Rich Ingredients ~ Deep Flavors
Understanding the origins of the ingredients you employ is central to producing healthy flavorful dishes. Exploring how vegetables and herbs are grown and harvested, when and how meat and poultry are slaughtered, and acquainting yourself with the butchers, vendors, and community of growers behind each element that goes into your food is fundamental to being a good chef. At the Provincial Table, we pride ourselves in curating only the freshest highest quality ingredients for our guests. Our guided market tour offers students insight into how we procure meats and vegetables on a day-to-day basis.
Cho Ben Thanh
Our Market Tour of Saigon’s most iconic market, Cho Ben Thanh, gives each of our visitors the opportunity to experience first hand the vibrant bustling commercial hub that continue to be a part of daily life in Vietnam.
fresh meat stalls
The butcher’s stalls at Cho Ben Thanh offer some of the freshest cuts of meat that can be found anywhere. Livestock is slaughtered daily and often only hours before being delivered directly to the market where it can be purchased immediately for consumption.
live fish market
Seafood holds a very special place in Vietnamese cuisine. The country’s twenty-one-hundred mile long coastline and massive network of river and streams (Red River Delta in the North and the Mekong Delta in the South) offer a bountiful supply of aquatic life to support the country’s dietary needs. The fish market at Ben Thanh provides a myriad of live species of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and exotic marine animals that can all be purchased, cleaned, and prepared to order.
fruits, vegetables, & herbs
Fresh herbs and vegetables play an indispensable role in Vietnamese cuisine. The use of raw fresh herbs eaten as an accompaniment to meals is especially common and distinguishes Vietnamese cuisine from other Asian cultures. At Ben Thanh, greengrocers can be found throughout the market offering a wide variety of plant species throughout the year, especially in Ho Chi Minh City where the temperature rarely ever falls below 21°C (70 °F).
spices & seasonings
Vietnamese cooking makes extensive use of dry spices and seasonings. Due to the cultural influence of so many different nations on the cuisine, a properly stocked Vietnamese pantry quickly begins to look like an encyclopedia of international seasonings. From pâté and cheese to sun-dried shrimp and Indian curry powder, the stalls of Ben Thanh makes it all conveniently available.
Immersive Culinary Course
Upon completion of the market tour, guests are accompanied to our kitchen in District 1 where professional chefs will guide them through a fully interactive four course meal. Each student will be assigned to a private cook-station and provided all the necessary ingredients to perfect a meticulously assembled menu of classic Vietnamese dishes. Through the preparation of these courses we hope each guest adds new recipes and techniques to their repertoire, but even more so, we strive to serve as ambassadors of Vietnamese culture and heritage through an examination of the countries broad culinary traditions.