Monday, July 26, 2010

Saigon Cooking Class & Weasel Coffee

Posts are slowing down and this is over a week behind now! So it will be short and sweet since I won't be able to bore you with all the little details I don't remember! We spent a morning/afternoon in Saigon at a cooking class! This was a blast and I highly recommend it!

Our group started out at the market with the chef. He took us around and showed us all the things he had purchased for our meal. Banana blossoms, herbs, etc. We got a short lesson in several vegetables and things you don't see in our supermarkets. They eat all the parts of the vegetables. For example, they had the flowering part of the zucchini as a veggie you could purchase.

This is the day we found out about Weasel coffee at the market. The chef told us that this is THE BEST coffee you can buy. As the story goes, weasels are very picky coffee berry eaters. They eat the berry and digest the flesh. The coffee bean comes out the other end (obviously because it can't be digested). The beans are "harvested", cleaned, roasted... and well you know the rest. We all had to buy some, we couldn't help it. I did a little bit of internet research after I got home and found out that it is something about the digestive enzymes of the weasel that make this coffee good. They can now induce the process with enzymes (no weasel butts needed) or in some places they keep all the weasels and feed them the berries and then "harvest" them. I don't which process was used to make my coffee grounds, but I'm going with the no butts needed version. Anyone coming over for coffee??

We went back to the class and spent the rest of the day cooking and eating! We made spring rolls, peanut sauce, fish sauce, a banana blossom salad and fried rice. For the fried rice we each had our own wok and propane burner. I was impressed with the entire process and we really had a fun time. After we couldn't eat another bite, the chef brought out a passion fruit dessert he had made for us. Subsequently we found out that our chef has been invited to be on a Food Network show but he has had difficulty getting a visa so he hasn't been able to do it yet.

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