Vietnam: Culinary Adventures with the ‘Chef in the Hat’

Departures: Vietnam

Culinary Adventures in Vietnam with the ‘Chef in the Hat’

Explore Vietnam’s culinary traditions with award winning, Seattle-based Chef Thierry Rautureau and his wife Kathy. Chef Thierry, known as ‘The Chef in the Hat’, was born in France, where he grew up with the farm-to-table culture that he adheres to in his own restaurants, Luc and Loulay Kitchen and Bar. Markets, cooking classes and demonstrations, tastings, and dining in special places are the focus for this trip. Chef Thierry chose Vietnam because  in his words—“I am curious—how is the French influence still affecting Vietnamese cooking? Is it still prominent or is Vietnam recapturing its original food identity? Let’s find out together”.


We believe that to travel responsibly, a portion of our tour cost should benefit communities in need. For this trip, our donation will go to an organization near and dear to Thierry and Kathy, FOOD LIFELINE, a Western Washington non-profit that provides food to 675,000 people through food banks, hot meal programs, shelters, and more.


Starting at $4990*

For more information and to get started, contact us at How to Book.


February 22 — March 5, 2018

12 Days, 11 Nights

Day 1-2

Depart for Hanoi

Depart home for Hanoi. On late afternoon or evening arrival the next day, transfer to your hotel located in the center of the city. Remainder of the evening is at leisure.

Although it is the modern-day capital of Vietnam, Hanoi still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. Narrow lanes and traditional shop houses invite an exciting exploration by walking, while it’s many beautiful public spaces, lakes, parks, tree-lined boulevards and monuments give the city an air of elegance and harmony with nature unique among Asian capitals.

Day 3

Hanoi Street Food

After breakfast, meet Ms. Anh Tuyet, a famous chef in Hanoi. Together with Ms. Anh Tuyet take a walk through the narrow streets for an introduction to the street food culture of Hanoi. Stop to sample some mouthwatering local delicacies such as bun cha which is rice vermicelli with grilled pork patties, Vietnamese pho made with chicken or beef, fresh green papaya salad, and a decadently sweet dessert.

This evening, walk a short distance from the hotel to a welcome dinner.

Day 4

Hanoi Market Visit & Cooking Class

This morning, visit the traditional home of Ms. Anh Tuyet, also the location of the restaurant named after herself. Walk through the bustling market to get a close look at the different vegetables and herbs, and how they are used in everyday cuisine. Back at Anh Tuyet’s home, roll up your sleeves and get ready to prepare and cook the ingredients into delicious Hanoi-style dishes.

Afternoon and evening at leisure.

Day 5

City Tour & Water Puppets

Enjoy a full morning of sightseeing to visit the Ho Chi Minh Stilt House and One Pillar Pagoda, the beautiful Temple of Literature and the ancient house at 87 Ma May street within Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

Afternoon at leisure and then off to see a Water Puppet Show, a fantastic art form originating in Northern Vietnam, best seen in Hanoi. Dinner after the show is at La Verticale Restaurant.

Day 6

Hanoi — Hoi An

After a short flight to Danang, journey by private coach past the Marble Mountains and small villages enroute to picturesque Hoi An. Known as Faifo to early western traders, it was one of South East Asia’s major international ports during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. This beautifully preserved historic city is best seen on foot and a guided walking tour this afternoon is planned.

Late afternoon arrival at your hotel, relax and soak in the stunning views, or walk along the shore at the nearby beach. Choose from three dining options at the lodge (not included).

Day 7

Hoi An Market Visit & Cooking Class

Following breakfast, participate alongside the Streets Culinary Trainees in a local market tour and a specialty cooking class. This unique experience is not just an opportunity to learn Vietnamese cooking, but to experience firsthand the rich and authentic encounter of working together with these very special students. Enjoy a traditional lunch from the central Vietnam region at Streets restaurant.

Afternoon and evening at leisure.

Day 8

Hoi An Local Life

Travel past floating bridges, lush rice fields, and colorful villages along the Thu Bon River Delta, in the heart of the Vietnamese countryside. Get a behind-the-scenes look at where Hoi An’s colorful lanterns come from, and learn how the delicious Hoi An rice crackers are produced. Stop at Tra Que Village, Hoi An’s vegetable and herb garden. At the end of the tour, unwind in a stunning beach lounge overlooking An Bang Beach.

Dinner tonight at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the rice patties at sunset.

Day 9

Hoi An — Saigon

Depart Hoi An for your flight from Danang to Saigon. On arrival transfer to your hotel, with time to relax. This evening get ready to immerse yourself in the bustling Saigon streets. Along with your guide, set off on foot, the best way to discover the narrow back alleyways. Breathe in the aromas of the herbs and spices as you watch the dishes being cooked right in front of you. Pull up a plastic stool at sidewalk stalls and sample traditional specialties along with the locals.

End the evening in a lively café to get a taste of the Saigon nightlife.

Day 10

Saigon City Tour & Cooking Course

This morning experience Saigon from the seat of a stylish sidecar. Start with a visit to Tao Dan Park to observe the locals and their singing birds, followed by visits to many iconic sites in Saigon, including the Ten Thousand Buddha Pagoda, the Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Reunification Palace. Drive down central Dong Khoi Street passing the spot where, in 1975, during the last days of the war, an iconic photograph was taken of a helicopter evacuating people out of Saigon.

After lunch, attend a cooking course conducted by a renowned professional chef at his unique studio—Grain. Cook a 4-course meal and then enjoy your dishes for dinner!

Day 11

Saigon at Leisure

A day at leisure to explore Saigon on your own. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner together with the group as you say ‘au revoir’ to Vietnam.

Optional morning tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Undetected by American forces, the Cu Chi Tunnels were an important Vietcong base during the war. Over 200 km long, this incredible underground network, dug by hand out of laterite, connected command posts, hospitals, shelter and weapons factories. Today, walk through the area and learn about the daily life of the Vietcong, bear witness to the cleverly disguised entrances and elaborate booby-traps, and venture inside the tunnels.

Day 12

Depart for Home

Following breakfast check out of your hotel and transfer to Hanoi International Airport for your connecting flight home.

Extend your stay! Cambodia & Angkor Wat

Enjoy a 3 day, 2 night adventure exploring the amazing temples and statuary from the Angkorian Empire. The crown jewel of Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat is the national symbol and the highlight of any visit to Cambodia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For pricing and hotel information, contact us at How to Book. The specifics of this itinerary are subject to change based on local conditions at the discretion of Ponte Travels.

• Rates shown are per person, double occupancy. Airfare not included.