Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chuc Mung Nam Moi! Happy Year of the Pig!

Chuc Mung Nam Moi! Wishing everyone a happy lunar new year! Happy Year of the Pig! Remember I said that the banana bread I baked for my aunties and uncles was nothing in comparison to what I get in return? Just look at all the yummy goodies I got this year. From the upper left corner there's sesame brittle and sesame/peanut candies, banh it, dua mon (Vietnamese pickled daikon and carrots), banh tet, banh chung, and lap xuong (Chinese sausage).
Banh tet and banh chung are essential to any Vietnamese Tet celebration, so essential that they're part of a mural in Little Saigon with depictions of Vietnamese history. Read the legend of how the sticky rice cakes helped 16th-in-line Prince Lang Lieu gain the throne. While most people are more familiar with the square-shaped banh chung, my family makes the cylindrical-shaped banh tet. The glutinous rice is compressed more tightly when it's wrapped this way. The sticky rice cakes are filled with fatty pork and mung bean paste (My family likes to substitute with fava beans.), wrapped in banana leaves, and boiled for 12-18 hours.
The banh tet are sliced and can be eaten as is with a side of dua mon, pickled daikon and carrots. Or dipped in sugar. Or my favorite, pan-fried.
Do you like the artful arrangement of lap xuong lil' sis did just for my camera?
Those lovely large and very fresh lap xuong (Chinese sausage) are from Quang Tran, Inc. in Rosemead. A 1-pound package runs about $6-$7. Just look at the color and size. These lap xuong are truly spectacular.
My youngest uncle gave me this batch of banh it.
These savory dumplings are filled with pork, shrimp, mung bean, and tree ear mushrooms.
This was my grandma's specialty and my oldest uncle continues the tradition making sesame brittle and sesame/peanut candies.
And because Tet is supposed to signal the arrival of spring, the very first daffodil bloomed in my garden.
When I first moved to California, I loved how the banks responded to their Asian clientele during the lunar new year by offering fresh crisp bills and complimentary red money envelopes.
Quang Tran, Inc.
9000 E. Garvey Ave. #A
Rosemead, CA 91770 626-569-9427

14 comments:

  1. I'm glad you're feeling better WC. We send our best New Year wishes to you. That Banh It looks great, the versions I've had have always been on the oily side, and without all those great fillings.

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  2. Chuc Mung Nam Moi!
    With a dash of prosperity and health ;-)

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  3. do you know how to cook banh it?

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  4. I really like this post! It's funny, I always associated sesame candy (yum) with Italians (you can always find some in Italian markets). Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Hi Kirk,
    Oily banh it? But it's steamed, there shouldn't be lots of oil...

    Hey Bill,
    Chuc Mung Nam Moi to you! And may you live to be 100 and all that. Or maybe I should wish you a year of good eats! :)

    Hi Greengreen Grass,
    I've never tried making banh it b/c I always get plenty from my mom and aunties. But I've made other dumplings so it shouldn't be hard. Are you requesting a recipe?

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks. You know, on first reading your comment, I thought you said you liked this post b/c you thought it was funny. And I was trying to figure out what was so funny about it. Then I reread it. I think you like it b/c I was talking about family and food, which is all the stuff I like about your blog too! :)

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  6. Hi WC - Yes, it was oily, like they brush oil on it for some reason - very strange I thought.

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  7. Hi Kirk,
    Maybe the oil was so the banh it wouldn't stick to the banana leaves?

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  8. hey WC, wanna drop by to wish you a wonderful, prosperous NY, may it be filled with laughters of joy, cheers ! :)

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  9. Wandering Chopsticks said...
    "...Are you requesting a recipe?"

    Yes, Mam.

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  10. Hi Melting Wok,
    Happy New Year to you too! May your year be prosperous and full of good eats! :)

    Hi Greengreen Grass,
    OK, I'll try someday but not sure when...

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  11. wow i'm so impressed by your family's cooking abilities. :D do you know how to cook all those good eats?

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  12. Hi Budding Cook,
    My aunts and uncles are pretty talented. Yup, my uncles cook too. I've helped make some of these goodies but never made them on my own. No need to when I get them every year. ;)

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  13. i want some white cakes but without the mung beans.

    t

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  14. t,
    Then just moosh some rice together. :P

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