we began our second morning by going to a local, off-the-beaten-path produce/meat/fish market where our guide showed us the ingredients we would be using in our cooking class later that morning. in the u.s. i don't ever remember seeing pigs heads, bladders, or feet lying around the meat counter at whole foods, let alone a cow carcass hanging from the ceiling dripping blood all over the place...so much of that is shielded from our sterilized eyes....well, it's all hanging out here in asia....i see it in korea too. at first it feels shocking and then i realize that this IS the reality, anywhere in the world....when we eat beef, we're eating cow's flesh, whose body was probably hanging from a ceiling dripping blood after it was killed....when we eat pork, i know for me it's easy to NOT think about the fact that i am ingesting part of a pig's body who had a head, a bladder, and four feet....when i become mindful of this often hidden from my eyes reality, i find it very, very difficult to eat meat and actually have no desire for it.
this striking fruit is called "buddha's hand."after the trip to the market, we went to the "highway 4" restaurant in hanoi where we learned how to prepare some vietnamese dishes!chefs jennifer, jennie and manuella hard at work!david and i deep-frying the catfish filets with the guidance of our cooking instuctor, jun, who kept referring to himself as "tiny pepper with big spice." yikes!taking a breather, enjoying the first course!the chef of "highway 4", making sure our catfish spring rolls were up to par!let the competition begin! who has the best banana flower salad?!?david....ever-so-confident about his creation!i think we can all guess which team took first prize! :) just kidding! it was a three-way tie!and our last delicious surprise: cashew chicken!