On Wednesday morning, our Vietnamese parents took us on a culinary journey. The theme was “banh”, which translates to “cake”, but in reality “banh” takes a lot of different shapes and tastes; round to square, salted to sweet and more. We were so surprised at the wide variety of “banh” that were presented to us. The parents also explained where each “banh” comes from and when they are eaten. As examples, “bánh phu thê” or the “Husband and Wife cake” is usually offered to the bride's family from the groom's family and “Banh chay (banh troi)” from Hanoi is usually eaten on 5th May in the Lunar calendar (Mung 5, Thang 5) and is part as a detox process. As Thuy explained to us, nowadays you’ll find it outside its original season, but a lot of Vietnamese will only consume it according to the lunar calendar.
Chef Dung from “4gs” bakery taught us how to make the delicious “Banh Khot”, which doesn’t seem so complicated after all. The second dish we learnt to cook was the famous “Banh Xeo” in the style of the Central region (“Banh xeo mien Trung”). Mr Matthew will surely need a bit of practice before making it correctly, however for his first try, we thought he was too hard on himself as it did not look that bad!
We would like to give a huge “cảm ơn bạn” to the parents who organised this lovely coffee morning for us. It was highly appreciated and again a nice moment at TX.
A special “thank you” to:
Thu Y1X, Lan Y1T, Xuân (Y4/Y2/F3), Chef Dũng (from Xuân's 4gs), Madam Tâm - Hải’s Grandma, Thalia's mum, Christine, Ingrid's mum, Duyên (1X), Liên - Emily’s grandma, Katelyn’s mum Ms. Phương , Wendy, Eva, Emily's cousin Tu Quyen, Emily’s auntie Sương and cousin Vy: they brought the cafe sữa đa to school and help during the event.
You can have a look at all the pictures taken during the « morning coffee » using the links below :
Bánh chay and Banh Phu The 2 beautiful stories:
As we discovered it on Wednesday, a lot of dishes in Vietnam have a full story. Here is an example with « Banh Chay »
« The story behind the ‘banh’ is; a king called Tan (a Chinese king) lost his reign, however a man called Từ Thôi, helped him to get it back. The king forgot this, so Thoi went to the forest and stayed there. One day the king remembered and asked his servants to set fire to the forest to get Thoi back. But Thoi did not want to and he and his mum died during the fire. The king was so sad and put the third day of the third month of the lunar calendar as a day to remember him. It's called Tết Hàn Thực – ‘thực’ means ‘food’, ‘hàn’ means ‘cold’.
On this day, people do not use fire, so they cook this type of bánh trôi - bánh chay as one of the tradition foods to put on the altar for remembering their ancestors; it still tastes good a day after it has been cooked. In the south people call it « banh troi ». In the north people said « Bánh chay ». The Chinese traditions have had a strong impact on Northern people. This Bánh chay we had was from the north.
In Vietnam, the Tết Hàn Thực 3.3 Lunar Calendar is for remembering ancestors, showing gratefulness to people who have contributed to our lives and this day people will cook bánh trôi/ bánh chay to put on altar.
Once upon a time, there was a couple. The man went for his business trip far from home, and before his departure, his wife made cake for her husband and swore that though he was far away, he was not far from her thoughts. She would always be sweet like the cake.
The husband was so touched, he named that cake Banh Phu The (husband and wife cake). Not long after that, the husband fell in love with another lady and he did not want to return home. When the wife found out, she made that cake and sent it to her husband with a note:
Since you have been away, my sadness is the same as the number of waves on the sea.
(Previously, he was trading using a small boat so may have passed lots of waves)
The husband, after receiving the cake and his wife's note, felt regret and came back home. So this cake is a symbol of loyal love.
In my wedding ceremony, my husband sent me 101 Phu . The cakes mean he wished us to be together for 101 years.
Ms Duyen »
Banh Koht recipe:
Thank you Ms Duyen for sharing the recipe with us.
- 1 kg rice flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 can of coconut milk (600 grams)
- Water: 1 litre
- Green beans (without cover - đậu xanh cà), cooked
- 10 shrimps, peeled and deveined
- 3 spring onions, chopped (discard the white part)
- fresh Vietnamese mint, chopped, for garnish
- mustard leaves, for wrapping
- romaine lettuce leaves, for wrapping
- fresh perilla and basil herb, for wrapping
- vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 3 teaspoons of curcumin
- Herbs for wrapping banh khot
- In a bowl mix the rice flour, eggs and add the coconut milk until it is a smooth paste.
- Add smaller amounts of the water at a time until fully mixed, then the turmeric, and half of the chopped green onion and salt.
- Pork (minced meat) putting some garlic inside the hot pan which has some oil in it, then pour the minced it in, putting in the bowl after cooked.
- Pour a small amount of vegetable oil into each indentation of the banh khot pan and heat until beginning to sizzle.
- Add batter into each indentation until approximately 2/3 full, cover and cook for about 2 minutes, then put the topping.
- Cooking complete when the sides of the pancakes are crispy and batter has fully set. (Usually an additional 3-5 minutes, depending on heat of the stove.)
- Top each of the pancakes. Use mustard leaves, romaine lettuce leaves and fresh perilla and basil to create your own spring roll with each pancake, wrapping a banh khot in leaves and herbs, then dipping it into the fish sauce.
The below is the normal method for people living in the Mekong Delta.
- Wash and chop shrimp into smaller pieces and sauté quickly
Put some oil in the pan, onion, quickly put the shrimp and cooked it fast, then pour it into the bowl
- Pork (minced meat): putting some garlic inside the hot pan which has some oil in it, then pour the minced it in, putting in the bowl after cooked
- Green bean: Green bean (without cover - đậu xanh cà), cooked
- Put these 3 ingredients together to make the topping
200gram of water
Fish sauce (Hồng Hạnh brand): 110 gram
100 gram of sugar (depending on how sweet you’d like your sauce)
3 limes (50-70 ml)
Optional: 3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) and 2 red chillies (chopped)
Cooking the mixed water, fish sauce and sugar for 10 minutes, leave it cooled down then put garlic, chopped chilly.
The parent choir is back :
Mr Jon had a surprise for the parent choir. He invited them to sing a song with the children at the upcoming summer concert on June 15th. The first rehearsal is on Monday 22th at 8am, the location will be confirmed soon but it’s most probably the MPR.
You still have time to join, contact Duyen for more details or just pop in on Monday. It’s a very surprising song he wrote, don’t miss the opportunity to sing it!
Poussière de Vie playground renovation :
On Friday, a team of parents went to check the progress of the work which is now undergoing at PDV. If you are familiar with house renovations, you will know you always find new details you want to improve. I‘m glad to announce that the PT was able to finance a few additional pieces of work, like painting the classroom wall. All new equipment has been chosen and validated by Ms Chan, PDV leader. Some are already ordered.
The project time frame is now mostly this one:
1. May 15th-May 22th - toilets refurbishment
2. May 23rd-May 26th - tiles to be fixed
3. May 26th -June 2nd - equipment assembly
4. Afterwards the AP2 student art project to be installed
5. Opening ceremony party: date and time to be decided by Ms Clover according to Ms Chan’s wishes.
Wednesday 24th May, we’ll have the Morning Coffee regarding the school amalgamation. Mr Ian reminded us it is important to prepare our questions so we can address them on that day. There will be another meeting on June 6th, but don’t miss the opportunity to ask now. Mr Simon (APP headteacher) and Ms Dee (APP deputy head) will be joining as well.
Have a lovely weekend.
Anne on behalf of the Parent Group