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Monday, 30 January 2012

Secret Garden Restaurant Cooking Class

We woke up early today excited about our all day cooking class. We were down at the hotel entrance at 8:30 sharp for our pickup. Our guide several days before had called and verified all the details. At 9:30 we were still waiting and after calls to the restaurant and from our guide a distracted young woman pulled up on a motor bike, identified us as the cooking school candidates and then urgently used her cell phone to call us a taxi. When we arrived at our destination she beckoned us from her motor bike to follow (on foot) her down a long curvy alley. This is how we discovered the origins of the "Secret Garden Restaurant's" name.

When we arrived we met three lovely English women who had been awaiting our arrival for the class to begin. So far we were beginning to doubt if this course was going to be as good as we had hoped. The staff seemed hopelessly disorganized. The same distracted motor bike woman had all 5 of us follow her on foot to "explore the market". It was a long walk and one of our party had a knee problem and was walking with a cane. Now it was Tet, the New Year and we suspected the market was going to be closed. Unfortunately we were right and there was some frustration that she made our hobbled companion walk the distance with no need.

But things improved once we returned to our perches on stools surrounding a cooking island. Two chefs, one who spoke english and the other who knew the food took us through dicing, slicing and preparing some interesting dishes (Toronto friends should benefit soon). We prepared fish in banana leaf, pork barbecue and steamed spring rolls. For the latter we made a form of rice crepes on top of a silk steamer. Now that was different and fun. It will sure mess up our kitchen.

Of course we then got to devour our cooking over lunch with a nice sauvignon blanc. The best part of this experience was getting to know our travel companions who had many exciting life stories and experiences to share.


  1. I hope you have a good flight home!! Looking forward to catching up. You both have done a great job writing about your trip!!

    chau bella! Caroline