Happy Valentine and Vietnamese New Year 2010!
Today is Valentine's Day and Tết (the Vietnamese New Year)! First, I want to tell my husband Lulu how much I love him. We've known each other for more than 10 years now, married for 5 and I look forward to spending more years of blissful happiness with the love of my life. Joyeuse Saint-Valentin mon coeur!
Since the Lunar New Year (or Tết in Vietnam) fell on February 14th this year, we spent the weekend in San Jose for the Tết Festival. If you're in the area, go to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully Road, San Jose, CA 95111. You can see the Dragon dance and taste Chinese New Year delicacies.
I happened to be interviewed by last year Vietnamese beauty queen about the Tết Festival. It was a fun and unexpected surprise. She's in the picture next to me below. We're both wearing the traditional áo dài (it literally translates to "long dress" in Vietnamese). You can watch on Viet Today Channel -KCNS 38.3 (if you have the special channel on cable).
As promised, I taste-tested several versions of bánh tét, which are rolls of sticky rice stuffed with sweets or meat and mung beans and wrapped in banana leaves. Some of the best were from CD Bakery & Deli -Dao Bakery & Deli LLC, (1816 Tully road, #198, San Jose CA 95122) and the ones from L'amour des baguettes (1181 Story road, San Jose, CA 95122). My personal favorite was the banana-flavored bánh tét from CD Bakery. The layer of cơm nếp (glutinous rice) is not too thick, contains red beans and is cooked to perfection. The banana center is very flavorful. The lady from the bakery said it takes up to 12 hours to boil the sticky rice cake rolls. It's a once-a-year delicacy.
So Chúc Mừng Năm Mới everyone! Happy Year of the Tiger and again, Happy Valentine's Day. Whether you celebrate one or both, I hope that you have a wonderful day with the ones you love.