It’s the Year of the Monkey!I went along as a driver to the Tet in Boston celebration (which was actually held in a town near us, not in Boston) recently with my husband and his lovely group of students from Vietnam (and one from Haiti!) to learn English and attend college. He is a volunteer tutor at the nearby convent where they live while they’re here.
There were speeches, dancing, martial arts performances, and ceremonies, but our little group of sisters attracted a lot of attention from the Vietnamese-American crowd and became minor celebrities for the morning. Everyone wanted to have a picture taken with them, and sometimes wanted a picture of our whole group. Maybe because my husband dressed up in his Chinese jacket!
Most of the sisters don’t mind posing for pictures, anyway!
My favorite performance was the Lion Dancers. All young men in pairs, they made the giant dragons dance and leap into the air.
When I saw a few of the Lion Dancers relaxing after their performance, they agreed to let me snap their picture.
There were a lot of vendors and displays.
And, of course, a lot of tables where you could buy food!
I bought a Vietnamese sandwich, bánh mì, to take home and we sliced it and had it for dinner.
When our group of lovely ladies learned that morning that I had not yet tried phở (Vietnamese noodle soup) they decided to treat us to lunch at a nearby Vietnamese restaurant, where they showed me how to eat phở correctly. I made a valiant attempt with chopsticks, but soon gave in and used a spoon.
I ordered the tofu-vegetable phở but accidentally was given plain vegetable phở, which was still delicious. When the apologetic waiter brought me a dish of sauteed tofu, I just added it in!
The Tet in Boston was held before Lunar New Year, so my husband made banh chung to give to his students for their own New Year’s dinner the following week.
I wrote about banh chung in an earlier Weekend Cooking post, if you would like more details on what it is!
These are the two Vietnamese cookbooks my husband has been given. I hope to try a recipe from one or both of them soon!
Happy Lunar New Year and Happy Weekend Cooking!