An Invitation To Culturally Curious Travelers
Are you seeking extraordinary, authentic experiences? Join me and Open Kitchen on an inspiring, curated Culinary Escapade to Việt-Nam! Whether you’ve been to Việt-Nam or it’s on your “bucket list,” I invite you to experience my homeland and take a deep dive into Việt-Nam’s heart and soul through her spirited culinary heritage.
Our journey will begin in Central Việt-Nam, once known as the Kingdom of Annam and includes some of the most impressive historical sights in Vietnam in the quaint ancient port town of Hội An, one of the most important ports on the South China Sea connecting the East with Europe from the 15th to the 19th century.
Next, we will travel to Southern Việt-Nam, first to the uber-urban Hồ Chí Minh City (“Sài Gòn”) and then to the Mê Kông Delta– the rich and fertile rice basket of Việt-Nam.
Open Kitchen’s Việt-Nam Culinary Escapade is for you if you are:
EXCITED to learn and experience Việt-Nam’s culinary heritage and to taste local life through bustling street food eateries and “Cuisine Mới,” or “New Cuisine” in modern, upscale restaurants.
SEEK active adventures from bicycling through rice paddies to exploring centuries-old charming architecture on foot, riding through bustling cities on back of scooters, and exploring the majestic Mekong Delta on a traditional sampan.
OPEN to luxurious accommodations, charming homestays, and unplanned occurrences that bring about magical experiences and unforgettable memories.
Day 1: Arrival Day – Welcome To Hội An!
You will arrive at Đà Nẵng International Airport (DAD) and transfer to your Hội An hotel by private car and meet Chef Hue-Chan Karels, the Open Kitchen Team, In-Country Team Lead, and the other guests.
Hội An, a city on Việt-Nam’s central coast, was once part of the Cham Kingdom known as “Faifo.” From the 15th to the 19th century, it served as one of the most important ports on the South China Sea connecting the East with Europe. Today, Hội An’s well-preserved Ancient Town’s melting-pot history is reflected in its architecture, a mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colorful French colonial buildings, Cham ruins and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda. In 1999, Hội An’s Ancient Town was recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hội An’s distinctive regional cuisine blends centuries of cultural influences from East and Southeast Asia to Europe.
We will take a brief tour of this charming ancient town, including scouting out some amazing shopping venues. Tonight’s Welcome Dinner is at the famous Cargo Club restaurant that showcases Hội An’s cuisine.
Accommodations: Anantara Hoi An Resort on the Thu Bồn River, less than a mile from Hội An’s historic area.
Day 2: Hội An
Bicycle Ride or Motorbike Ride to Local Market and through Rice Paddies and Organic Garden, Cooking Class, and Lunch
We will cook at a lively restaurant in An Bàng Beach, a charming beach town about 2 miles outside Hội An. Our chef instructor, knowledgeable Local Chef Dong Le has designed a cooking menu featuring Hội An’s distinctive regional cuisine. Chef will discuss local spices and their uses and benefits, while working with you to prepare a delicious multi-course lunch.
Day 3: Hội An
A Visit to Hội An Fish Market and Countryside Bike Tour
We have arranged for a wonderful excursion to the local fish market by boat for early risers. You’ll experience an authentic local way of life, from fishmongers selling fish and customers bargaining on prices.
Countryside Bike Tour: enjoy an idyllic ride through rice fields and rural countryside. You’ll ride through beautiful emerald villages with water buffalos on farmlands and meet local artisans who happily share their crafts with you, from making straw mats to milling rice into flour. There will be endless photo opportunities as we take the most scenic country paths.
Highlights: Sunset Seafood BBQ Beach Dinner on An Bàng Beach
We will travel by private bus to a delicious Sunset Seafood BBQ beach dinner in An Bàng Beach prepared by our Local Chef!
Day 4: Travel From Hội An to Sài Gòn
Once known as the “Paris of Asia” with wide boulevards, elegant parks, French architecture and the “Diamond of the Far-East,” today Hồ Chí Minh City (Sài Gòn) is the heart of Vietnam’s economy. The city vibrates with energy! It’s a freewheeling, cosmopolitan metropolis with a dynamic cityscape of classic French architecture, sleek skyscrapers, ornate temples, and pagodas. Fantastic restaurants offer a combination of French, Chinese, and, of course, local Vietnamese cuisine.
We’ll kick off our uber-urban Sài Gòn culinary adventures with a very special and delicious lunch with celebrity Chef Nikki Tran, a Vietnamese-American (or “Fish Sauce American ), at her Kâu Ba restaurant in Saigon.
Pre-sunset we’ll meet for Cocktails & Nibbles, hopping around Sài Gòn to experience this vibrant city’s sights, sounds, and flavors! We’ve selected some of the best cocktail bars with breathtaking views of Sài Gòn with hip vibes and cool, crafted cocktails and mocktails for our outing!
Accommodations: Hôtel des Arts Saigon, an exquisite 5-star boutique hotel
Day 5: Sài Gòn
After breakfast at the hotel, we meet our local guide to visit the Củ Chi on a guided tour. We will step back in time to learn how this vast underground network was used in the Việt-Nam war.
Sài Gòn Scooter Foodie Tour Pre-sunset, we’ll embark on an exciting scooter foodie tour of Sài Gòn to experience and taste some of the best and hidden places only accessible by way of a scooter.
Day 6: Travel from Sài Gòn to the Mê Kông Delta
The Mê Kông Delta is the region in southwestern Việt-Nam, between Sài Gòn and Cambodia, where the Mê Kông River approaches and empties into the South China Sea. The river starts in the Himalayas and passes through China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia before reaching Việt-Nam. Considered the “rice bowl” and “kingdom of fruit” of Vietnam, the Mê Kông Delta is the most important area for agriculture and aquaculture production in Vietnam. The only way to navigate this region is by boat, where you’ll see rice paddies, fruit orchards, floating markets, Buddhist temples, and family houses clinging to the river’s banks.
The cuisine of Mê Kông Delta also reflects the robust characteristics of its people who prefer extreme flavors: extreme salty, extreme spicy. We will feast on a traditional Mê Kông Delta meal followed by a wonderful tea service to the sound of folk music indigenous to this region.
Accommodations: Our home for an overnight stay is the very charming Út Trinh Bến Tre Homestay. The wonderful owner will be our curator for a memorial culinary experience.
Day 7: Travel from Mê Kông Delta back to Sài Gòn
Last Day of Open Kitchen’s Việt-Nam Culinary Escapade Highlights:
- Incredible lunch at the LUNCH LADY, one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite food vendors!
- For dessert, a chocolate tasting at Maison Marou, a cafe-patisserie-chocolate factory concept with Vietnamese cacao sourced from six provinces in the Mê Kông Delta.
- We will meet for our Departure Dinner to say goodbye to our friends for one last fabulous meal in Việt-Nam at Anan, an elevated “Cuisine Mới,” or “New Cuisine” restaurant by Chef Peter Cuong Franklin’s that’s voted top 50 restaurants in Asia. You’ll “Meet & Greet” with Chef Peter followed by a fabulous dinner.
Day 8: Departure
After breakfast, you’ll check out and journey back home with amazing memories of your time on Open Kitchen’s Culinary Escapade to Việt-Nam.
The closest airport is Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport (SGN). Transfers by private car to the airport. Bon Voyage! Travel Safe!
Our trip is limited to 12 participants. Please let us know how to reach you about booking this once-in-a-lifetime culinary adventure.