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Authentic Vietnamese food: A treat for hardworking teachers

Vietnamese food is one of the world’s beloved dishes. With their Vietnam travel plans cancelled due to COVID-19, a group of teachers turned to cooking Vietnamese food at the Palate Sensations Team Building studio to have a taste of Hanoi.

American travel writer Deborah Cater said, “You have to taste a culture to understand it.” So when their Vietnam travel plans got cancelled due to COVID-19, the next best thing a group of teachers chose to do was to have a cooking class together at the Palate Sensations Team Building studio to taste a slice of Vietnamese food and culture.

This unique team building experience was part of the teachers’ continuing learning programme with the National Institute of Education Singapore.

vietnamese food
The teachers at their cooking team building class making Vietnamese food with Chef Lynette Foo.

To experience a taste of Vietnam, we decided to make pho. Deceptively simple, this noodle dish, however, offers an amalgam of exciting flavours with every slurp. A bowl of pho includes the following ingredients: spices, herbs, red chilli, crunchy bean sprouts, and chicken or beef broth, tender slices of meat and chewy rice noodles. This combination makes a bowl of pho soul-soothing more than just being a meal to satisfy one’s grumbly in the tummy. Little wonder, pho is revered as Vietnam’s national dish.

Teachers learning hands-on to make pho.

At Palate Sensations Team Building, we believe that the secret to a great pho lies in its broth. Instead of using the usual beef or chicken bones, we used pork as most of the participants did not eat beef. We focused on teaching the teachers to make pork pho based broth. The broth we served to the group was prepared from 48 hours of simmering in low heat and letting the ingredients infuse with each other.

The result was a satisfying meal, up to the last slurp!

An assembly of delicious Pho ingredients, including the broth that was simmered for 48 hours!

As a team building activity, enjoying Vietnamese food was a given. Beyond that, Chef Lynette Foo also walked the teachers down Vietnam’s history, tracing back to the history of the pho and how it evolved into two versions: Pho Bac from the North and Pho Nam from the South.

Pho is a very famous Vietnamese food. According to history, pho originated in Nam Dinh province in Northern Vietnam, around the time the French colonised the country in the 1880s. It is believed that the word Pho is a Vietnamese adaptation of the French soup pot au feu. The locals took the beef meat and bone parts that the French did not like in their dishes, and turned it into the famous pho that people from all over the world have come to love to this day.

North and South Vietnam. Image: researchgate.net

When the country was divided into North and South Vietnam in 1954, the Northerners fled to the South to escape communism. They brought with them their culinary tradition of making pho. The Southerners infused it with locally abundant ingredients, including chicken, and the dish, later on, became Pho Nam, or Southern Vietnam style pho. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, many Vietnamese desperately fled South Vietnam to many different parts of the world and brought pho with them. Therefore, the pho that has been exported all over the world is predominantly the ones from the South.

The teachers enjoyed making and sharing this world-famous Vietnamese food and learning the history behind it. They also made other Vietnamese food, including fresh and fried spring rolls.

Making fresh and fried spring rolls.

Most importantly, they learned that if one’s travel plans get cancelled, food is a great connection to the destination. If you can’t travel, you can still enjoy the food of a certain country at a Palate Sensations Team Building!

Delicious fresh vegetables spring roll. These teachers can cook!
Crunchy fried spring rolls!

If you want to experience learning to cook Vietnamese food and other cuisines with your work teams, contact Palate Sensations Team Building today. We’re delivering culinary-inspired team building programs that inspire leadership, cohesion, and strategic thinking over food and fun. We uphold strict safety protocols amid COVID-19. Browse and book our Team Building programs here or contact us to learn more!

We hope to see you at your next cooking team building event with us!