Cooking Schools in Hoi An and a Recipe for Easy, Fresh Spring Rolls

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serving - Fresh shrimp rice paper rolls www.compassandfork.comA trip through Hoi An  the prettiest part of Vietnam and the acknowledged food capital of the country inspired these fresh spring rolls, wrapped in rice paper. In this post we review 2 great cooking schools in Hoi An as well as the recipe for these healthy and tasty, fresh spring rolls.

We detailed some of the activities you can undertake in world-heritage listed Hoi An, but for me at least, the highlight of this town was the food. And where else can you attend a private, half-day cooking class for less than $20? Vietnam, it is honestly a bargain! It’s not just the scenery and the food but the vibe of the place. The people are lovely and I would happily return to Hoi An each year and indeed, many expats now call Hoi An home.

So onto the cooking schools in Hoi An.

Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An

The Red Bridge Cooking School was an all-day affair starting at 8am for Vietnamese coffee in a Hoi An café.

herb tour - Easy Hoi An Inspired Fresh Spring Rolls www.compassandfork.comAfter check in and coffee, we traveled by minivan for 10 minutes to Tra Que Organic Village, and walked through the market gardens where local farmers work their fields using the traditional methods of hundreds of years ago – no electrical or mechanical machinery here! We picked fresh saw-tooth coriander and Vietnamese mint for our cooking lesson later, before trying a special herbal drink at a local home. The area was stunningly beautiful and the vegetable fields looked very healthy.

Next, we headed off to the local village market and with shopping list in hand we purchased a range of local ingredients, including star anise, cardamom, sesame rice paper, water spinach and banana flower.

fresh noodles - Easy Hoi An Inspired Fresh Spring Rolls www.compassandfork.comArriving at Red Bridge Cooking School (set on the Hoi An River) we freshen up before beginning our class. Working together (and enjoying the complimentary beer, wine and soft drink) with our Red Bridge chef we learned the traditional ways of preparing and cooking Vietnamese food from scratch, including making our own rice noodles (easy but you need the right equipment). We made:

  • Beef Noodle Soup or Pho Bo including the making of fresh rice noodles
  • Lemongrass Shrimp grilled in Banana Leaves (Tom Nuong La Chuoi)
  • Clay Pot Fish with Fresh Dill (Cha Ca)
  • Grilled Chicken and Banana Flower Salad (Goi Hoa Chuoi Ga Nuong)

Red Bridge - Easy Hoi An Inspired Fresh Spring Rolls

After the class we sat down at a beautifully set table to eat our meal. It was hot and we had worked hard but the complimentary wine, beer and soft drink had left us very mellow for our relaxing boat cruise down the river back to Hoi An.

It was a great experience and at $49 USD superb value. And vegetarians are well catered for. If you are looking for a great cooking school in Hoi An we do recommend Red Bridge Cooking School.

Red Dragon Restaurant Cooking School

The Red Dragon restaurant was recommended to us by our hotel. We went to eat there on our first night in Hoi An. It is a small, family-run business. We enjoyed fresh mango and chicken spring rolls and eggplant cooked in clay pot. The food was of an excellent quality and really great value. We particularly liked the friendly service.

On talking with the owner he mentioned  he also teaches morning cooking classes, meaning we could enjoy the spoils of our labor at lunch time. We were there!

The class was just for the two of us and was run by the owner, also the chef. It was a really intimate cooking class. We made a trip to the nearby market to purchase the ingredients for our cooking lesson. It is all very flexible and we could choose what we made, anything ranging from crispy spring rolls, to grilled lime leaf chicken on skewers, to grilled fish in banana leaf. Vietnamese food, you can’t beat it!

red dragon - Easy Hoi An Inspired Fresh Spring Rolls www.compassandfork.comThe Red Dragon cooking school is nothing fancy, but where else can you pay $19 for a private morning cooking class and learn to make great Vietnamese food from the chef? Just sensational value. And such a humble host trying to do the best for his family. The experience was just as good as the Red Bridge Cooking School but a more intimate experience. We highly recommend the Red Dragon Cooking School in Hoi An as well.

Here is the Trip Advisor listing for this restaurant, where I am thrilled to see that the Red Dragon is so highly rated in such a competitive tourist town. Well deserved.

Fresh Spring Rolls

Easy Hoi An inspired fresh spring rolls are in honor of these 2 great Hoi An cooking schools and the fabulous weeks we spent in Hoi An. If you could only go to one place in Vietnam, the town of Hoi An would be my choice. Serve these fresh spring rolls with this peanut sauce.



All the specialty ingredients you need to make the Vietnamese recipes on Compass & Fork on one handy printable shopping list.


Cooking Schoool in Hoi An and Easy Hoi An Inspired Fresh Spring Rolls


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Easy Hoi An Inspired Fresh Spring Rolls
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Once you have made these Vietnamese-style, fresh shrimp rice paper rolls, you will come back to this recipe again and again. They are fabulous in summer and served with easy to make peanut sauce they are even better. Only 15 minutes to prepare and then refrigerate them until you serve them, making them perfect for a summer party. Plan on 2 rolls per person and serve with peanut sauce.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
10rolls 15minutes 1minute
Servings Prep Time
10rolls 15minutes
Cook Time
Servings: rolls
Servings: rolls
  1. Pour the oil into a wok over medium heat. Add shrimp, sugar and salt. Cook for 1 minute, shrimp should have turned pink. When cool, turn out onto a small plate.
  2. Make the salad mix by adding all the ingredients together in a bowl then mixing. Put aside.ready to assemble - Fresh shrimp rice paper rolls
  3. Make the herb mix by adding all the ingredients together on a small plate then mixing. Put aside.ingredients - Fresh shrimp rice paper rolls
Assembling the rolls
  1. Assemble the plates of shrimps and herbs, the bowl of salad ingredients, the lettuce leaves, opened pack of rice papers and bowl (large enough to fit the rice paper) of clean, cold water. Have a clean cutting board ready to assemble the paper rolls on.
  2. Take 1 sheet of rice paper and immerse in the water for about 30 seconds. When softened, remove the rice paper and place on the cutting board. Place 2 or 3 shrimp on the rice paper first, then the salad mix and herbs and lastly the lettuce on top. Use your judgment on the volume, don't overfill the rolls. You may end up with more than 10, that's ok. Roll up the rice paper, taking care to tuck in the edges of the paper as you roll. Repeat this step until all ingredients are used.ready to eat - Fresh shrimp rice paper rolls
  3. Serve with peanut sauce (click on link below) or peanut satay sauce. *
Recipe Notes

# Our free, Asian cooking guide includes a detailed catalog of typical Asian herbs, vegetables and ingredients, including close-up pictures to help you identify them.

*Serve the fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce.

10 Responses

  1. Kerri
    | Reply

    Elizabeth I am going to see if I can get to one of these but I know I already have a couple lined up on boats that we will be on and I seem to have so much to do in Hoi An I am not sure I can fit this in. Sounds absolutely incredible though – both of them, for different reasons.

    • Editor

      It certainly was a fun activity that we enjoyed. It is always a good problem to have too much to fit in!

  2. Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours
    | Reply

    i love these, and also the idea of going to cooking school when on holiday – bringing a recipe home is the best souvenir.

    • Editor

      Helen, I agree. When you cook it again at home it takes you back to the memories of the trip. I am surprised at how much cooking school helps you to appreciate the food more. I think we have to go to more cooking schools when we travel!

  3. Claudia | Gourmet Project
    | Reply

    Vietnam is on my “to go” dream list. I’ll begin by cooking this springrolls!

    • Editor

      Claudia, The food will not disappoint. I really like Vietnamese food- it is very fresh.

  4. Sarah, Maison Cupcake
    | Reply

    I totally need to make these. Must find rice paper rolls…

    • Editor

      I’d try an Asian Grocery or onine- depending where you live.

  5. I had spring rolls that looked exactly like these two weeks ago from a Vietnamese street food stall at a Food blogger conference and it was delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Editor

      Thanks for your comment Razena. I love these as they are served cold and you can just keep them in the refrigerator until needed. Cheers….Mark

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