For the ninth year running (check out previous festivities from 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019), the Banh Chung Collective gathered before Tet to make banh chung. It was a virtual affair given the pandemic, but the spirit of the event was as wonderful as ever.
The event kicked off with a soulful performance from Thao Nguyen of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down that set the tone for the day beautifully. The Astronomer and I were so deeply moved by the performance that we bought her latest album Temple right then and there.
First we lined sturdy cardboard molds with fresh banana leaves to form three-inch square boxes, then we layered in sticky rice, mung beans, and marinated pork before closing up the parcels.
Following an hour-long high-pressure cook in the Instant Pot, the banh chung emerged perfectly cooked and ready to eat. It tasted like home, friendship, and community.
Chúc mừng năm mới, everyone. Here’s to happiness, health, and prosperity in the Year of the Ox.