Have you ever designed your own coat? Had every seam catered to the curve of your body…or leather shoes made from a print traced specifically around your foot, ready to wear within 24 hours!? I certainly can’t say that I have…but I could definitely get used to it after a trip to Hoi An! This city is famous for its tailoring & the reputation is well deserved!
Hoi An is a quaint Vietnamese city located on the coast, about halfway between Saigon and Hanoi. It feels like you’ve gone back in time when you walk through the ancient town centre, with traditional wooden homes that have so much character and detail. It is a wonderful little town centre to walk through-cars are not allowed so it’s quite a bit more calm than the other Vietnamese cities we’ve visited. It is very possible to spend the entire day roaming through the central area, visiting beautiful Chinese Pagodas, sipping ice coffees in the quaint little cafes along the river and for us…most importantly, SHOPPING!!
Jackie and I ditched the boys and spent our first morning, basically in total awe, overwhelmed by all the stores. Row upon row of shops displayed everything from trendy winter coats, to evening gowns, suits and just about any item of clothing you can imagine. When you go inside, you can choose what you want to have made and customize it however you like. I had decided that my one big splurge would be a new winter coat & Jackie agreed she could use a new one too. We found a store that had a coat we liked and had a blast picking out our material, and creating all the details of the coat. Twenty-four hours and just forty-five dollars later, our coats were ready to pick up. It was about 28 degrees in Hoi An so we didn’t get to show them off, but now I can look forward to winter!!
Our time in Hoi An happened to fall over Valentine’s Day so we decided to make a special night of it and signed up for one of the many cooking classes hosted at one of the local restaurants along the river. We had read that the instructor at Goian Cookery was a ton of fun so we chose to go with them and were not disappointed. We were allowed to choose four dishes so we went with a banana flower salad, lemon grass shrimp, chicken in banana leaf and eggplant in clay pot. Each dish was AMAZING!!!
Ms Hanh taught us how to use fish sauce (yes, it smells just like you’d imagine but it actually tastes very good when used correctly), oyster sauce, fresh lemon grass and her special recipe of chilli sauce to create the flavours that makes Vietnamese cuisine so tasty. Ms Hanh had a fun way of getting each of us involved, including naming us after the ingredients we were in charge of adding. I must say I was a little disappointed to be named Mrs.Fish Sauce…Rick got to be Mr. Soya Sauce and I would have traded him in a second!
We couldn’t leave Hoi An without accepting a ride in a traditional boat from one of the smiley village women. Our driver looked like she was simply loving life as she toured us around.
We also had a chance to find out what it would be like to be one of the fruit sellers. I think these ladies are carrying about 30 pounds of fruit and they’re half my size!
We spent our entire days in Hoi An walking through the ancient town, so we were always happy to escape to the outskirts of town at our little oasis, Bamboo Village.