CULINARY JOURNEYS: DISCOVER VIETNAMESE CUISINE

Vietnamese cuisine is regarded as one of the world’s best. On this luxury tour you’ll discover its depth and variety as you join local experts on a culinary journey

TOUR INTRODUCTION

12 Days, 11 Nights     FROM US$ 3,660 PER PERSON

Vietnamese cuisine is regarded as one of the world’s best. Travelling to different areas of the country, you’ll discover its depth and variety; joining with local experts to learn of ingredients, cooking methods and, of course, the best places to eat on this exclusive culinary journey.

Fly to bustling Ho Chi Minh City and go to one of the finest restaurants in the city; hearing a talk on Vietnamese cuisine as you enjoy a sumptuous dinner. Meet a Saigon cook who will take you to a food market and help you to cook a traditional Saigon meal. Try Banh Xeo, a savory pancake stuffed with prawn, pork and vegetable. Meet the proprietor of Mango Rooms who will take you to choose the best ingredients for an exclusive cooking class with him. Go on a tasting tour of Hoi An’s tempting street treats.

Travel to Hue, whose ’royal cuisine’ is regarded as the best in the country. Try this cuisine at the private ’garden house’ where the lady of the house will prepare a fabulous meal for you. Sample a Hue specialty, a steamed rice pancake stuffed with delicate, finely chopped pork. In Hanoi, meet your specialist food guide, an insider and local authority on Hanoi’s food life. Tour the city to hear all about the stalls and foods you pass. Dine at La Verticale, located in a villa in town.

Another food tour next, this time with an American chef and food writer. Meet his regular suppliers and learn more about Hanoi ingredients. Take lunch at the special Bún Cha Chanh, run by two sisters who still use real wood to make the Bun Cha Chanh. Visit a ’Bia Hoi’ serving draft beer and interesting snacks, meeting locals as you chat about your day.

 

Each of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and our destination based teams will start planning a unique and personalized trip.

The Backyard Travel Team,

THE BACKYARD TRAVEL DIFFERENCE

Hear a talk on Vietnamese cuisine and dine at one of the finest restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City.
Learn how to cook Vietnamese food on two cooking classes: One at a local Saigon house and one with the proprietor of Mango Rooms, Duc Tram.
Go on food tours with real insiders and learn all about local food life.
Sample 36 different foods on a tour of Hoi An’s tempting street treats.



Daily Itinerary

Daily Itinerary

  • Start
  • Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City

    Fly to bustling Ho Chi Minh City and take a tour with our guide. Visit the Old Saigon Post Office, the War Remnants Museum and the former Presidential Palace; all engaging reminders of the city’s history.

    In the evening, go to one of the finest restaurants in the city where you will be given a talk on Vietnamese cuisine before enjoying a sumptuous dinner.

    Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City

    Meals included on this day: Dinner

    Front gate to Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh Ci
  • Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City

    Today is your first day of cooking. Start at a busy early morning food market with your host, a local Saigon cook, who will show you around the different produce stalls. Head back to their house where you’ll learn to cook a traditional Saigon meal for lunch - Take a look at our menu to see which dishes interest you most.

    In the afternoon, walk to the unseen oldest quarter of the city. At Le Cong Kieu, (Antiques Street) you will find a range of antiques real and fake, along with military items from the war and relics from French occupation.

    Continue to the Beaux Arts Museum, home to various modern arts and stroll around the nearby galleries where you can see local artists exhibiting their works. Dinner tonight is Banh Xeo, a savory pancake stuffed with prawn, pork and vegetables. Opened in 1941 this specialty restaurant is popular with locals and visitors alike. You can choose local style dining here or high tables.

    Overnight in Ho Chi Minh

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

    Local Wet Market Vietnamhochiminh-city-usa-helicopter-vietnamSophie’s Art Tour photographer – Frances Marden sm
  • Day 3: Mekong Delta

    Leave Ho Chi Minh for a two-hour drive to Cai Be, the delta town with lush waterways and vast green rice fields.

    Cruise Cai Be floating market and see the traders hang their produce on poles in front of the boats to attract customers. Many of these trading families have lived on this river for generations. Continue to a cottage factory where coconut candies, rice paper and ‘pop-rice’ are produced. Get back in the boat and admire the scenery as you witness the life of the riverbank villages.

    Lunch today is a Mekong Specialty served at a delightful colonial style villa. Elephant Ear Fish is grilled and wrapped in rice paper with a selection of fresh herbs and plants. Afterwards, cruise past beautiful scenery to the Co Chien River where we will meet our car for the drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. Your evening is free at leisure.

    Overnight at Park Hyatt, Ho Chi Minh City

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

    through-the-jungle-vietnam
  • Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City-Danang-Hoi An

    Transfer now to the domestic airport for a 50 minute flight to Danang before going on to Hoi An. This 17th century trading port has changed little over the years and retains its original architecture and relaxed feel.

    Walk around the old town center to its colorful market, past the houses which were originally home to merchants of this port town, and see its unique 400 year old Japanese Covered Bridge.

    Day four’s lunch is at Morning Glory restaurant. This restaurant serves a range of ‘Street Food’ including specialties of Hoi An and the upstairs balcony has a great view overlooking the street.

    After lunch ride down Hoi An’s narrow country roads, seeing water buffaloes, organic vegetable farms and rice paddies on the way to Tra Que. In this village see the farmers work on their organic herb garden before having a home cooked meal including bang khaoi, a savory pancake wrapped in rice paper.

    The evening is free at your leisure.

    Overnight in Hoi An

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and Lunch

    Streets of Hoi An, VietnamPeople at sidewalk coffee, Vietnam
  • Day 5: Hoi An

    Meet you guide today: the proprietor of Mango Rooms, Duc Tram. After a 15 year cooking journey spanning four continents he has come back to Vietnam and established Mango Rooms, where he employs his knowledge, talent and experience to create fantastic, memorable, modern Vietnamese cuisine.

    Meet Duc at 8am at Hoi An market where he will take you around to meet the vendors and choose the best ingredients for today’s cooking. Delve into the Hoi An food world as he shows you his favourite stalls and produce along the way.

    It’s a short walk to Mango Mango Restaurant where your cooking class will be held. Duc will show you how to make his signature dishes. Lust in Translation: tuna rolls double layered with nori and rice paper sheets served crispy and topped with yogurt, passion fruit, and mint. Pearl of China Sea: large prawns battered Japanese-Vietnamese Style tossed with onion, green bell pepper, garlic and butter; and Magnum Opus: blue fin tuna steak seasoned in garlic, onion, ginger, basil, sesame seeds, pan seared and served with mango salsa.

    After the class you can try out your cooking for lunch.

    The afternoon and evening are free at your leisure to relax on the beach or wander around Hoi An’s art galleries.

    Overnight in Hoi An

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and Lunch

    Hoi An street sellers, VietnamVietnamese Fishing Boats and their Reflections in Hoi An Harbour, Vietnam
  • Day 6: Hoi An-Hue

    Hoi An’s food life will be explored further today as you go on a tasting tour of its tempting street treats. Start with a visit to a local market and try 36 different street foods all bought directly from their specialist vendors.

    Everything is here from sticky rice and tropical fruits to spring rolls, noodles and unique Hoi An specialties. The tour begins with a ‘wet market’ featuring a huge variety of ingredients. Chat to the vendors to learn more about the names and uses of the things on display. You’ll wander through backstreets to unseen vendors selling specific foods and learn about the history and development of Vietnamese food in this region.

    Travel in the afternoon to Hue, the former Imperial capital; where ancient tombs and mausoleums commemorate the former glory of the city. See the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world at the Cham Museum, before heading down to the scenic fishing village of Lang Co via the Pass of Ocean Clouds.

    The ‘royal cuisine’ of Hue is widely regarded as the best in the country. It originated in the time of the Nguyen Dynasty, where the royals had very particular taste and preferences. Try this cuisine tonight with dinner at the private ‘garden house’. At the house you will be greeted with a traditional Vietnamese welcome and the lady of the house will prepare a fabulous meal which will be served to you in the private garden.

    Overnight in Hue

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

    Vietnamese saleswoman at the market sale vegetableswelcoming asian woman
  • Day 7: Hue

    Cyclo through the ‘Old City’ to the historic relaxation spot of emperors, Tinh Tam Lake; filled with flowers in the summer and a popular place for students to study.

    Continue to Tay Loc Market, rarely visited by tourists. Explore the ruins of the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled 1200 years ago. Drive on to Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda; who’s centerpiece, a 21 meter high tower represents the seven reincarnations of Buddha.

    The pagoda grounds also contain the Austin car in which the monk Thic Quang Duc drove to the busy Saigon intersection where he set himself alight in protest at the Southern regime. The photo of this became one of the most enduring images of the war.

    Try more Hue specialties for lunch today. Huynh Anh restaurant serves banh uot, a steamed rice pancake stuffed with delicate, finely chopped pork; and bun thi nuong, which is a rice noodle dish served with grilled meat.

    Continue on after lunch to the unique, European influenced tomb of Khai Dinh, then head back to your hotel where your evening is free at leisure.

    Overnight in Hue

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and Lunch

    red yellow doorway gateway citadel forbidden purple city hue vietnamKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Day 8: Hue - Hanoi

    The morning is free until you transfer to the airport for the short flight to Hanoi, where your guide and private car will transfer you to your hotel. After checking-in and freshening up, meet your specialist food guide for the day; an insider and real local authority on Hanoi’s food life. He will take you through the details of today’s programme as you drive into the centre of Hanoi. Start at the Old Quarter and stroll to Thanh Ha market, on the way hearing all about the different stalls and foods you pass.

    Your guide will explain the routine of Vietnamese meal times and let you sample some local specialties like Bun Dau and Pho Tiu. Dang Kuan is Hanoi’s main market and your first stop. It’s filled with dried foods and aromatics; and your guide will help you to discover these, the essentials of Vietnamese cuisine.

    Next, learn about Vietnamese celebrations and food gifts which are given as you walk down to Hang Than Street and its French-influenced dessert shops. Here you’ll see seasonal fruit which is specially treated and is a hugely popular local snack. Nearby Phung Hung Street is a great example of tradition meeting modernity. The market area has been slowly changed but still retains its character. Towards the end of the tour we’ll stop at the Old Quarter’s busiest coffee shop for some refreshment before you transfer back to the hotel.

    Tonight go back in time to the 1930’s at La Verticale, located in a villa in town. Chef and owner Didier Carlou has lived in Vietnam for 15 years and his menu reflects his love for the country’s cuisine.

    Overnight in Hanoi

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

    Old Women, Vietnam
  • Day 9: Hanoi

    Your food tour today is with an American chef and food writer. Start with a breakfast of the celebrated beef and rice noodle soup, Pho Hanoi. Your guide will tell you about today’s tour and give you an overview of the food life of Hanoi. Walk to a local market where your guide will introduce you to some of the vendors and help you in the selection of anything you wish to buy. Next stop is for tea (tra) or coffee (ca phe) with the locals in the French Quarter.

    Drive on to Truc Bach Lake for Pho Cuon, a grilled beef and rice noodle roll. Your guide shops at the next market you’ll visit almost every day, and you can meet his regular suppliers and learn more about Hanoi ingredients. Take lunch at the special Bún Cha Chanh, run by two sisters who still use real wood to make the Bun Cha Chanh. It is only open a few hours per day and always busy; a real local favourite.

    At the end of the tour you’ll visit a ‘Bia Hoi’ serving draft beer and snacks. These places are great for meeting locals, as everyone comes here to socialize and chat about the day. Your guide will be happy to give you advice on places to dine in Hanoi and elsewhere in the country.

    Overnight in Hanoi

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and Lunch

    Vietnamese traditional noodle soupStreet food vendor in the street of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
  • Day 10: Halong Bay

    After breakfast leave Hanoi for an overnight boat trip to Halong Bay. Witness everyday life in Vietnam on your drive to the pier. Villagers work in their rice fields and plough them using buffaloes, while others cycle to market with their wares loaded wherever they can fit them.

    Arrive at Halong City in the late morning and board a traditional wooden junk (or a classic replica steamship - The Emeraude) for an overnight journey into the bay.

    Sailing past a variety of rock formations, many named after their resemblance to things (Sail, Dog, and Incense Pot). Weigh anchor as the sun begins to set over the bay and enjoy a relaxed dinner with fresh seafood and fruits before settling down for the night.

    Overnight on Halong Bay

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

    Indochina Junk
  • Day 11: Halong Bay - Hanoi

    There will be tea and coffee served in the morning followed by a Tai Chi class on deck. Have a healthy brunch on board as your boat sails past gorgeous scenery and limestone rock formations to Halong City, where your driver will meet you and transfer you to Hanoi. Your afternoon and evening are free at leisure.

    Overnight in Hanoi

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    IMG_2593Bridge-on-the-Hoan-Kiem-Lake-Hanoi-Vietnam
  • Day 12: Hanoi

    Your private car and guide are at your disposal until your transfer to Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport for your onward flight.

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

    Traditional Vietnamese Masks

All of our Tours can be Tailored, Just Ask!

Local vietnamese woman

Tour Details

All of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and we’ll start planning your unique personalized trip!

Tour prices are a guideline only, and are based on two persons travelling together, sharing a double or twin room. Each tour price and can be adjusted depending on budget, activities included and standard of accommodation desired.

Tour and airfare prices include all applicable taxes and are subject to change without prior notice until services are booked.

You, your holiday and booking direct: Backyard Travel are on the ground year-round in Asia, which means you are booking direct with a local travel company, allowing you to save on the cost of your holiday. Our tailor-made tours are designed by local Travel Specialists who investigate every aspect of the trip themselves, giving you a unique view of each destination.

icon Included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary
Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles
Service of English speaking guides in every location
Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

icon Not included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Domestic and international flights
Departure taxes if applicable
Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
Tips for guides and drivers
Personal travel insurance
Visa fees (contact us for further information)

Why Backyard Travel?


Our experienced travel specialists possess years of local insider knowledge, because they live here.

We have offices in all of our destinations in asia, fully staffed and open all year-round.

With backyard travel you are booking direct, allowing you to save and benefit local residents.

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Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.