Cooking classes mean you get a better understanding of what you’re eating and a chance to recreate that at home, so I got in touch with Hanoi Cooking Centre. One of the difficulties of recreating the dishes I made at my class in Hanoi was the availability of exotic ingredients. Chef Y (pronounced Ee) took me and my classmate to the market to see the strange vegetables and fragrant herbs as well as the vast variety of types of rice. I don’t know where I’d get winter melon in Norfolk (not 100% sure what it is tbh...)
Banana flower salad? That’s going to be more difficult. I had no idea that banana flowers were edible. I had never really thought very hard about whether bananas even had flowers come to think of it. Finely chopped, soaked in water and vinegar and then combined with mashed tofu, carrot, fresh herbs, chili, bean sprouts and ground peanuts and sesame seeds - this was my favourite dish.
If anyone knows where I can get banana flowers in the UK then I’ll make you the salad. Promise!