Wow, we can’t believe how time flies. The year of the Goat is right around the corner and during this time, Vietnamese and East Asians across the globe prepare to celebrate the biggest holiday of the year, Tết, the Lunar New Year on Thursday Feburary 19, 2015. This year we’re especially blessed to introduce to you to our newest family member, Emi. She’s a bubbly 7 month old and she’s here to bless you dear readers with New Year wishes of good health, good luck, and good fortune. Please send any Li Xi “lucky money” to her college fund please, thank you very much!
All kidding aside, this time of year is extremely important because it’s a time to celebrate not just the turning of the calender from the year of the horse to year of the goat, but it’s significance lies in the many family traditions that abound with the lunar new year. One of the most important traditions for Vietnamese and Asian families during Tet is to acknowledge the importance of family. Before the new year, families will pay respect to those that have passed recently away as well as distant ancestors. During and after the new years, families make every effort to come together back home to celebrate. The young children will wish their elders in a tradition called mừng tuổi and in return, get lì xi lucky money in return. And when you know what happens when a big Vietnamese families get together right? Yes. Food, plenty of food, and more glorious food.
Our favorite Tết foods include Bánh chưng and bánh tét, savory sticky rice cakes filled with seasoned pork and mung beans eaten with dua mon, a giardiniera style of condiment with green papaya, daikon, carrot, and leeks, brined in a seasoned fish sauce. We enjoy the banh chung at room temperature or pan fried so that the sticky rice is crisp on the outside but still soft and chewy on the inside with plenty of dua mon. Other popular dishes are often special dishes such as thịt kho nước dừa, braised pork belly in coconut water which is then wrapped in rice paper.
We’re going to do our best to teach little Emi the traditions of Tết and you better bet we’re gonna teach her how to mừng tuổi every elder she comes into contact with for some of that lucky money! During Tet children often wear new clothes to ring in the new year. Above, Emi is wearing the traditional ao dai with khanh dong head piece that her grandma got for her. We’ve decorated the house with yellow bloomed branches of hoa mai (Vietnamese Micky-mouse plant) and large pots of yellow chrysanthemums. Here in California, we’re so fortunate to live in a large Vietnamese and Asian community where the Lunar new year holiday is celebrated in such a spirited way. This year we’re excited to introduce you to what promises to be a fun Lunar Celebration at Westfield Mainplace for the entire family. We can’t to introduce Emi to traditional childrens games and crafts, lucky money give aways, music, and a liondance as well as traditional cultural dances!
- What: Lunar New Year Celebration
- Where: Westfield Mainplace 2800 Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705 | Macy’s and Nordstrom Court
- When: Sunday 2/15/15 from 1-5 pm
- Activities: Lucky Wishing Tree, Children’s Games &Crafts, Calligraphy Painting, Asian Dough Art, Red Envelope Distribution, Interactive Zodiac Display, Traditional Lion Dance and more!
We can’t wait to celebrate Emi’s first Lunar New Year and hope to see you there too! Check out the event Facebook page, follow on social media
#WestfieldLNY, and come celebrate the year of the Goat and say hello if you see us there!
- 1 14-15 oz bag of dried julienned daikon
- 1 large carrot sliced thinly crosswise
- 1 8 oz can of pickled leeks included it's juices
- 1 cup green papaya thinly sliced into 1 inch squares
- 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 4 whole thai chile stem removed
- 1 cup quality fish sauce such as red boat
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- In a large 1/2 gallon jar with wide mouth add water and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Add fish sauce and all the ingredients into the jar and season to taste. Allow to soak at least 24 hours at room temperature. Serve with banh chung and banh tet. Lasts for at least 3 weeks at room temperature and months in the fridge.