Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey


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Sue-On went to a spa with five other ladies from our travel group for massages, pedicures, manicures. The business is owned by a friend of our CEO (Beam), so we were given 30% off instead of the advertised 20%. It was Sue-On's first pedicure, other than ones with the pediatrist. Three weeks of walking had built up some calluses, so she was looking forward to having someone to take care of those. She loved the whole treatment, followed by massage of the feet, then POLISH! 

The other girls thought red, not fire engine red, but a rich red would be perfect for her. The young lady working on her pulled one out, put it on one toe, and yes ... it was a hit!  The whole 60 minutes cost around $15.00! She admitted that it could become habit if it weren't so expensive back home. 

She returned to the room around noon, but Bill was still out, walking somewhere. He came in half an hour later and had been walking for over 2.5 hours! He was drenched in sweat. He was trying to walk in a methodical pattern, heading to the river, etc, but not possible here! He was in some fields, small country lanes, and had motorcyle drivers, and other people trying to give him a ride (for pay of course). 

We were ready for lunch, so went into the hotel restaurant and ordered. They delivered to the room on a big tray: sauteed morning glory, green beans and tofu (both starters), and one main - beef with sesame seeds and a bowl of rice. It was great eating in the A/C room! The dining room had only fans. 
Not sure what dad will be up to later, but I will be doing the cooking class at 4 pm. They take you to the local market to get ingredients, then go back to cook. I wonder if I'll be able to give them any cooking tips?

Sue-On went to a Vietnamese cooking class at 4 pm with four others in our group. The chef and his assistant taught four courses. We started off with a tour of the market place - where all the locals go. Even for clothes, the people buy their fabric here then take it to a tailor...much cheaper than doing everything at the tailor's. You can buy anything there. A second part of the market is open only from 1:00 AM to 6:30 AM. This is like the "wholesale" section... for perhaps restaurants, and the local vendors.

A taxi then took us to the "kitchen". It was pretty cool place. The kitchen is inside an open courtyard, and it is an open kitchen. We used butane "hot plates" and I had my own station. This cooking class was way better than the one on Tuscany that I took at ACC Culinary Arts. We had to prepare everything from scratch, and that's the only way to really learn. So many of the steps are familiar to me, and yet, so different.

The first item was the Rice Pancake Hoi An Style, eaten with a dipping sauce of garlic, chili, cane sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce. Reminded me of an omelet but with rice flour batter. It was delicious. Then Chef did a Pork in Claypot for us to share, starting with a caramel sauce. It was braising while we made our own dishes. This was very good. We did our version of clay pot with tuna and allowed it to braise slowly. 

Then we all helped to make the Green Papaya Salad. We also shredded carrot, taro, green onion, wood ear mushrooms, garlic, minced pork and mixed that all up with some stock, salt and pepper. The filling was wrapped in lacy rice paper then deep fried. The dipping sauce for the Crispy Pancake worked well with these too. 
A couple of the group had been waiting to try durian as I had been talking and raving about it. I picked one up at the market and had it cut up. They didn't mind the smell, and all really enjoyed the taste! I also picked up some "custard apples", or chirimoya... not my favourite, but glad we all tried them. 

A storm was brewing as we were cooking. The wind was strong, lots of thunder and lightning. It was a bit eerie as there was a gong nearby, and the wind made it clang. There was a slight misty rain, so a taxi was sent to take us back to the hotel... around 8 pm.

While I was out cooking, Bill had gone out with our CEO and another couple for supper at Beam's friend's restaurant: Hong Phuc #2.

ick for larger full-screen images

Sue-On's Pedicure ~ Preparation for a long day in the market and kitchen

A walk through the market for ingredients

Arriving at the Cooking Class Centre

The chefs in their kitchen

The dishes we created

Durian for dessert

Photo Annex I: Through the Market
Photo Annex II: In the Kitchen



Copyright 2015
Bill and Sue-On Hillman