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Excellent experience and kind Mrs Helene who made us feel really at home.....
Trudy S Australia
Lulu Belle United States of ...
This is a very difficult review for me to write, but because I trust the integrity of Viator, I need to honestly share my experience. My tour guide Kelly was very pleasant and punctual. We walked from a central meeting spot in Xi'an to the Metro and took the subway out past the outer circle of Xi'an. We then took a 5 minute taxi ride to the apartment where the chef Bianca greeted us. I was the only person on the tour that day - and to be fair - it was technically a holiday and there was a truck/car stoppage due to the smog so traffic was relatively light. While I sat in the living room drinking tea, Bianca had already begun food preparation. On several occasions, I asked to join Kelly and Bianca in the kitchen to observe what Bianca was doing and they seemed alittle confused by my request. Shortly, family members and friends came over with additional dishes that were already made. One of the visitors was apparently a professional chef. We sat at the dining table and they produced a bag of pre-made purchased dumpling disks. I was able to observe how to stuff and fold the dumplings but the professional chef kept taking them from me and refolding them. During this time, Bianca was in the kitchen cooking other side dishes. I didn't see the pork filling being made and I didn't see how long the dumplings cooked. We all sat down to eat lunch and I really enjoyed this part of the experience. We were all able to converse through several guests who spoke English. I have taken cooking classes literally all over the world. And, based upon the Viator description and other reviews, I was expecting an experience where I would actually learn to make the dumpling wrappers and filling - and then cook them. As I proceeded to ask Kelly questions along the day, I learned that this was actually Bianca's first time teaching this course and she was a bit uninformed as to what to do. It was very kind and generous that I was treated as a guest in her home, but I left the experience feeling rather unfulfilled. Additionally, it was WAY past more than 2 hours the ending time and in order to get back to my hotel to meet my husband, I opted for a very expensive taxi ride rather than the metro. I offered Kelly to come with me back to center city and I paid for the entire ride. Kelly did follow up and send me the recipes I requested several days later - but the recipe is for actually making the dumpling dough from scratch so I'm still at a loss. Based upon other reviews, I feel this experience could have been so much more in line with my expectations based upon the course summary posted on Viator. So, I think the course is highly dependent upon the day, number of participants and instructor. Again, Kelly, Bianca and her family/friends were very kind and gracious so it pains me to type this review - but it did not meet my expectations to learn to make dumplings and come back to the US to cook for my family and friends. It would not keep me from using Viator in the future, but I will definitely ask more questions.
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