Last year I didn’t make a big fuss over Tết, but this year I wanted more of a celebration. This year is special because my daughter was born in the year of the rooster. My parents have been sending her all sorts of year of the rooster things: t-shirts and calendars.
I don’t remember making a big deal out of my zodiac year (the horse), so it’s been fun watching how excited Sophia is about her year. Big holidays are bittersweet because we live far away from both sides of our family. I worry that I’m not teaching my kids enough about their Vietnamese culture, but they surprise me.
In the past I’d plan everything myself. This year I asked my husband and kids how they wanted to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Obviously food is a huge part of the new year celebrations. Both kids wanted phở to ring in the new year. We visited our neighborhood phở restaurant (I love that I can say that) for breakfast.
The restaurant has new owners and is now open earlier. Phở is a very common breakfast food, so yay! Their cà phê sữa đá (iced coffee with condensed milk) was very good. It reminded me of the ones my mom bought me during our grocery trips to New Orleans. If you’ve never had one, I highly recommend it.
The husband requested hot pot for dinner. I’m not sure how Vietnamese the broth is, but it’s tomato, onion, and beer based broth that my mom used to make for our hot pots when I was a kid. Funny how certain food brings comfort.
If you’re not familiar with hot pot, it’s a fantastic family style meal. Basically, you get to cook your food tableside in a flavorful broth. I use this electric cooker (affiliate link) to keep the broth hot. Each person cooks their desired item (sliced meats, tofu, mushrooms, seafood, etc) in the broth and removes it when it’s cooked to their desired doneness. I provide lots of lettuce and noodles so we can make lettuce wraps out. This is just one way of eating hot pot.
We were so stuffed after dinner that we didn’t break open the traditional bánh tét. Jaxson was very excited to have it for breakfast the next day. This year I opted for the tubular rice stuffed rice cake instead of the squarish one. It’s a rich food (to bring fortune to your year). We don’t usually finish the bigger one. But boy were we surprised to see that our bánh tét had Mardi Gras colors! It still tasted good.
We had a wonderful, laid back celebration. AND I got these rad lucky rooster socks from Nissan. That is, until Sophia steals them for me.
A very happy lunar new year to you and your family!