Participants always bring food to sessions and always talk about wanting to cook together, so we are extremely excited to be hosting four intercultural cooking sessions at Groundwork London, thanks to some funding from Near Neighbours!

We held our first session this Saturday when Xenia learner Mai led a team of cooks from Rwanda, Sri Lanka, North America, Turkey and the UK to cook traditional Vietnamese noodles for the group to enjoy, complete with a garlicky salad, and fruit for dessert.

Find out more about our head chef for the session and how to make her delicious Vietnamese noodles below.

About the chef

Name: Mai

Where are you from: Vietnam

How long have you been in the UK: 33 years

How long have you  been coming to Xenia: 1 year

What’s your favourite thing about Xenia: In the group, I get to practice my English and learn new things. It’s also a great place to meet friends!

Why did you choose to cook this dish: I often cook this dish for large groups of people and everyone likes it. It is easy to make and a very traditional Vietnamese dish.

How to make Mai’s Vietnamese noodles

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 head of broccoli, chopped into small pieces

A handful of bean sprouts


A handful of coriander, finely chopped

2 spring onions, sliced

Oyster sauce

Soy sauce

Oil for cooking


  1. Bring water to the boil and cook the noodles for 3 minutes. Rinse the noodles with cold water once cooked, then stir in a little oil to stop the noodles sticking together and put to the side.
  2. Bring another pan of water to the boil and cook the broccoli for 5 minutes. Drain and set to the side.
  3. Heat some oil in a wok or large frying pan and add the onion and garlic. Fry until slightly brown then place in a large bowl.
  4. Fry the spring onions and bean sprouts in the wok for 2 minutes and then mix into the onion and garlic.
  5. Fry the cooked noodles in the wok for 2 minutes and then mix into the other cooked ingredients.
  6. Stir in equal measures of oyster sauce and soy sauce to taste, then add the chopped coriander.
  7. Enjoy with friends or family!

We’ll be hosting more sessions over the coming months too, so look out for more recipes from around the world!

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