TET Blog

May you have good luck for 2019

February 1, 2019
Well, here it comes; my animal year! 2019 will be the year of the pig starting on Tues, February 5th, 2019. It only comes every 12 years. 

I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately. I've got a bit of a medical problem that I pray will work itself out. I've also been going through a big transition in my life. I just moved, like 8 states from where I was at. Sometimes when life has been going so well, you forget the other sad elements that can come too. It's just how life is, and never perfect all the time. 

So I pray that we all get what we deserve in the new lunar year. Work hard, play hard and live smart. << That's my motto. Everything needs to have a balance. 

There are 4 Lunar Year festivals in San Diego this year. That's huge, you guys! I know I won't be able to go to four of them but I am definitely planning on going to the one in Balboa Park. It's free admission and I love Balboa Park. Check out the whole list of lunar year festivals/tet festivals in San Diego for 2019

Is anyone like me waiting for the Game of Thrones to come back on? Come on now, it's going to be a long winter!  Are you team Targaryen (Dragon) or team Stark (Wolf)? I'm all for Jon Snow and he's both! (Spoiler alert if you're not caught up.)

AIM is no more and old users are saddened

November 11, 2018
At the end of 2017, AIM (America Online Instant Messenger) was discontinued. Synonymous with the beginning usage of the internet by my generation as teenagers, it was the start of many people's interest of using a computer, every single day. This was over 20 years ago for me when I started using AIM. 

The abbreviation ASL was understood by everyone in the chatroom. Random strangers would start conversations with you without knowing anything about you except for your screen name. And then they hope that judging by your screen name, they could guess your gender. Sometimes, I'd get it wrong. Now, thinking about it makes me laugh! 

Filled with young people who couldn't drive, had strict parents or didn't know how to socialize well in person, AIM and the AOL chatrooms were their haven to express themselves without fear of being judged. This was where I learned how to talk 'ghetto', even though my English was proper and I knew my grammar. It started an interesting culture of people that carried on to outside the chat box too. 

People could meet other people from different countries without having to use a phone! This was huge back then. Today we use a phone for everything!  People would end up sitting down on their computers just to chat for hours. I know I did it. I created my very first website as a teenager (using a template, of course) because I wanted to have a way to share my pictures to people I would meet in the AOL chat room. Doesn't that sound pathetic? Of course I don't do that any more! It's been decades but to think what started it all; I could only think of AOL. 

AOL and AIM were the prequel to Facebook and Facebook messenger, by decades. In some ways they are so different but similar at the same time. It's funny to me how every once in awhile I'll think about AOL and try to remember what my screen name was. It was so long ago and I've forgotten. Do you remember yours? 

I know many of my friends also ended up meeting people they met in the chat room in person! Most of the time, the girl gets disappointed and ended up not talking to that person any more after meeting them. There have been a few success stories but they are really rare. 

I found out that they started AIM Phoenix and that if you want, you can sign up and create an account using the same screen name that you used for the old AIM, if it hasn't been claimed yet. Who knows, maybe this AIM Phoenix will replace Facebook. The world may never know.

And for you younglings, the ASL abbreviation I mentioned about stood for Age, Sex, Location. There, you have it. 

2019 will be the Year of the Pig

October 19, 2018
I'm looking forward to 2019 already and it's still only October. A lot of sadness happened in 2018. I'm praying that it'll get better.

Every new year, we all hope that it would be in our favor. We look at horoscopes, fortune telling sites and to our elders to find the answers to what it means for our year when Tet, lunar new year, comes around. 

I think that no matter what they say, we all have to try our best to work hard in our careers, relationships and health. You don't get healthy by sitting around at home nor find the love of your life that way either. So go ahead and jot down tangible goals! For example, don't just simply say: I want to lose weight. Say, I want to lose 10lbs or an x amount of weight. 

When it comes to love, I always think trying TOO hard to make a relationship work is bad too. Try but not force. Like for instance, if you'd like to ask someone out on a date, ask them out on a date nicely. If they say no, don't say 'please, give me a chance'. Just move on, and find another more suitable love prospect. Let things fall in line naturally. If there is that chemistry with 2 people, it'll be more special. Be you and be comfortable being you. 

Asian Corner in Charlotte for Pho and Banh Mi

September 9, 2018
For Labor Day weekend, we were in Charlotte, North Carolina to visit the Carowinds and also made a stop to our favorite banh mi restaurant called Le's Sandwiches and tried a pho restaurant nearby. They were both located at the Asian Corner shopping center.

I have never seen a Vietnamese sandwich this small and see it be so incredibly successful. The owner, who is always the cashier, only takes cash but charges tax on all of his transactions. I've never been handed a receipt from this place and as much as I don't like being robbed of my money, I still shell out my cash for their delicious and well-made Vietnamese banh mi (sandwiches). I always get the #1 (banh mi thit nguoi, also known as the combination).

In the same shopping center, we went to Truc's Restaurant. The pho did not seem fresh to me but the flavor was all there. They also had bun bo hue, bun rieu and other popular Vietnamese dishes. 

Around Vietnamese New Year, this Asian Corner shopping center usually hosts a tet celebration with lion dances and firecrackers.

This shopping center also has a supermarket. Although the building is a bit run down, there is real potential for this place to grow.

Tet in Charlotte, North Carolina 2015

March 7, 2015
This year, I celebrated my tet in Charlotte, North Carolina! The weekend festival was located at St. Joseph Vietnamese Catholic Church and I was very impressed with its organization of the whole event. 

There were a total of 7 lions for the lion dance! It was the best lion dance show I have ever seen in the past 31 years of my life! Event was free and there were all sorts of games and food you can purchase. See some of the food that were available from the festival below. Everything was fantastic! 

(Shrimp and Sweet Potato Fritters)

(Banh Mi Xiu Mai) 

(Lion Dance)

(Roasted Duck)

(Pho Dac Biet) 

If you are quite a traveler, I dare you to travel to a different American city that hosts a tet festival and experience it yourself! Happy year of the Sheep!

Making Bun Rieu for the first time on Thanksgiving Eve

November 30, 2014
I had some ground pork that I didn't know what to do with it on the night of Thanksgiving Eve and realized I had some shrimp paste and minced shrimp in jars that my mom left for me when she came to visit last year. 

I have never made bun rieu before and I suddenly decided to take a stab at it! I didn't have green onions or cilantro so I used chives instead. But other than that, I used most of the ingredients that was needed: fresh tomatoes, minced shrimp, shrimp paste, ground pork, pork bones, eggs, nuoc mam (fish sauce) and salt. I used egg noodles instead of regular vermicelli as well, as I didn't have that at home. And, as mentioned, I substituted green onions with chives. Here's my picture below. It tasted better than I thought it would for a first-timer! I am pretty proud of myself! 

Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Spring Rolls)

May 27, 2014
For Memorial Day this year, I made Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon). I like to include pork in my spring rolls but this time I only used shrimp. My navy veteran (husband) had to work so we did our grilling the day before. I know he shouldn't be working on Memorial Day since we want to celebrate all those military men and women who lost their lives for our freedom but his civilian work place (because we're now civilians) is open all year round. At least he got overtime hours. Anyway, here's the picture of my spring rolls. Inside, I also have bean sprouts, mint, lettuce and vermicelli noodles. It's so easy to make. 

Vietnamese Dish - Sauteed snow crab legs with shrimp, cucumbers and tomatoes

May 20, 2014
I was spoiled by my mom's really good Vietnamese cooking. She was originally from Rach Gia, Vietnam and moved to the United States when she was 22 years old. Even though she's lived in America longer than she has lived in Vietnam, all she really cooks is Vietnamese food. 

Here is the latest feature that I try to mimic. It was time consuming for me because I actually hand cracked and removed all the crab meat from the snow crab legs that I bought frozen a couple of months ago. It took me an hour to remove the crab meat but it was so worth it. The way my mom would make it is she would leave the shells on there. It makes it a lot more  time consuming for the eaters, even though it probably would've been a lot easier. 

Here are the ingredients: snow crab legs meat, shrimp, tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions cooked in garlic and vegetable oil. Saute That's it! So easy. Serve it over a bed of rice. 

How I celebrated 3 days of Vietnamese New Year

February 3, 2014
For Tet 2014, I tried to make something special every day for 3 days for Vietnamese New Year. See pictures below to see what I made to celebrate.

For Day 1 of Vietnamese New Year - January 31, 2014, I made Vietnamese carmelized stuff squid and served it over rice.

For Day 2 of Vietnamese New Year- February 1, 2014, we had hot pot (lau) at home. We used the Mongolian Little Sheep brand. It tastes just like the restaurant!

For Day 3 of Vietnamese New Year (which was also Super Bowl 2014), I made boba for the husband and me at home. Yes, I boiled my own boba! We made almond snow bubble. See pictures below.


Chuc Mung Nam Moi - How TetSanDiego.com's publisher is celebrating Tet

January 31, 2014
Even though I am from San Diego and lived there for the first 29 years of my life, I am currently far away from America's finest city right now.

We don't have tet festivals here in this town that I currently reside in and I have not met another Vietnamese person yet to say "Chuc Mung Nam Moi" to their face and probably will not meet any for the rest of the day. And it's okay! I feel that facebook helps me feel close to San Diego since a lot of my cousins posted pictures of food and their festivities online. I'm also currently 38 weeks pregnant with a due date of less than 2 weeks away so it's kind of a nice thing to not have to commit to traditional festivities so that I can rest up before having to give birth to our first child. It's a nice break.

My husband and I decided to go to the Chinese Market to see if there are any veggies we could pick up. We weren't sure if they would be open since both the Chinese and Vietnamese cultures share the same New Year's Day. Luckily they were open and we were able to say "Happy New Year" to them. It was nice. The owner of the market is a Chinese man and the instant he saw me, he was positive that I was having a boy. He didn't even bother asking. He just knew. It's kind of amazing.

Anyway, I picked up some Tong Ho and bitter melon at the market and plan to cook them this weekend for Tet. I'm pretty excited about it since it's probably the only place in the whole city that carries these and we were able to have access to them. I really learn to appreciate the little things being this far away from San Diego.

Of course, I did the traditional thing and called my mom earlier today to wish her a happy new year. She seems to be in good spirits and was not upset at me for not being there like she was last year. I'm glad. Overall, it is a nice beginning of a new lunar year.

Chuc Mung Nam Moi, everyone! Enjoy your time with your family and friends!

Go to the 'Festival Locations' page to find all 4 locations of the lunar new year festivals for 2019 in San Diego! 

Tet San Diego

TetSanDiego.com Born and raised in San Diego, California, the writer of TetSanDiego.com is of Vietnamese heritage, enjoys celebrating Tet and loves banh mi thit nguoi. This website has been running since 2011 and we've expanded to including all Lunar Year Festivals in San Diego and not just Vietnamese Tet Festivals. For any questions, email marketing@thepacificbeach.com. Go to the 'Festival Locations' page to check out all 4 festival locations!