S: Seasons of Change
1: Vietnam in the northern regions have a humid subtropical climate, with humidity averaging 84% throughout the year. | tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (mid-May to mid-September) and warm, dry season (mid-October to mid-March)
2: Vietnam is one of the ten countries that compose Southeast Asia It is bordered by China on the north, Cambodia and Laos on the west, the Gulf of Tonkin to the northeast, the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the east. The country is divided into 3 regions: North Central South | Geographic coordinates: 16 10 N, 107 50 E
3: Environment - current issues: logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices contribute to deforestation and soil degradation; water pollution and overfishing threaten marine life populations; groundwater contamination limits potable water supply; growing urban industrialization and population migration are rapidly degrading environment in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City | food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
4: The relaxation of the state monopoly on rice exports transformed the country into the world’s second or third largest rice exporter. Other cash crops are coffee, cotton, peanuts, rubber, sugarcane, and tea.
5: Vietnamese (tieng Viet) is the national and official language of Vietnam | Much of Vietnamese vocabulary has been borrowed from Chinese, and it was formerly written using the Chinese writing system, albeit in a modified format and was given vernacular pronunciation | Vietnamese has traditionally been divided into three dialect regions: North, Central, and South
6: The earliest established religions in Vietnam are Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism (called the triple religion or tam giáo). Significant minorities of adherents to Roman Catholicism, Cao Dai, and Hoa Hao and smaller minorities of adherents to Hinduism, Islam, Protestantism and Theravada Buddhism exist.
7: Known as America's longest war, the 'Vietnam War' was a military struggle fought in Vietnam from 1959 to 1975
8: The Family The family is the basis of society, not the individual Three to four generations often live together in one home The family is patriarchal. Within the family, the wife deals with all household matters, and the husband deals with the outside world Children Elderly parents are supported by married or unmarried children until death Names are written in the order of Family name, Middle name and Given name, e.g. Nguyen Van Trung The family name is placed first to emphasise a person's heritage Children live with their parents until marriage Marriage Men usually marry between the ages of 20 and 30, and women between the ages of 18 and 25. Marriages must be approved by the parents of both the male and female, regardless of age Apart from some Christians, the celebration of marriage takes place in the home of one of the marriage partners or a hotel, not in a church or temple Legally, women keep their own names after marriage
9: Tet, the Vietnamese new year, Lunar new year Tet, which means the first morning of the first day of the new year, is the Vietnamese New Year. The celebration lasts for 7 days. Like the Chinese, the Lunar New Year is one of the most celebrated holidays. Preparation for Tet starts weeks before New Year's Day. Homes are cleaned to get rid of bad fortune associated with the old year. Families paint their homes to give it a new look. Everyone gets new clothes and new shoes. Pay your debts and resolve differences between family and friends.
10: Ingredients 4 boneless pork loin chops, cut 1/4 inch thick 4 (7 inch) French bread baguettes, split lengthwise 4 teaspoons mayonnaise, or to taste 1 ounce chile sauce with garlic 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 1 small red onion, sliced into rings 1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced lengthwise 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro salt and pepper to taste Directions Preheat the oven's broiler. Place the pork chops on a broiling pan and set under the broiler. Cook for about 5 minutes, turning once, or until browned on each side. Open the French rolls and spread mayonnaise on the insides. Place one of the cooked pork chops into each roll. Spread chile sauce directly on the meat. Sprinkle with a little lime juice and top with slices of onion, cucumber, cilantro, salt and pepper. Finish with another quick drizzle of lime juice.
11: Ingredients 2 ounces rice vermicelli 8 rice wrappers (8.5 inch diameter) 8 large cooked shrimp - peeled, deveined and cut in half 1 1/3 tablespoons chopped fresh Thai basil 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 2 leaves lettuce, chopped 4 teaspoons fish sauce 1/4 cup water 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1 clove garlic, minced 2 tablespoons white sugar 1/2 teaspoon garlic chili sauce 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce 1 teaspoon finely chopped peanuts Directions Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice vermicelli 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente, and drain. Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 1 second to soften. Lay wrapper flat. In a row across the center, place 2 shrimp halves, a handful of vermicelli, basil, mint, cilantro and lettuce, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end with the lettuce. Repeat with remaining ingredients. In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, sugar and chili sauce. In another small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce and peanuts. Serve rolled spring rolls with the fish sauce and hoisin sauce mixtures.
12: Ingredients 5 pounds beef knuckle, with meat 2 pounds beef oxtail 1 white (daikon) radish, sliced 2 onions, chopped 2 ounces whole star anise pods 1/2 cinnamon stick 2 whole cloves 1 teaspoon black peppercorns 1 slice fresh ginger root 1 tablespoon white sugar 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon fish sauce 1 1/2 pounds dried flat rice noodles 1/2 pound frozen beef sirloin TOPPINGS: sriracha hot pepper sauce hoisin sauce thinly sliced onion chopped fresh cilantro bean sprouts (mung beans) sweet Thai basil thinly sliced green onion limes, quartered Directions Place the beef knuckle in a very large (9 quart or more) pot. Season with salt, and fill pot with 2 gallons of water. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 2 hours. Skim fat from the surface of the soup, and add the oxtail, radish and onions. Tie the anise pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns and ginger in a cheesecloth or place in a spice bag; add to the soup. Stir in sugar, salt and fish sauce. Simmer over medium-low heat for at least 4 more hours (the longer, the better). At the end of cooking, taste, and add salt as needed. Strain broth, and return to the pot to keep at a simmer. Discard spices and bones. Reserve meat from the beef knuckle for other uses if desired. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Soak the rice noodles in water for about 20 minutes, then cook in boiling water until soft, but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Slice the frozen beef paper thin. The meat must be thin enough to cook instantly. Place some noodles into each bowl, and top with a few raw beef slices. Ladle boiling broth over the beef and noodles in the bowl. Serve with hoisin sauce and sriracha sauce on the side. Set onion, cilantro, bean sprouts, basil, green onions, and lime out at the table for individuals to add toppings to their liking.
13: Ingredients 1 tablespoon finely chopped green chile peppers 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon white sugar 1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 cooked skinless boneless chicken breast halves, shredded 1/2 head cabbage, cored and thinly sliced 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks 1/3 onion, finely chopped 1/3 cup finely chopped dry roasted peanuts 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro Directions Stir together the chopped green chiles, rice vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, sugar, sesame oil, vegetable oil, and black pepper until the mixture is thoroughly combined and the sugar is dissolved. Place the chicken, cabbage, carrot, onion, peanuts, and cilantro in a salad bowl, and toss thoroughly together with tongs. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss again. Serve immediately.
14: Ingredients 4 cups water 1/2 cup dark roast ground coffee beans 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk 16 ice cubes Directions Brew coffee with water using your preferred method to make brewed coffee. Spoon 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk into each of 4 coffee cups. Pour 1 cup of fresh hot coffee into each cup, and stir to dissolve the milk. Serve guests cups of coffee, and give each one a tall glass with 4 ice cubes, and a long handled spoon. Guests pour hot coffee over the ice cubes and stir briskly with the long handled spoon, making an agreeable clatter with the ice cubes to chill the coffee.
15: many fresh herbs and spices, including basil, mint, coriander (parsley), ginger, chili peppers, and garlic, which give Vietnamese food its distinctive flavor and add color to many dishes. Lemongrass, a tropical grass is commonly used to give food a lemony tang.
16: Fish and seafood are popular, especially in the Center and South due to the surrounding ocean and the web of rivers in the country. | Plain rice ( com trang ) is at the center of the Vietnamese diet. Steamed rice is part of almost every meal. The Vietnamese prefer long-grain white rice, as opposed to the short-grain rice more common in Chinese cooking. Rice is also transformed into other common ingredients such as rice wine, rice vinegar, rice noodles, and rice paper wrappers for spring rolls.
17: The most common meats used in Vietnamese cuisine are fish, chicken, pork, beef, and various kinds of seafood. The Vietnamese also have a strong vegetarian tradition influenced by Buddhist values.
19: Lasting Memories...
20: "An open home, an open heart, here grows a bountiful harvest." - Judy Hand
23: Playing in the leaves! | The more you laugh, the longer you live.
24: These Are The Moments I Live For
28: Warm & Cozy
29: wonderland | Dashing Through the Snow
31: Home is where there's someone to love, and someone to love us.