Pam with a huge bowl of soup


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Hoi An Style Pho Bo (Beef)

Ingredients (Serves 2):

50g Beef tenderloin    
100g dried pho noodles   In Hoi An these are slightly thicker almost thin pasta style rice noodles (white)
50g White Onion   1/2 an onion
10g Shallots   1 or 2
2 table spoons vegetable oil    
2-3 cubes of beef stock   Really you should boil beef bones for 4 hours instead of using beef stock cubes. Or since we are in Christchurch you should buy beef stock from Foundations Foods as theirs is great. You can get it from Reward Fresh or direct from foundation foods.
50g Lemon Grass    
50g Fresh Pineapple    
2 tsp light fish sauce   if using Thai fish sauce then maybe just 1 tsp
a pinch of salt    
2 tsp sugar    
1/2 tsp pork powder   I think this is MSG (probably best to miss it out)
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice    
A few springs of coriander    
2 table spoons of unsalted peanuts    
1 red chilli    
2 spring onions    
Handful of washed mixed greens (basil, lettuce, mint, water spinach, bean sprouts)    


Cut the beef into very think slices and set a side.

Slice the shallots and cut the white onion into small chunks.

Peel the pineapple and cut into thin wedges

Cut the lemon grass into 5cm lengths and smash flat.

Remove the seeds from the Red Chilli and slice crosswise.

Cut the spring onions into 5cm julienne strips


Bring 500ml water to the boil in a large pot and add beef stock cubes or just use good beef stock.

Cook the pho noodles by immersing them for 3-4 minutes in boiling water. Remove from pan and place into two large soup bowls.

Heat oil in the fry pan and fry the white onion, shallots, and a pinch of 5 spice power.

Stir-fry for about 1 minute and then add to the hot stock. Continue cooking the stock over a hot element.

Add the fish sauce, salt, sugar, pork powder, the rest of the five spice powder.


There is two ways to cook the beef:

  1. Place stripes of beef onto a ladle and then add stock to the ladle and place into the bowl with the noodles. When enough beef has been added then add stock to fill the bowl.
  2. Place the beef on top of the noodles and then add stock to the beef and noodles.

Top with springs of coriander, peanuts, slices of chilli and fresh spring onion.

You can serve the soap with a plate of mixed greens.


Hoi An Spring Rolls

Hoi An Spring Rolls

Ingredients (serve 2 people)

1 dried black mushrooms   These are Chinese Black Fungus mushrooms
30 gm Pork tenderloin    
20 gm Fresh Prawn   Since we do not get fresh, frozen will have to do – just use RAW not cooked!!!
Taro Root   About the size of a potato
1/2 Carrot    
2 Small Shallots or 1 large    
1 or 2 Garlic Cloves    
1 pinch Salt    
1 tsp Black Pepper    
1 tsp Sugar    
1 Egg Yolk   Keep egg white
6 sheets Rice Paper    
2 cups vegetable oil   Depends on frypan size
3 tsp light Fish Sauce   If using Thai Fish Sauce use 1 tsp
1 small lime    
1/2 tsp Minced Red Chilli    
1 table spoon warm water    


Hint: Rice paper can be salty so you could taste a bit and see how much salt there is and adjust the recipe accordingly. If very salty you could make without salt altogether since the fish sauce is salty as well.

Simmer the mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool (a few minutes)

Shell and de-vein the Prawns or buy ones already done.

Mince the Pork and the Prawns or cut very very finely and set aside.

Peel the Taro Root.

Slice and then julienne the Taro, Spring Onion, Carrot and soaked mushrooms (squeeze the liquid from the mushrooms first) and then turn and cut the julienne strips into 1-2mm cubes.

In a medium sized bowl mix the Pork and Prawns with the cubed vegetables, minced Garlic and Shallots. Add the Salt, Sugar, Pepper and Egg Yolk and mix all together by hand.

Separate the 6 sheets of rice paper, soften each with a little water if necessary (dampen a tea-towel so it is just damp not wet) and trim to 5-6 inches wide and 10 inches high (if required).

Divide the ingredients into 6 or just use an appropriate amount of filling (1 large Table Spoon)

Please one of the rice paper sheets flat on the table and place the filling near the bottom in the center leaving about 1” of rice paper at the bottom and 1” on each side.

Roll tightly, turning in the sides of the paper as you roll so you end up with a nice fat cigar shape. When near the top wet the paper with either water or egg white (left over from the egg yolk) to seal.

Repeat the above for the rest of the rice paper sheets.


Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. To test if hot enough place the pointy end of a chop stick in the oil and if it bubbles around the bottom of the chopstick then it is hot enough.

Please the spring rolls into the hot oil, sealed side down, turning frequently. Cooking time is about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown – do not let burn.

Dipping Sauce

To make the dipping sauce in a small bowl mix the fish sauce, sugar, juice from the lime, minced garlic, minced chilli and warm water. Stir until sugar is dissolved.


To make the tomato flower see

Hoi An Cooking School

There are literally hundreds of cooking schools in Hoi An – Our hotel did them, most restaurants do them and there are a few specialty ones as well.

We decided to do one at the White Lotus which was very close to our hotel.

The cost of the course was 18 USD each. We booked on Saturday afternoon for Sunday morning class.

Pam & I were the only two in the class so that was good for us if not the restaurant.

We were welcomed with a Coffee (I did not have mine) – Pam said it was made with Condensed Milk!

Our tutor took us down to the market to buy vegetables. We saw a lot of things that we were not sure of so having someone who can answer the questions was good.


Pam holding a Banana Flower (or bud) that is used in a salad called Banana Flower Salad which was delicious.


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Off to the fish market now (lucky you can not smell over the Internet)


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After the market we walked back to the restaurant (we could have come back by boat but decided not to since it was only 200 meters)


Good French bread sold from the back of the scooter – the best is very nice so far in Vietnam.


Since we were the first to book for today we could make 3 dishes of our choice from the menu offered which has about 12 items (decided when booked)

We choose

  • Hoi An Fried Spring Rolls
  • Pho Bo – Beef Noodle Soup
  • Sautéed Chicken with Lemongrass and Chilli


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Our finished dishes (Hoi An Fried Spring Rolls, Pho Bo, and Sautéed Chicken with Lemongrass and chilli)


And to finish off we had some fresh fruit

Food in Hoi An

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The breakfast bar at our hotel in Hoi An – the Ha An hotel -


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Food on sale in the market


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Local food stalls along the river



Three dishes we ate :

  • Water Spinach with Garlic
  • Pork and Kaffier Lime Leaves (stunning flavour)
  • Pork and Lemon Grass (stunning flavour)

A walk though the Hoi An food Market

Walking around the food market–most spells were OK, but some where pretty strong.

Hidden Hanoi - Cooking School in Hanoi - Movies

Pam showing her cooking skills on BBQ in Hanoi


BBQ tasted great–lovely and smokey with the charcoal (gas it really just crap)


Frying the spring rolls we made–yummy–but not as good as the hotels

Hidden Hanoi Cooking School

Today our last full day in Hanoi we booked into the Hidden Hanoi Cooking School (

We caught a taxi from our hotel which is near the Hoan Kiem Lake to the cooking scroll which is close to West Lake. We paid 40,000 VND for the taxi fare there with Tourist Hanoi taxis.

We did not do the market tour so the cost of the cooking course was $40 USD each ($10 USD more for market tour) – we paid 1,680,000 VND for the two of us to do the course.

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Getting setup we all wear aprons – mine hardly fits!

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Today we are doing Vietnamese Street Food

  • BBQ Meat Ball
  • BBQ Slice Pork Belly
  • Fried Spring Rolls
  • Fish Dipping Sauce

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Hard at work!

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Little flowers we made from the skin of a Tomato

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Outside to BBQ our Meat Balls + Pork Belly

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Our table of food – looks and smells lovely


Sitting down and eating our meal – it was very nice


This is called Coconut Caramel – we used it to marinate the meat balls + Pork Belly

Breakfast in Hanoi


Top Left

Chicken Pho

Top Right

Beef Pho



All free included in the breakfast spread.

Dinner in Hanoi


Top Left

Bun Cha – Main Course – $5.70 USD

Fresh rice vermicelli noodles and grilled chopped pork served with fish sauce and herbs

Top Right

Nem hanoi – Appetizer – $3.90 USD

Veggie, Pork, Eggs rolled in rice paper then deep fried & served with fresh chilli, garlic & fish sauce


Grilled Bamboo Beef – Main Course – $7.50 USD

Beef mixed with condiments, stuffed in a bamboo pipe, then grilled and served with steamed rice.

Copyright © Chris & Pam - 2020