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LOCAL FLAVOUR Hoi An may be small – but this ancient Vietnamese trading port punches well above its weight on the culinary front. Victoria Stewart tries her hand at rustling up local delicacies

Hoi An fishermen still use these light and agile basket boats



The n贸n l谩, or leaf hat, is a genuine Vietnamese icon

Photograph by Stoksy: Gary Radler


At sunset, big fishing nets are lowered into the Thu Bon river

WHITE SAILS CAFE 134 Tran Cao Van Usefully situated just off one of the main drags, White Sails slightly lacks atmosphere during the day – but its staff are friendly and the delicate fried wontons come crispy and topped with piles of fresh roasted vegetables that work as a substantial snack or a prelude to a main course. Need wifi? Sit outside in the afternoon and watch the street food traders set up opposite.

The fish market sells fresh catches straight from the river

BALE WELL 51 Tran Hung Dao

MERMAID 2 Tran Phu Come to the first restaurant from the unstoppable Ms Vy for the impeccable pork-stuffed squid. One portion of this – thick, chewy and filled to bursting point with rich ground pork and its own sauce – is plenty for two to share. Bike over for an early lunch (it gets crowded) and order this with rice and a plate of local veg sautéed in garlic.


One of the Vietnamese country food staples is the banh xeo (pronounced zeo) pancake – mostly eaten wrapped in a lettuce leaf with salad. It looks a bit like an egg omelette but is actually made with coconut milk, tamarind – lending it its distinct yellow colour – mung bean flour, chilli oil, a tiny piece of pork and a few prawns and stuffed with bean sprouts. Come here for the set menu, all-you-can-eatpancakes, served with barbecued satay pork loin, lettuce and veg, for around 90,000110,000 VND.


Photographs (left) by Glen Allison/Getty and (White Sails and woman at market, right) Victoria Stewart


AM standing in a local market smelling fresh ginger, turmeric and lemongrass. Six of us crush herbs between our fingers, sniff bags of fivespice and wince at the sweet-sourness of a tiny mandarin. Next, we wander into a nearby restaurant to watch a chef pulling noodles through a machine, taste unusually flavoured mustard leaf pickles and crunch just-toasted sesame seeds. Now it is time to put everything we’ve seen into practice – for I am in Vietnam, about to take part in a local cooking class. Perched on the edge of a river, and a brief bike pedal from two sandy beaches, is a little town called Hoi An. Situated near Danang, one of the country’s most important cities, Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that last month celebrated its 1.6 millionth tourist visiting. But it is not just the guidebook brigade who come to tick it off their list;

Hoi An’s charm attracts everyone from explorers and partygoing backpackers to the most luxurious of tour groups. Some spend time wandering around the quiet old town (motorcycles are banned during the day) visiting textile museums, pagodas or the beautiful Japanese bridge (a $6 coupon grants access to five sights). Some order a custom-fit shirt from one of many outfitters, while others bike into the countryside or take boat trips down the river. Moreover, the town is a food hotspot with Chinese, Indonesian and Arabian influences, and the impressive range of restaurants, street snacks and cooking classes ensures that tourists never go hungry. “Hoi An people never stop eating,” says Caroline Mills, a writer and expat. “Freshness and flavours are king here, and for that you eat at the source – imported goods are shunned in favour of herbs and vegetables picked daily >> at dawn in Tra Que. It is


ABTA No.88888 ABTA No. Y544X



The fish arrives fresh each day and is sold at the market


>> seasonal, organically-farmed produce, free-range meat and fish that has been plucked straight from the ocean.” Special regional dishes include cau lau – a hearty, pork-topped rice noodle treat made using water from a particular well and

Photographs by (top) Gary Radler/Stocksy and (food) Victoria Stewart


served with vegetables – and rose-shaped, shrimpfilled white rose dumplings. Along with these, there is a miscellany of grilled fish and meat, papaya, green mango or banana leaf salads, banh mi (the nationwide word for a baguette-like sandwich filled with pate and pork), and sweet street treats including candied coconut, and exotic fruits. Meanwhile in the kitchen, our teacher Lulu stands at the front under a mirror, carefully describing how to cook our first dish, shrimp and cabbage dumplings in vegetable soup.This class, the brainchild of an astute local restaurant owner called Ms Vy who was keen to share her collection of food memories, was previously held at the back of her Morning Glory restaurant. Last year, she opened a huge premises called The Market Restaurant and Cooking School, where 30-strong groups are split into four-person >>

If you have the time and want to make your own beef pho, curries, stir fries, or the Hoi An speciality cau lau, schedule in half a day for this excellent cooking course. Everyone picks a dish by email, all ten of you shop around together for your ingredients in the market, and then you head to the owner’s home to learn how to make and taste all the dishes. It is personal, exceptional value for money, and Van is a brilliant teacher. No previous cooking skills required. $40 per course, 8am-3pm.

WHITE ROSE DUMPLINGS SHOP 533 Nha Ba Trung The local dish is ubiquitous, and if you don’t mind not sitting in a tourist-friendly spot to try white rose dumplings, come to this family-run stopoff to taste them at a place that supplies many of the restaurants. Expect small, chewy shrimp-filled dumplings and little else. It’s basic, but it's fun – oh, and they are made to a secret recipe.



CHE HA inside the Hoi An Market (Cho Hoi An) building

>> cooking stations, each with a teacher to guide pupils at their own speeds. As instructed, I drop two quenelle spoons of shrimp mousse into boiling water. After the fish turns pink, I wrap each one inside a thin cabbage leaf and tie it with spring onion before dropping them back into the same water, to which I have just added carrots, spring onions, peanut oil, salt and pepper, sugar, coriander and fish sauce. A few minutes later, I try mine: it is delicious, peppery and wholesome. Next up is a chicken skewer, for which we must combine orange sugar with black pepper, garlic, fish sauce and spring onion to make a marinade, then crispy pancakes – banh xeo – and a crunchy, fragrant salad. By 2pm I am stuffed, with recipe cards in one hand and the satisfied smile of someone who has learned a lot. e

Set in the heart of the market, this lady is the only person in the area to serve this Chinese-influenced dish, a tiny bowl of sticky rice dumplings filled with pork (che troi nuoc). You may struggle to find this miniature stall without an expert to guide you – but if you do track it down, try the dish for breakfast or at the end of lunch as a snack. One portion (10,000 VND) is usually four big dumplings and small plain ones.

BUN THIT NUONG STALL opposite White Sails Cafe Tran Cao Van This tiny street food project, popular with locals, gets going from 5pm. Mum runs the fruit juice stall on the left-hand side, while her teenage daughter will serve you a scowl along with a bowl of bun thit nuong – white bun noodles, slices of juicy marinated pork, lettuce and peanuts - for around 40,000 VND. Sit down, add in your sweet chilli sauce, garlic, lime or extra chillies and mix it all up.

Morning Glory cooking classes run daily; $30pp (beginners welcome);

Photographs by Kevin Miller/iStock and (Bun Thit Nuong) Victoria Stewart

THE LITTLE MENU 12 Le Loi Small and homely, with brick walls and deep orange lighting, this charming place has attentive staff and a pleasingly short menu, with specials chalked onto a blackboard next to a series of local paintings. The fixed couples' menu is popular, and simple noodle stir fries are fresh and flavoursome. If you’re lucky, the chef will come out later to chat.



3 HAPPY HOUR Bring the bar into your home with four cocktails for sophisticates. Or, if you’re lazy, get the pros to mix them for you…



Wherever you go, there’s always a char pit to get smoky flavours back in your nostrils and hair


London, UK

This Soho diner started life as a humble trailer, serving up slow-cooked pork and tasty bourbon cocktails.

2. R OPE R’S R IB S St Louis, Missouri, USA

Roper’s Ribs is internationally renowned for its baby back ribs – but its pulled-pork and beef brisket are also hugely popular with diners.

3.B I G B OY B B Q Melbourne, Australia

The locals took to this Melbourne BBQ restaurant pretty quickly – especially its astronomically-sized platters of pulled pork, ribs, lamb shoulder and beef brisket.

▼ Casa Rita Margarita, Cantina Laredo

▼ The Avalanche, Bar Blue

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100ml tequila 40ml Cointreau 85ml lime juice simple syrup

Add the tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake to ensure thoroughly mixed. Strain and serve immediately over fresh ice. Garnish with lime.

45ml Whitley Neill gin 5ml absinthe blanche half a pink grapefruit 1 dash Abbott’s Bitters 20ml lemon juice 15ml sugar, egg white, ginger

Shake all ingredients over ice and pour into a Catalina glass. Garnish with pink grapefruit zest and ginger.




Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, USA Set in this contemporary art gallery, Gather invites a different chef each month to cook up US classics with a modern twist.

EAT AND LEARN Obligatory museum cafe? Pass. Try a gourmet eatery as close as you can get to the action


British Museum, London, UK Underneath the vast roof of the museum’s famous Great Court, it’s an epic eating experience that somehow also manages to be airy and casual.


Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain Nerua, led by Michelin-starred chef Josean Alija, is a small but hugely renowned lunch spot where the food is just as art-inspired as the museum.


▼ Chivas Tribute, The Ritz

▼ Momoshu and Ichi… Go!, Shoryu

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45ml Chivas 12 15ml tawny port, 10 years old 15ml Domaine de Canton 15ml honey 2 drops orange bitters orange rind, twisted, to garnish

Begin with a large glass half-filled with large ice cubes. Add all the ingredients and stir, then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the orange rind.

30ml vodka Kirei Momoshu peach wine 15ml strawberry liqueur dash of lime juice, yuzu peel

Combine all ingredients (except the lime) together with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake, and add lime juice to a chilled martini glass before pouring in the contents. Garnish with yuzu peel.




Do your culinary skills need sharpening up? We call on London’s experts for a helping hand…

1. BE A MASTER OF THE LIME Martin Morales, founder of Ceviche Bad news: chances are, you’ve been squeezing limes incorrectly your whole life. But fear not, top lime-tamer Martin Morales can show you the way. “Roll the lime with the palm of your hand and press down to release the juice. Slice it, and squeeze only threequarters of the lime – any more and the pith will make the juice taste bitter.”

3. MAKE SALSA LIKE THE MEXICANS Felipe Fuentes Cruz, executive chef of Benito’s Hat in Farringdon

2. STEAK YOUR CLAIM John Woodward, executive chef at carnivore’s paradise Stripbar & Steak

Photograph (Ceviche) by Paul Winch-Furness

No one holds the humble steak in higher esteem than us, and we have a powerful ally in beef guru Woodward. Here, he explains how to cook his favourite cut. “Pan roasting is my preferred way to cook New York strip steaks. Get a heavy-based pan very hot, season the steak on both sides, then place a small amount of oil in the pan and add the meat. Leave for three minutes, then turn and seal the other side for the same amount of time. Add a large knob of butter, and when it foams, spoon it over the steak, turning it every 30 seconds for three minutes so it cooks evenly. If the butter burns, add more. Take the steak out and rest for as long as it took to cook.”

The New York strip comes from the short loin behind the ribs

Here are three top tips from a master of the art to help you make authentictasting salsa at home. If you don’t have a molcajete, use a pestle and mortar or any stone bowl, but it’s fundamentally important to use something heavy, like stone, to mash the salsa with. 1. “Roasting ingredients for your salsa is a great way to ensure that there is depth to the flavour, no matter how hot you like it.” 2. “Always grind the chillies, garlic and onions first with a pestle and mortar to get the right texture. Grinding the drier ingredients into a paste first will give your salsa a nice, even flavour.” 3. “Varying the texture of a smooth salsa by adding some chopped onion gives a different dimension and can transform the eating experience completely.”

The molcajete was first used by Aztecs and Mayans


foodism The word ‘calzone’ comes from the Italian for ‘trouser leg’

WEAPONS OF CHOICE Your pizza deserves better than a fan oven and a blunt knife. Get a slice of Italian action with this top kit

The cordierite stone can cook a pizza in under four minutes

CUTTING IT FINE Joseph Joseph Scoot Wheel, £13 No, it’s not Kanye West’s new album – this futuristic-looking piece of kit is actually a pizza cutter. The blade is readied by pushing the button in the centre, which snaps back the plastic sheath and bares the blade for your bubbling caprese to feel your terrible wrath. Or, you know, you could just cut it normally without pretending to be a badass warrior – but that’s no fun.

ONE IN THE OVEN Weber Pizza Oven, £149 Whether you’re dishing up a cosmopolitan alternative to steaks and sausages at a barbecue, or just want wood-fired pizza at home without splashing out on a whole bricks-andmortar setup, this clip-on pizza oven from Weber is a great investment. It attaches easily to the top of your kettle barbecue – just remember it won’t need flipping over halfway through.


Push the button in the middle to bare the circular blade

PRESSING MATTER Pizzacraft Calzone Press, £17 If you prefer your pizza toppings protected from the elements, you can always make a calzone. This device may look like a cross between a bear trap and one of those teeth-shaped gummy sweets, but it’s actually a pretty handy calzone press. Just put in the dough, then the toppings, and press together. At a pinch, it’ll also make a family-sized Cornish pastie.

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Foodism Section - 3  

Foodism Section in Issue 6 – Active Travel

Foodism Section - 3  

Foodism Section in Issue 6 – Active Travel