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Happy 2010.  I’m tired of separating the two.  Why not let my Vietnamese “ness” shine a little more in my daily blog?  VietMom is going mainstream.  Visit my new posts at mamalounge.



I own two books from local authors I know:

Tran Khan Khuyet  Little Weaver of Thai-Yen Village. It is out of print but you can find used copies online.  The book illustrates the life of young Vietnamese girl whose life is interrupted by the Viet Nam war.

The second is Going Home Coming Home by Truong Tran. This story follows a girl on her first time journey to visit Viet Nam.

They’re both excellent books with substance, colorful illustrations, and written in both languages.  Non-Vietnamese folks or books that are translated into Vietnamese. Hint—we need more children book authors in our community!

Adopt Vietnam has a recommended reading list as well.  Do you have any bilingual book recommendations?

Remember These

Remember These

I was googling and found a yahoo forum on the topic of spanking in Vietnamese culture.  Sure, I knew plenty of moms and dads who spanked their kids when I was growing up.  How many of us have military dads?  I do. They have a certain way of punishment.   Sure, I was spanked a total of 5 times but it stopped after I turned 8.    He spanked me with that bamboo feather duster.  My dad announced that my punishment would occur in ten minutes and I sat in my room dreading the moment.  By the third time, I figured out to stuff my underpants with CHARMIN in that short time period before I was to report to the living room for my whippin’.

I learned my lessons.  I’m not saying I advocate spanking but it did do me some good.  I knew not to lie to my dad after that.   Certainly it does exist in our culture–Viet parents are strict.

Any one else spanked with the slipper or feather duster?

My mom makes me nuoc mam and brings it to me in a recycled jar on a bi-monthly basis.  It’s nice to have her homemade sauce on-hand.   Yesterday,  the jar toppled over and spilled in the fridge.    The sweetness, stickiness, and bits of minced garlic makes it challenging to clean when it’s splattered over 2 shelves.   One sponge and 10 paper towels later, I’m sad because my mom’s nuoc man is all gone.

Read Shaved Ice Sundays excellent recipe.

courtesy of Shaved Ice Sundays

courtesy of Shaved Ice Sundays

Volunteers in Asia–I volunteered with VIA back in 1995.  We had to really rough it back then, VN was still underdeveloped.   Anyways, it’s a good way to live in Viet Nam for the first time.   Plus, you get to visit Japan for a week before landing in your VN post.   They have summer and year-long programs.

Room to Read-This organization builds libraries and schools all over VN.

-Deer Park Monastery- A program built by Thich Nhat Hahn that provides spiritual support.

YOLA– A new social learning platform that teaches English to VN students on line.

East Meets West Foundation– They do everything from building schools, medical interventions, and clean water initiatives.

I’m sure there are more groups doing work, please feel free to add via the comments section.

Anything sound interesting?  Get in touch and volunteer!

You gotta love the kitchy viet gear that’s being created all over the world.  Here are some  cute finds for the whole family:

Available at Cafe Press:

I’m PHO real bib


I heart My Me


I highly recommend tees from fiftyseventhirtythree:

il_430xn48041763I have this shirt in green and love it!

Let me know if there are other cool viet collections out there.


Funny the other night my friend, Ly told me a funny story about a classmate in her graduate class at the University of San Francisco.  There was a group discussion and the topic of comfort food came up.  Ly made a comment about claypot catfish being one of her favorite dishes.  Then she hears a chuckle from someone and the other classmate says “What…cat food?”  Ly responds ” No, catfish.  Haven’t you ever heard of this?”
 Well it’s a little shocking that even in San Francisco, someone is unaware of this amazing dish!  How many of us have eaten claypot catfish all our lives?  I know, I know….you’re mom makes it the best.   Mine is pretty good I think.  You have to cook it with the bones and skin for extra flavor!
 The best part is the peppered caramelized sauce from last night’s dinner.  Throw in some left over jasmine rice (not brown rice!) and my taste buds are in heaven.

 I think the famous Slanted Door Restaurant sells their claypot for a whoppin’ $17.  Truly,our food has made it in the culinary world.

 Click here for a good recipe!  No, it’s not quite the same if you don’t use a claypot.

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