Saturday, February 14, 2015

Preparing for Tet

Hoang (above), a student in my world geography course who emigrated to the US at age 8, invited some of his SAS friends and professors to join him in helping to make a special Tet dish at the home of some local friends. These friends (mostly students, many of whom met on facebook) decided to make 300 steamed bundles (banh chung) to distribute to homeless elderly people on New Year's (Tet). They bought all of the ingredients and did most all of the work, but they let us join in. We're glad we did.

Joel helped cut large leaves into rectangles.

 Four layers of those leaves are folded (one for each corner) and laid into a wooden mold.

 Then add a layer of uncooked sticky rice.

 Some minced bean sprouts

 Some beef and pork

 More bean sprouts and rice. Then cover with more leaves and tightly bind with six rattan cords.

 Will folding a leaf and Joel learning how.

 Sarah's leaf mold

It takes 8 hours to boil the rice and meat.

Once these two pots have done their job, they will be filled with a second round of bundles.

Sarah's finished product.

We worked in the front patio/living room and under a tarp outside of a home on the outskirts of Saigon--way on the outskirts of Saigon. It was a long taxi ride in which we got lost for a while and almost turned back, but we gave it one more try and wound up at the meeting point (a street market). We are glad we stuck to it.

Dish washing

 A neighboring home, typical of the long narrow homes of Saigon.

Happy Americans, Vietnamese and a few others nationalities thrown in for good measure all working together for a good cause.

Noah, the son of a faculty member, is a happy, friendly, talkative kid who is loved by everyone on the ship. The way students respond to him reminds me of how the Jerusalem Center students responded to five year old Will.

The next three photos were taken by Noah's father Scott Miller.

 Cute kids all the way around.


  1. Since it took so long to steam the rice cakes, I guess you didn't get to taste your handiwork! What a fun activity, and helping others to boot.

  2. A neat opportunity. I love the second to last picture of your kids with the young boy.