory then enjoy the home hosted lunch at a local family (Mr Huyen home). The house owner will explain to you the process and see a specialty tuong (sauce made from soybean and special sticky rice) which Northern Vietnam rural family use often for the daily dishes.

River cruise tour in Halong Bay (day 5)

Upon arrival to Halong, embark to our junk.

Receive cruise briefing and check in to cabins and begin cruise. Passage into the picturesque Dragon descending to the sea Bay has 1,969 limestone islets rising from the sea, many of them containing beautiful grottoes.

Enjoy lunch with deluxe Vietnamese and International Set Menu.

Cruise to Titop Island where you can take a short trek to a nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay dotted with our Junk, go swimming on a quite beach or sunbathing on the sundeck.

Transfer back to the boat and sail for approximately 45 minutes to the second destination - the Bat Cave area.

Upon arrival, you can either take a 40-minute kayaking program to the nearby Bat Cave and lagoon and surrounding waters (kayaking is available unless already booked as part of your package) or visit the largest floating fishing village in Halong Bay with opportunity to interact with fish men who have been living in the bay for almost three generations.

We will travel to the village on the tender and tour the village for approximately 20 minutes.

Back on board, enjoy cocktails while watching sunset before dinner.

In the evening, you can watch the famous Indochina Movie in the dining room or join squid fishing from the boat with the crew.

Depending on weather conditions, we can travel by tender and you will be able to board the squid boat and see how the local fishermen catch squid and other fish.

Halong Ba River cruise trip and Tho Ha Village trip (day 6)

Greet the day with a morning Tai Chi exercise with an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay Coffee, tea and breakfast pastries served in the dining room.

Cruise to surprise cave area then transfer to the cave by tender.

This is one of two most beautiful caves in Halong Bay with great collection of stalagmites and stalactites in the beautiful space. It is really a wonder of nature.

Back to the boat for a final glimpse of the Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock with set menu or buffet Brunch served in the dining room.

On the way back to Hanoi, visit Tho Ha the famous village of terracotta products before 20th century.

Discover village through narrow and zigzag alleys with the old houses had been constructed from broken part of terracotta from the past.

Walking over village cemetery to the dike, where you can see the village from distance over the beautiful lake.

Cyclo trip and boat tour in Hoi An (day 8)

Afternoon depart for the cyclo trip to Cam Nam Village (this is exclusive discovery feature of ICT). The cyclo will take you from the town to Cam Nam Bridge.

You will have the first stop for the photo opportunity of the activities and scenery on the Thu Bon River. Then the cyclo will take you along the Thu Bon River bank, where you can have another photo stop for panorama view of Hoi An from other side of river.

You will ride along the riverside and cycle through local villages of Cam Nam. This is untouched area by tourism with very friendly and hospitable local people. You can see their daily life activities or even viewing the interior of their house and their life through always opened doors.

The cyclo trip will be ended at green small canal covered by water coconut trees.

Embark on the boat and take a cruise to Thu Bon River where you can experience the local daily life along river, such as fishing, farming, and catching clam. etc.

Location

You will be visiting the following destinations: Hanoi, Tay Phuong, Duong Lam, Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, Hoi An and Saigon.

Food

Foodie tour in Hanoi (day 2)

  • Take a short walk to a typical market around the city that supply food for the regular meal of local people.
  • Then, take the walk through the Old Quarter of Hanoi, where you can feel the traditional atmosphere of the most attractive part in Hanoi and witness local people enjoy their breakfast on the pavement along the ride.
  • Experiences a bowl of Pho bo (noodle with beef) at Pho Bat Dan or Pho Bo Hang Dong (subject to the availability of the restaurant) - famous typical Northern Vietnam Pho. In that Pho local traditional restaurant, people should wait in line and pay and get their own bowl of Pho.
  • After that Pho breakfast, you can visit nearby Lo Banh pho Ba Ngoan (noodle factory Mrs. Ngoan) to see the process of noodle making (no additives).
  • Mrs. Ngoan had made noodle since 1954 at the same address and now her daughter in law inherit the factory. This noodle factory provide noodle to all of the famous Pho places around Hanoi. The Pho place and the visit to the factory are really special. All the chefs going with us loved it.
  • Then, you will continue waking tour around the Old Quarter, our guide will introduce to you some of the authentic local food like Banh Cuon (steam rice pancake rolled with mince perk and mushroom), Cha Ca La Vong (the most famous and authentic local food in Hanoi), enjoy some coffee in local coffee shop followed by Bun cha lunch (Vermicelli with grilled pork - another Hanoi famous street food - Bun Cha Dac Kim Duong Thanh).

Cooking class in Hanoi (day 3)

  • This morning, you will have the opportunity to take a cooking class at La Verticale with Mr.Didier Corlou. The first class will focus in traditional cooking starts from 09:30 and ends at 13:00.
  • From 09:30 to 10:00 you will be meeting with Chef at La Verticale and undergo market visit.
  • From 10:15 to 13:00, a demonstration will be presented to you and do food tasting with 5 dishes.

Vietnamese cuisine sample menu (day 3)

  • Bun cha
  • Grilled chicken with lemon leaves
  • Hanoi nems (deep fried spring rolls)
  • Sauted pumpkin branches
  • Vietnamese banana flower salad

Fish market and herb village tours (day 7)

  • In the morning, you will visit the very impressive and busy fish market near Hoi An. The market is for wholesales for the best fish in the area that have been caught at night on the sea and sill so fresh.
  • After that, visit to Tra Que herb village near Hoian. This village very famous for growing organic herb for supplying to Hoi An. You will interact with local farmer their and learn about different kind of herb and the way how they grow them.

Cooking class (day 7)

  • You will go to Morning Glory Restaurant for cooking class with Ms. Vy followed by lunch.
  • You will start with a 1-hour market tour to learn about Vietnamese ingredients and how to choose fresh foods.
  • Next is a short talk on the art of Vietnamese gastronomy, vegetables, and herbs and spices as well as how to prepare and use them.
  • The practical includes learning cooking and cutting techniques and how to use a Vietnamese vegetable grater and knife. You will get hands-on experience on the menu below.

Vietnamese cuisine sample menu (day 7)

  • Crispy pancake
  • Fresh spring rolls and shrimp
  • Green papaya salad
  • Grilled tuna in banana leave

Cultural and foodie tour in Saigon (day 9)

  • Take tour to Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Central Post office upon arrival in Saigon.
  • In the afternoon, you will take you to visit Cho Lon - the biggest whole sales market in Saigon then visit Thien Hau Pagoda - where you can see hundreds of local people come to worship for their health, luck and happiness.
  • Enjoy the authentic Vietnamese coffee in local coffee shop in the typical street of China Town where the famous French Movie The Lover had been filmed.

Cooking class in Saigon (day 10)

  • This morning, you have a cooking class with Vietnam Cookery Center.
  • An accompanied tour to the spectacular Ben Thanh market 1 hour before the class.
  • During the market visit, you will describe the classic Vietnamese produce, from fruit and vegetables, to meats and seafood. You will learn how to recognize the different Vietnamese ingredients and be guided in their application.
  • Continue with a hands-on initiation to the Vietnamese Cuisine Art, giving you the opportunity not only to learn how to cook them and reproduce them once you return to your home country, but also to taste our delicious dishes. Even inexperienced cook can create tasty dishes within a few hours. The menu would be salad, one local soup, braised fish or pork.
  • Enjoy the food you prepare for yourself and by the restaurant.

What's included

  • Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle with driver
  • Air ticket Hanoi-Danang, Danang-Saigon
  • 10 nights accommodation
  • Meals and cooking classes as mentioned above
  • English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fee to indicated sights
  • Water puppet show

What's not included

  • Additional meals
  • Tips
  • Drinks
  • International flights and airport tax
  • Single room supplement
  • Personal expenses
  • Insurance

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Book your flight to arrive at Noi Bai International Airport (HAN). Transfer from the airport is included. The organizer will pick you up from the airport.

Airport: Noi Bai International Airport Airport transfer included: Noi Bai International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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