Vegan Lunar New Year Traditions

lucky fruit platterYesterday marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year, the year of the snake. This holiday is celebrated by the Aulacese (Vietnamese), Korean and Chinese.

My family celebrated with essential dishes such as longevity noodles  and a lucky fruit platter.

Our fruit platter had dried coconut pieces, papaya, and mangoes. All that was missing was custard apples (mãng cầu). In Aulacese, the names of these fruits create a pun, “Cầu Dừa Đủ Xoài (Cầu Vừa Đủ Xài).” This phrase means “[Let’s] pray for just enough [resources/money/food, etc.] to use”–a wise wish for the new year. Continue reading

Vegan options at PhoXpress are available and expanding

6/10/13: Dear readers, the vegan options at PhoXpress are somewhat limited now, as of late Spring 2013–please scroll all the way down for the detailed update!

I must say that I am extremely picky about my phở, and most Vietnamese dishes in general. I blame the fact that I grew up in a Aulacese (Vietnamese) household full of food enthusiasts. 

I have heard horror stories about vegan phở at non-vegan establishments. The worst case scenarios recounted to me often resembled the following description, more or less: a bowl of rice noodles in salty broth, laden with MSG and some lettuce. To call that sad scene “phở” is a culinary crime and an insult to the taste-buds. I can’t even process the lack of effort–a complex, aromatic broth is the key to any phở, vegan or not.

PhoXpress set up

Phở condiments!

Based on such descriptions alone, let alone my Viet foodie background, I decided long ago that I would avoid eating phở outside my own home altogether. However, in the past month, I have tiptoed, quite warily, might I add, into giving a couple of places a chance.

Continue reading