Back to the Grandmotherland

Patients waiting to be checked into clinic

Grandmotherland? Is that a thing? Well, it is now. You see, I was born in Seattle, but both of my parents emigrated from Vietnam when they were young. So, Vietnam is my grandmotherland.

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Vietnamese Bánh Bao

As some of you may know, I will be departing on a two-week journey to Vietnam in 21 days. Through a non-profit, student organization called Vietnam Health Clinic (VHC), a group of volunteers (including myself), physicians, optometrists, dentists, nurses, and pharmacists will be providing free healthcare to under-served regions of Huế in Central Vietnam. We’ll also visit orphanages, giving out toys and teaching personal hygiene. What a journey it will be!

From the Vietnam Health Clinic website (2011 trip)

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Vietnamese Bánh Bò Nướng

It’s Tet Time! Tet is the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Every year, my entire extended family gathers at my grandparents house for food and distribution of the red envelopes with money. Instant. Cash. It’s one of my favorite family holidays because the food we have is extra special compared to the other holidays. There are boxes of candied ginger, coconut, and dried fruits, sticky rice filled with mung bean and pork, and sometimes moon cakes. For the party, my mom made a Vietnamese cake called bánh bò nướng. The literal translation is cow cake. I don’t really know why that is. According to Wikipedia, it’s because the texture resembles beef liver. I hope that doesn’t deter you guys from making it. Because it sure doesn’t taste like beef liver.

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