Cooking Class at The Saigon Culinary Art Center

The large classroom/dining room was for another group, but it was very colorful.
The large classroom/dining room was for another group, but it was very colorful.

2/18/15
A lovely, private cooking class with just three of us. We had pho ga (chicken noodle soup), grilled pork, rice (in rice molds, my favorite part of the meal), a colorful salad and fresh pineapple for dessert. Tasty, healthy and enough food I may not eat the rest of the day.

Our chef was 26 years old and from Sapa, but he's moved his family here to Ho Chi Minh City, working at the International Hotel 5-6 days a week and teaching 2 days a week for the last 6 years. "No time for girlfriend. No money for girlfriend. Yet!" he smiles.
Our chef was 26 years old and from Sapa, but he’s moved his family here to Ho Chi Minh City. He’s managed it by working at the International Hotel 5-6 days a week and teaching 2 days a week for the last 6 years. “No time for girlfriend. No money for girlfriend!” And then he smiles, “Yet!”

Making the soup gets a bit complicated, but I can share the salad recipe:

I even made the little carrot roses!
I even made the little carrot roses!

Vegetable Salad with pork and shrimp
Shred or julienne:
• Carrot
• White onion
• Cucumber
• Red pepper or chili pepper (seeds removed)
• Tomato (we didn’t use any)
• Mint
• Cilantro and/or basil
• Pineapple

Top with 2 boiled and peeled shrimp and a few slices of cooked pork. These have been marinated in:
• 1T sugar
• 1T lime juice
• 1T fish sauce
• 1t chopped garlic
• 1t chopped chili

Dressing (mix until sugar is dissolved):
• 1T sugar
• 1T rice vinegar
• ½ t salt
• Black pepper
Serve with shrimp crackers, top the salad with crushed peanuts and garnish with basil leaves and carrot flowers.

Putting the finishing touches on the pho ga (chicken noodle soup).
Putting the finishing touches on the pho ga (chicken noodle soup).
The rice molds were great and easy. Just wet everything with water, work quickly and the rice won't stick.
The rice molds were great and easy. Just wet everything with water, work quickly and the rice won’t stick.
We marinated the pork for 20 minutes before grilling in something similar to the salad dressing plus additional lemongrass and garlic. Tasty! It's topped with lightly sauteed spring onions. And the rice came out in a firm cake.
We marinated the pork for 20 minutes in the salad dressing with additional lemongrass and garlic. It was then quickly grilled. Tasty! It’s topped with lightly sauteed spring onions. And the rice came out in a firm cake.
dessert!
dessert!