|these are the wonderful green tea noodles we enjoyed...|
|me n Tracey with a juicy frogs leg|
|the chicken hotpot...|
|some of Tracey's lovely staff..|
Koto is a great place that does a wonderful job training the kids so they can have a better life but honestly, I'll be glad to finish next Tuesday. I've revamped the pastry menu, delivered the advanced classes for the staff and trainees, mentored Doan as much as I could (given the problems with equipment and facilities) and thanks to Gary Miller and Andy Docherty over in New Zealand and their incredible wrangling of a new oven for the new pastry kitchen I really don't have to do anything else...:-)
I'm currently house sitting for Tracey as she and her family have popped over to Bangkok for a break and so I've been able to move into their place to look after their two cute wee cats.
Tet is a family time over here and tradition and superstition dictate strongly how important it is exactly who visits the home during the holiday because good luck (or otherwise) arrives with the visitor. So I wasn't expecting much in the way of invites; Thu from Koto did talk about having me visit but ended up not extending an actual invite. So I was thrilled when Hung extended not one but two invites to visit his family home and that of his in-laws. In addition to this Luyen asked me to lunch not once but twice over the week's holidays.
The first visit to Hung's house was to see his Mum make her annual mountain of Bang Chung cakes...apparently she uses about 20kg of rice! She and her neighbours sat industriously folding and packing the sticky rice, green bean and belly pork. It was lovely to finally meet Hung's lovely wife Hang and his gorgeous baby boy who completely stole my heart.
|green bean balls and the uncooked sticky rice...|
|almost finished product...|
|a mould is used to shape the cake...|
|isn't he just gorgeous?|
|with his proud dad....|
|by the end of lunch he has warmed up to me and I got this lovely smile out of him (on his mum's knee)...|
|standing in front of the huge Hanoi Museum...|
|looks spooky doesn't it?|
On the night of Tet Eve (Feb 2nd) there is a large fireworks display that can be seen easily from West Lake, Hung kindly popped round at 11.30pm to escort me to a good vantage point and the pair of us oooohed and aaaahed like a couple of kids.
|one of the floating restaurants in all it's finery cruised up for a good view of the fireworks...|
|I liked the reflection on the lake...|
|fun at the fireworks...|
During Tet everything is closed down for the week; the beginning of the lunar new year is a much larger celebration than either Xmas and New Year. I've been posting photo's of the progressive increase of decorations around the place because it's been really nice to see the flashes of colour in an otherwise often drab, grey landscape.
|the pagoda at the end of Tracey's road all gussied up for Tet...|