Culinary
Feel the Culture, taste the Local Cuisine​

 

Embark on the journey through the whole length of Vietnam and experience the country’s rich culture and cuisine. Start in the booming city of Saigon where the old and new woven into each other, the city offers wonderful sights of contrasts and surprisingly rich cuisine. The journey then continues north to Hue, the old imperial city known for its heritage and royal delicacy. With its long history and tradition, Hue is charming in every step you take. The trip then take you further to Ha Noi and Ha Long Bay, through beautiful scenery and cuisine unique to the north that sure will not fail to impress any visitors.

Feel the culture, taste the cuisine

Upon arrival at Saigon airport, transfer to your hotel on your private vehicle.

Formerly known as “Saigon” prior to 1975, today the city is Vietnam’s commercial center. The city’s dynamic energy is apparent in the bustling street scenes with thousands of people on motorbikes constantly on the move.

Start your day at one of the oldest wet market in Saigon. Take a walk around and learn about the most authentic ingredients used in Saigonese daily meals. Try some street food with the support of your guide, also a food expert. Stop at a small vintage coffee shop to try Vietnamese ice coffee and observe the relaxing morning life of the locals.

Transfer to Dong Khoi Street downtown to visit some of the beautiful French colonial-era buildings from the late 19th and early 20th century. Appreciate the splendidly restored exteriors of the Saigon Opera House and the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick edifice with twin spires constructed from materials imported from France (entrance is only permitted when no services are being performed). Then head across the square to the Central Post Office, completed in 1891. Continue to Presidential Palace, the headquarter of the Southern Vietnamese Government during the American War. Drive to the War Remnants Museum to learn about story of Vietnam War

Notes:

  • Suggested time: 08:00
  • Duration: 6

This late afternoon, hop on the vintage vespa and weave through the alleyways and busy markets of Saigon to meet a young local graphic designer, photographer and chef at her cozy villa. Having a deep enthusiasm for Vietnamese food, she has been spending most of her time cooking and doing research on local culinary to create her own fusion recipes. Her culinary books are widely recognized by experienced culinary artisans of Vietnam. Have a chat with her about Vietnamese food stories, and enjoy a very sophisticated flower meal with different dishes created from typical Vietnamese flowers.

Notes

  • Suggested time: 17:30
  • Duration: 3.5 hours.

Depart from Ho Chi Minh City for a scenic two-hour drive to Cho Gao situated in the Mekong River Delta.

Upon arrival, board a wooden boat for a fascinating river excursion to off the beaten tracks part of Mekong Delta, Stop at a small coconut factory to understand the traditional methods used to make coal from the coconut hard-shell.

Afterward, hop on bicycle for a relaxing ride through the peaceful village to observe the rustic lifestyle, riding among fruit plantations and friendly locals.

After lunch, wander on the rural village path to a honey bee farm to observe how to make honey straight from the source. Continue the cycling trip around the village and stop at a local farmer’s garden with a specialty of the region called “lá sâm.” The host will take you around his lush garden to pick some leaves and show you how to make the special herbal jelly.

Board a sampan for a ride along the narrow canals of the Mekong Delta before getting back on the ferry to cross the river and return to Ho Chi Minh City.

Notes:

  • Suggested time: 08:00
  • Duration: 7-8 hours
  • The cycling distance can be 5 km, depending on your physical ability and length you desire
  • The exploration can be done on foot, horse cart or tri-motorcycle instead of the cycling

This morning, you will be transferred to the airport to take the flight to Hue.

Upon arrival at Hue airport to downtown by your private vehicle.

Buddhism is the main religion in Hue, and Hue people practice Buddhism with all their hearts and spirits for thousand years. Therefore, Hue is also recognized as the sacred place for vegetarian cuisine. Stop at another small pagoda where you will witness how local monks practice and make offering with vegetarian dishes. Enjoy a mindfulness lunch with pagoda cooked vegetarian food.

Drive to the Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument. Built in 1601, the seven-storied tower pagoda, perched on top of on a hill overlooking the Perfume River, is one of Vietnam’s most recognizable icons.

Hue was the imperial capital of the Nguyen Lords from the 17th to the 19th centuries, and its magnificent emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas, and the remains of the Citadel add to its undeniable royal charm. Explore the Imperial Citadel, which is located in the heart of the Complex of Hue Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage site. As your guide explains the events and intrigue surrounding the former royal court, enter through the towering main gate and take in the magnificent architecture and gardens. Despite being heavily bombed during the Vietnam War, some sections are incredibly well-preserved and others are being carefully restored.

Notes;

  • Suggested time: 13:30
  • Duration: 5 hours

Reintroduced by Chef Madame Nhu Huy, Salt Rice is one of the most luxurious and emblematic delicacies of the old Imperial city of Hue. The dish can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as frying, steaming, or braising, and come with a variety of flavors such as sesame, lemongrass, galingale, and shrimp. We can talk with Madame Nhu Huy, who was born and grew up in a Royal family, to understand her effort to search and preserve ancient recipes. And of course, you will have the chance to appreciate this delicacy at Madame Nhu Huy’s home. It is necessary to enjoy these dishes slowly to enhance the fragrance of rice and the salty, peppery, sweet, and sour taste of different types of salt rice.

Notes:

  • Availability: Evening
  • Suggested time: 18:00
  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Capacity: Max. 15 pax

Morning is free at leisure.

In the afternoon, take a short drive to Tam Giang Lagoon, the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and unquestionably the most beautiful place to visit. Explore the ancient village. Visit a friendly fisherman’s home and watch him weave traditional fishing tools and a bamboo sampan before joining him on a boat ride across the beautiful lagoon. Admiring the authentic lifestyle of boat dwellers, learning how generations of families “eat, pray, love,” and survive on a house-boat, is an eye-opening experience. Paddle gently alongside the unique aqua-culture farm system before beginning the original fishing techniques. Continue your visit to a vegetable farm for a special “farm to table” dinner cooked with the host.

Notes:

  • Suggested time: 14:00
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Dinner at local house

This morning, you will be transferred to the airport to take the flight to Hanoi.

Compared to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi is more traditional and refined. As Hanoi is becoming more populated with people and automobiles, the city is experiencing more traffic congestion, particularly in the Old Quarter.

Spend half a day touring Hanoi’s colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards, and gorgeous lakes. Hanoi’s Old Quarter coffee shops offer a glimpse into local life. Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a marble and granite structure built to preserve the body of Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, known as “Uncle Ho.”. The One Pillar Pagoda, built in 1049 from wood in the shape of a lotus blossom and supported by a single stone pillar, is Vietnam’s most famous pagoda and worth to stop at. Continue to visit Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House. Some of his belongings are displayed in his bedroom, up the stairs. Stop by the late-11th-century Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university. This well-preserved temple is featured at the back of the 100,000 dong Vietnamese note.

Notes:

  • Availability: Morning only
  • Suggested time: 13:30
  • Duration: 3.5 hours

Eating on the street is a very typical activity for Hanoians and makes up an important part of the city’s unique culture. Depart your hotel in the early evening to take a walk with your tour guide to the Old Quarter. Try the typical local snacks such as Banh Goi (deep fried wheat flour cake stuffed with minced pork), Banh My Pate or Banh My Lan Ong (Hanoi baguette), Pho Ga or Bun Ca (chicken noodle soup or Fish noodle soup) or Oc (steamed Vietnamese snails with ginger fish sauce). Later head to Dong Xuan night market which is well known for all types of goods including souvenirs. Try your hand at bargaining for a good deal before heading off to Beer Corner in the old corner to try a cold glass of Bia Hoi (fresh draft beer) like a local.

Notes:

  • Availability: Evening only
  • Suggested time: 18:00
  • Duration: 3.5 hours
  • Capacity: max. 8 pax

Spend your morning like a local Hanoian, read newspaper, sip a coffee, and wander around the markets to bargain for second hand goods.

Today’s tour guide will take you to the “standing newspaper“, where you may get an informative explanation from the guide about the Hanoians’ subsidiary period, when newspapers were a luxury. Then, stop at a local egg coffee shop to observe and listen to the sounds of daily life in the Old Quarter before proceeding to Gioi Market, a corner where thousands of trade goods are sold, from the smallest items such as nails and batteries to large items such as motors, electronic goods, and refrigeration equipment. You’ll be astonished at how many small shops are in the middle of the street, as well as how tough it is for motorcycles to navigate the narrow streets. Continue your exploration by driving to a rail station in a Hanoi suburb to board a local train returning to the city center. After 10 minutes, disembark from the train and walk down the tracks, crossing “cuisine street” where you can discover many wonderful street eats before stopping at “Zo Paper Project” – where young and active Vietnamese people create new values on traditional paper.

Notes:

  • Availability: Morning only
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Suggested time: 08:30
  • Special note: Not available during Tet holidays

Afternoon is free at own leisure.

Depart for a journey to Ha Long Bay. On arrival in Ha Long Bay, let the vacation begin with a lunch as the boat cruises towards South East Ha Long Bay. Spend time to discover the mysterious caves, tranquil beaches along the bay, as well as take part in some cooking activities on board.

Wake up early and partake in a Tai Chi demonstration which is held on the upper deck. And then enjoy light breakfast is served onboard. The boat weighs anchor to sail to some fishing villages. You can choose either kayak or traditional rowing boat to go around discovering local life on the waters.

Check out in the afternoon, drive back to Hanoi. Make a stop on the way at a local village for stretching your legs or having a chance to witness the local life of Northern countryside.

Transfer to the airport to take the departure flight home or continue the extension to other destinations. 

Our signature experiences
Evening food carving
Saigon, Vietnam
Local street food on cyclo
Hue, Vietnam
Morning market and food tour
Hanoi, Vietnam
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Evening food carving

Your experience:

For hundreds years street eats has become a typical culture of Saigonese’s life style. A visit to this young bustling city is not recognized perfect without experiencing its night life and street food. This evening at 18:00, make your first stop at the oldest local Banh Mi shop (bread roll) which is granted to sell the best bread rolls in Saigon. You might need to line up for few minutes to be served, and it is a good chance to observe how the famous bread rolls are made. Your next visit will bring you a real experience of street eats with Banh trang nuong (grilled rice paper). Banh trang nuong is a special nosh of Dalat and has just become popular in Saigon for the past few years. Make your next stop at a small drinks stall to enjoy some fruit shakes. The owners and their staff are deaf and mute. After migrating to Saigon many years ago, they have gone through many difficulties and finally run this drinks stall for a living until now. Then walk to a nearby dessert stall selling delicious Chuoi nep nuong (grill banana with coconut milk). Keep strolling down the street, enjoy some dumpling soup or fried rice cake which are originally snacks of local Chinese Vietnamese. Your final stop will be at the busiest street of the areas which is famous for fresh grilled seafood. Stretch your leg and enjoy local chilled beer. Transfer back to your hotel in the late evening.

Quick notes: 

  • Availability: Evening only
  • Suggested time: 18:00
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • This is a walking tour with vehicle support

Inclusions:

  • Private transfer
  • English speaking guide
  • Water and tissue
  • Street food tasting and drinks.
Try out local street food tour by a cyclo

Highlights:

  • Taste most of Hue’s specialties, from the typical royal cuisines to the unique street deserts and drinks.
  • Take a fun ride on cyclo around Hue city at night for an insight of Hue street life by night.

Your experience

You will be picked up at your hotel and hop on a cyclo to a local market to observe the evening trading activities. Your guide will escort you through the local streets and stop at the food stores to taste some specially selected traditional street food such as rice noodle soup with fish, Hue cakes, grilled pork chop, and Hue hot and spicy noodles soup – one of the most typical cuisines of Hue. You will also have an opportunity to taste another important branch of Hue’s cuisine, vegetarian dishes, which are inherited from a long and strong Buddhist background in the area. Wrap up your interesting food tour with a sampling of Hue-style desserts such as sweet soups, yogurt or sugarcane juice. Transfer back to your hotel later in the evening.

Quick notes:

  • Availability: Evening
  • Suggested time: 18:00
  • Duration: 3.5 hours

Inclusions:

  • Private transfer
  • English speaking guide
  • Cyclo ride
  • Street food
  • Water and tissue.
Morning market and food tour

Highlights:

  • Stroll around the busy streets in the morning and witness the bustling trading activities of the local shops, get to understand about the market cultures of Northern Vietnam in general and Hanoi in specific
  • Taste various types of popular Hanoian’s breakfasts and snacks, sip the Vietnamese cappuccino like a local does.

Your experience:

Join your guide – also a local food expert this morning to explore every corner of the food paradise Old Quarter. Make your first stop at a small Bun Thang shop(vermicelli soup) located at the corner of a busy street. The owner – a middle age woman have used her own secret recipes to make the best Bun Thang in Hanoi with chicken broth and spices. Stroll down the road to visit a local market where you can witness the bustling trading activities, listen to your guide explaining about the street market culture of Vietnamese, and challenge yourself with bargaining skill. Stop to taste Com cake (young green rice cake) – an autumn specialty of Hanoi (this is a seasonal option). Com cake is a mixture of fresh Com with sticky rice and green beans, shaped as square or round. Continue walk down the street to try some fried dumplings dipped in sweet and sour sauce. Your next stop will be at a small Pho Cuon shop (rice noodle rolled with vegetable and beef). Wrap up your tour at a small coffee shop opened since 1954, which is famous for Vietnamese cappuccino – egg coffee. Walk back to your hotel in the late morning.

Quick notes:

  • Availability: Morning
  • Suggested time: 08:00
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • This is a walking tour with no vehicle support.

Inclusions: 

  • English speaking guide
  • Street food and drinks
  • Water and tissue.
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Your special interests
Hanoi countryside tales by traditional crafts

Today, drive an hour along the Red River to Ha Noi’s neighboring countryside through immense rice fields and fruit farms. Visit the village that birthed Vietnamese incense upon arrival. This village’s incense, made from over 30 herbs with skills passed down from generation to generation, is known for its pure, light scent. A guided stroll through the hamlet with older residents will take you to various family-run workshops to see the entire incense-making process and hear about the glory days of this traditional craft. Help the host make incense.

Take another short drive to a rural community behind endless rice fields and duck farms. The locals’ 200-year-old fish-pot crafting heritage includes bamboo weaving. Walk around the village to see the typical Northern countryside architecture: dark brown tiled roofs, three-room houses with elders sitting in front weaving fish-pots and chatting. Visit a local artisan who rode his bike across Vietnam to proudly promote his village’s unique traditional craft. Create your own fish pot with his help and give it as a present.

Notes:

  • Availability: Morning
  • Suggested time: 08:00
  • Duration: 6 hours

*Optional to add Nha Xa silk village
*Incense making at Thon Cao, Hung Yen. Fish-pot making village at Thu Sy, Hung Yen.
*Possible to have lunch at Hung Yen