September 20, 2010


Well it's clear my "hiatus" was a little bit more than that. But well there is only so much blogging one single person can do. A quick note to say that now that I have (yikes) kids (plural), one of my latest building-community projects, is starting a playgroup for all the Vietnamese friends I have met with kids. So the write up from the NYC Viet Kids Playgroup meetup page is as follows:

An informal place for parents of Vietnamese and mixed-Vietnamese kids, toddlers and infants to come together and meet other families. It's not easy to maintain ties to Vietnamese culture for our kids so this meet-up group is to provide a support system for whenever you want to access it. The group is casual and loosely knit, comprised of parents who would like their children to know something of their heritage and to occasionally meet other similar families.
This group is only for parents with Vietnamese or mixed-Vietnamese children.

Come join us! No pressure to be super Vietnamese or hard-core cultural, just come and hang.

June 27, 2008

a hiatus

It's been awhile since I posted anything here but other things have been occupying my life (like motherhood :)) and so I think this blog will have to rest for now. With the burgeoning meetup community, the NY Vietnamese School and the growing number of creatives in NYC, I don't feel so terrible. I will continue to add links to the sidebars so if you know of any local artists, creatives or just interesting Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Americans living and working in NYC let me know!

In the meantime, I will be focusing my efforts on a different blog project, this one about LUNCH. Thanks for following along all this time and for tolerating my avid internet stalking! Some of us have become good friends through this site and I could not have wished for anything more.

March 17, 2008

CE/VN at M.Y. Art Prospects - Mar. 1 - Mar. 29

Contemporary Vietnamese Artists Collaborate on Cadavre Exquis Video Series. M.Y. Art Prospects presents the new exhibition entitled CE/VN, featuring a unique collaborative exquisite corpse video series by Vietnam-based artists. For more information and links to the artists, go to their site.

Reception: Thursday, March 20 6pm - 9pm
Show: March 1 - March 29, 2008
M.Y. Art Prospects
547 West 27th Street, 2nd Floor

Vietnamese School Registration - Mar. 29

It's time! The New York Vietnamese School starts its second quarter. Following a very successful first quarter, the new set of classes starts on April 12. An assessment test is being held March 29 at the Chinatown YMCA.

Open Registration & Assessment Test
NYVS - New York Vietnamese School
Saturday March 29 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Chinatown YMCA
273 Bowery at Houston

February 11, 2008

Bone Marrow Drive - Feb. 16

The Cammy Lee Leukemia Foundation is looking for minority donors. You could save a life!
Hosted by the Cammy Lee Leukemia Foundation, the New York Vietnamese School, the NYC Vietnamese Language & Cultural Meetup Group, Lac Hong Magazine and the VCHI, NYVACA, Lua Viet, Columbia VSA, LIU VSA, NYU VSA and other local churches and temples, the marrow drive is happening this weekend.
Marrow Drive
Saturday February 16, 2008
3:00pm - 6:00pm
YMCA University Settlement
273 Bowery (at Houston)
(714) 232-3572

February 08, 2008

making Bánh Chưng

Every year for as long as I can remember my mom has been making bánh chưng for Tết. She spends two full days prepping, assembling and then cooking enough bánh chưng for the entire family and beyond. Since the process is so time consuming people rarely make their own, but we have been so lucky as to have never had anyone else's but my mom's homemade ones. I try and go home to help her as it takes all day to assemble just 2 dozen bánh chưng.
Banh Chung (1)Banh Chung (2)
Preparations start the day before I come home, the mung beans have to be soaked and then gently cooked. The rice needs to be soaked as well. The leaves are washed thoroughly and the pork sits overnight marinating.
Banh Chung (3)
At first we made them by hand but it's difficult to hold the leaves in the right form so my dad made us some wooden frames. The wooden frames helped but these new metal ones he made are the best. There are two sets of leaves layered one on top of another, and everything sits on a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil.
Banh Chung (4)
Finally everything is laid out and we're ready to assemble!
Banh Chung (5)Banh Chung (6)
The first layer to go down is the gạo nếp (rice). My mom learned a new trick this year from her sister, if you ever so slightly cook the rice the grains will adhere to one another making it easier to shape in the molds. Centered on top of the rice goes one cup of đậu (mung beans). Then a piece of thịt heo (pork), another cup of the đậu (mung beans) and a last layer of rice. Everything is packed tightly in. You pull the leaves over the entire stack, using the foil to hold everything together.
Banh Chung (7)
Finally it gets tied together with string. My mom has two enormous soup pots just for cooking bánh chưng every year. They have to boil for 8-10 hours and be monitored along the way so the water is always above the level of the cakes. My mom learned from my dad's mom and they were from the north. Per Northern traditions, we make bánh chưng, the square kind, while in the South they make round ones and it's called báng tét. The ingredients are the same though. And the taste so delicious.
On Tết morning my mom cuts them into slices and fries them up for breakfast. We the siblings each get several cakes to take home and freeze. They last throughout the entire year so whenever we're homesick or craving bánh chưng we're instantly transported home to New Year morning.

January 23, 2008

New York Vietnamese School/ Truong Viet Ngu

I wasn't able to attend the opening ceremonies of the Vietnamese School but check it out! I'm completely impressed that both the Vietnamese-American Community Association of New York and the Vietnamese Language & Cultural Meet-up Group have succeeded to such a large extent. They're off to a great start and hopefully will remain a strong presence in the community.