The Year of the Cat

This is a double-duty post, celebrating Vietnamese New Year and today’s sing-out-loud song.

If you know how to make banh chung, you are not a lazy person during Tet.

Making the Vietnamese version of chicken noodle soup (but with glass noodles, and canned shoots instead of dried) for the Boy this week, and attempting to make a version of Vietnamese beef jerky, led me to Google searches for recipes, which led me to this wonderful blog post entitled “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Celebrating Tet”. Of course, it gave me a craving for all sorts of yummy foods that I don’t get to eat often enough, and luckily for us, the timing is just right for a trip into the city for some New Year’s treats on February 3rd, the official first day of the Lunar New Year. We hope to nosh on a lovely meal, then buy some treats for later: banh chung of course, some Vietnamese sandwiches, and lately, I’ve been having a craving out of nowhere for this not-very-common dessert called che xoi nuoc. I’m either too lazy or not capable yet of making all of these at home, so indeed, I will be celebrating New Year’s the lazy way.

A friend of mine commented recently that she feels that her child might have lost touch with his Asian side, and I asked if she’d celebrate New Year’s with him in a special way. A “special way”, in my opinion, mostly involves only food; the dances, costumes, lì sì envelopes, superstitions and rituals are secondary to the food. I’m glad that my kids enjoy foods from their Asian side (not all mixed-race kids do), and readily submit to being taken to some sort of New Year’s celebration most years. Although our weekend schedules didn’t leave room for attending any big events this year, at least we always have the food to fall back on. And if the slush and snow piles aren’t too high, maybe I can even convince them to go out for their meals wearing their traditional Vietnamese outfits instead of their Canadian parkas and snowpants  . . .

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Today’s sing-out-loud song:

So many people know the Chinese zodiac that I’d completely forgotten it’s the Year of the Cat for the Vietnamese, until I read the VWK blog post mentioned above. The Girl will be happy to know that, and I’m sure the tune will stick in my head all day. I have such a wonderful memory of listening to this song when I was younger. An older cousin introduced songs like this to us, and then decamped to California as soon as he was 18. I always think of California when I hear this song now, and I have an urge to visit there one day soon . . .

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