Monday, December 8, 2008

Các em có khỏe không? Hôm nay các em thế nào? Các em rất vui vì bây giờ thi xong (finish exam) rồi, phải không? Kỳ nghỉ (holiday) này các em có đi du lịch không?

I hope all your exams went well and you have enjoyed semester 1. It's been a pleasure teaching you this semester. Together we have opened the first door to Vietnam. I am very glad to learn from your feedbacks that you enjoyed learning Vietnamese and the Vietnamese culture this semester. As a teacher, it's always rewarding to know that my students enjoy the course.

I post here some of the photos that I collected from some students and teachers. I post here in the order of timeline, just to simply summarise our LAV1201 this semester. Feel free to add more pictures or comments if you like, because this is our common blog. LAV1201 is not the teacher's module nor the students' module, but it's OUR MODULE. Together we did make Vietnamese language learning both enriching and fun.

Project 1: An experience with Vietnamese culture - Vietnam! From Myth to Modernity at Asian Civilisation Museum 07/09/2008.
This is the only picture from our museum visit that I have. Cám ơn Hoài đã gửi cô ảnh này. I enjoy reading your reflections. Glad to know that you learnt a lot about Vietnam after this visit.

Project 2: Cooking and LAV1201 Food Festival
This is our group picture after all the eating. Các em rất giỏi nấu ăn. Các em rất thích ăn món ăn Việt Nam, phải không? Nấu ăn ở nhà cô Bích rất vui. Good to know that this is the project that most of you liked the most this semester. All other entries in this blog clearly show that. I just want to share some more pictures from cô Quỳnh's camera:

Hải, Phúc, Minh, Hương và Hạnh cười (smile) rất tươi. Các em rất vui, phải không?

Đây là Trung, Vinh, Hà và Mai.

Phong, Tuyết và Hoài trông rất vui. Các em nấu món Nộm gà rất ngon :)

Dương, Quỳnh, Châu và Đông ơi. Các em đang làm gì vậy? Các em cười cũng rất tươi :)

Hải đang rửa nồi. Chăm chỉ quá!

Vũ và Lan đang nấu chè đậu xanh, phải không?

Đây là 'bãi chiến trường' trong khi nấu ăn.

Đây là sản phẩm cuối cùng. Trông rất đẹp, phải không?

Đi du lịch Việt Nam
Các em rất thích đi du lịch, phải không? Chúng ta đã đi du lịch từ miền Bắc đến miền Trung và miền Nam khi học bài bảy 'Đi du lịch'. Our classroom was beautifully decorated with colours and sounds from Vietnam. We had lots of fun doing role-plays of travel agents and tourists, didn't we? Some of the pictures from our TB1, TB3 and TB4. It was a pity that we did not have any photos taken from our TB2 (no camera), but we have pictures in our memory, right?

Đây là Dũng và Long, nhân viên Công ty du lịch Hà Nội cùng với các khách du lịch.

Đây là các nhân viên và khách du lịch ở công ty du lịch Sài Gòn.

Cô Bích và công ty du lịch Hương Việt ở miền Trung

Đây là lớp TB3 của cô Quỳnh. Cô Quỳnh did not only teach us Vietnamese but Vietnamese geography as well. We had a fun lesson 'travelling' round Vietnam and tasting some Vietnamese food in our TB class.

Học tiếng Việt rất vui, nếu không tin (believe), các bạn nhìn vào Hải và Phúc thì biết. We did have lots of fun 'working' at Saigontourist.

Đây là Công ty Du lịch Hà Nội. Các bạn thấy Hạ Long có đẹp không?

Uhm, it's tough to decide. Nhân viên công ty du lịch nào cũng thân thiện. Nơi nào cũng đẹp và rẻ. Where should we go?

Đây là lớp TB4. Bình đang giới thiệu Hạ Long với Hoài.

Vũ quảng cáo (advertise) về thành phố Hồ Chí Minh rất giỏi. Công ty du lịch của Vũ và Liên bán được rất nhiều tour.

Đây là công ty du lịch của Dương và Diễm. 2 nhân viên rất thân thiện nhưng công ty này bị phá sản (bankrupt) at the end of the lesson :(

A meeting between Vietnamese students and students of Vietnamese

Another major highlight of this semester was the Friday afternoon meeting between students from all levels of Vietnamese and some students from Vietnam. We really learnt a lot about each other and laughed a lot as well.

We have opened one door to Vietnam. When opening this door, we heard some sounds of Vietnamese, saw some images from Vietnam, tasted some Vietnamese food, met some Vietnamese people, learnt some Vietnamese phrases. We really enjoyed our experiences with the first door but the best is yet to come. So, let's open the second door to Vietnam together, ok?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Making (Vietnamese Cold Roll) - our journey.

The Recipe.


12 rice paper wrappers, large, round
2 carrots julienned
4 oz rice noodles
4 green onions sliced fine
1 cp bean sprouts
1/4 cp mint leaves
1/4 cp chive leaves
12 boston lettuce leaves

Spicy peanut dipping sauce:
1/4 cp rice vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs water
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 fresh chilli
1 tps sugar
1 tbs roasted peanuts, chopped
1 tbs fresh chive leaves, finely chopped


- Blanch carrots in boiling water for 45 sec. Refresh under cold water and drain well.
- Cook the rice noodles in pot of boiling salted water for about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain well.
- In a large shallow dish of warm water soak the rice paper wrappers (one at a time) for about 45 sec. and remove from water and place on clean dry work surface.
- Place one lettuce leaf over the surface of the rice paper. On the bottom half of the roll, place approx 4 tbs of the noodles, 1 tbs each of bean sprouts and carrots

- Sprinkle with the green onions, chive leaves, and mint leaves.
- Fold the bottom of the rice paper over the vegetables. Tuck in the sides and continue to roll (like making cabbage rolls).
- Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Place on large plate covered with damp towel and plastic wrap.

Dipping sauce:
Combine all ingredients except chive leaves into bowl.

-Sprinkle chive leaves over just before serving.

- Easiest way is to have wrappers just moist enough so that they are pliable, yet not too wet that they fall apart when rolling.

Our Experience

Our group faced several hiccups during the course of this project, but every hurdle we crossed and solved together helped to bring us closer and enjoy the experience better and most rewarding of all, we accomplished our cold roll masterpieces. Come along as we take you through our journey through our photo and video gallery. Hope you enjoy it!

Here is (Diem and Nyuet) starting on the preparations on the spring roll.
In this picture Diem is Julianne-ing the carrots. We had a tough time figuring out how to Julianne carrots but after some mishaps came to our rescue and told us to use Bich's shredder which helped to expedite our preparation processes. Cám ơn các !

We were also told, to our surprise and pleasure that Vietnamese Cold rolls required that all vegetables were to be prepared fresh and did not require blanching. Crunchy roll YUM yum! And there was Nhung helping out with the garnishing material - Red Chili!

Relax... Everything is under Cô Bích's control =)

Dững after taking a bite from Nhung's very first cold roll - which was an utter mishap due to its larger than life size LOL.

Interview of Diem and Hao

Thanks Phong for teachin Diem and Nhung to roll. Without you and the other classmates who gave us your opinions and help we might not have been able to do it. Thanks alot guys! Cám ơn các bạn!!

That was the first monster roll we made. Say AAAAHH!
Ăn Nhe!

Close up view of the finished display product. Our garnishing theme consisting of the Vietnamese flag and red chili. Served in white-blue ceramic characteristic of Vietnamese ceramic.

On the left, the dipping sauce which was probably the toughest thing to make. We started out with a very sour sauce due to rice vinegar overdose but thanks to the help of and Bich and their taste buds, we managed to make a sauce that was deemed okay by Bich in the end.

Diem making final touches to the spring rolls

Our Achievement =)

Các Cô

Group photo

More pictures can be viewed at

Diem, Dững, Nhung and Nyuet =D

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Chả giò

Chả giò is the traditional vietnamese spring roll, also known as “Imperial Roll”, used to be a delicacy made for the royalty. Today, it is a dish enjoyed by both Vietnamese as well as foreigners.

Ingredients for filling
Garlic: 1/2 clove, finely minced
Yellow Onion: 200g (finely chopped)
Carrot: 150g (finely chopped)
Dry vermicelli: 30g
Earwood (tree ear mushrooms): 30g
Black mushroom: 30g
Minced pork or chicken: 300g
Beansprouts: 1/4 cup
Egg: 02
Pepper, sugar: 1/10 teaspoon
Fish sauce

Ingredients for dipping sauce
Vinegar or fresh lime juice: 01 teaspoon
Fresh Chilli, garlic: 01 teaspoon
Sugar: 1 teaspoon
Fish Sauce: 1 teaspoon

Other ingredients
Round Rice Paper
Cooking Oil

Cooking Instructions

1. Place the vermicelli and earwood in separate bowls. Add warm water to cover to each bowl and let stand until soft, about 30 minutes.

2. Drain the vermicelli and cut into 2-inch lengths. Drain and rinse the mushrooms; chop coarsely.

3. In a large bowl, combine the carrots, noodles, mushrooms, onion, shallots, garlic, bean sprouts, fish sauce, pepper, and chicken or pork. Then, mix them together well.

4. Soften the rice paper: Dampen several clean kitchen towels with water. Fill a pie plate with cold water. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve it. Spread a damp towel on a flat work surface. Dip 1 rice paper round at a time into the water and spread it flat on the towel. Continue dipping and laying the rice papers in a single layer. When you run out of room, lay a damp towel on top of the rounds and continue, always alternate a layer of rice papers with a damp towel. Let the rice papers stand until pliable, about 1 minute or longer.

5. For each roll, shape 2 tablespoons filling into a compact cylinder about 1 inch in diameter and 3 inches long and place along the lower edge of a wrapper.

6. To fry the rolls, pour oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches in a large frying pan. Place over medium-high heat and heat to 350 degrees F.

7. Using long chopsticks or tongs, lower a few rolls into the pan, leaving plenty of space between them. Fry, turning often, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes.

8. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Place on a platter and keep warm while frying the remaining rolls.

9. Dipping sauce: Put fish sauce, sugar, lemon juice, garlic and chili in a large mixing bowl; add 2 spoonfuls of water in, then stir well. This sauce is best made 1 hour ahead.

On the day prior to the actual cooking session, we headed over to Dương's house to do the preparation work and also to ‘try out’ the recipe. While shopping, we met Cô Quỳnh at NTUC!

Being our first encounter with the vietnamese rice paper, we were really clumsy in the rolling process and we ended up rolling Chả giò of different length, thickness and appearance. As inexperienced chefs, we met with the largest challenge of having to ‘titrate’ our own proportion of the ingredients and fish sauce before we could get the right taste after mutiple attempts at the end of the day.

In addition, we had brainstormed on how to present our dish. After much discussion, we decided to present the dish in a round basket, as basket weaving is quite common in Vietnam. The orchids on top of the yellow cloth surrounding the dish, and the two flags by the side, one of Vietnam’s and the other of Singapore’s, show the fusion of the two cultures. The harmony between the colours is representative of the friendship between the two countries. The whole presentation is livened up by the dragonfly from Vietnam, which has just ‘landed’ on the handle of the basket, adding life and vigour to the dish, just like the youths learning with humility from our teachers. Finally, the blade of leaf has the words, “Chúc các cô, các thầy, các bạn và các em vui vẻ!” on them. This is from the team, as we wish everyone happy, especially after eating our Chả giò.

On the morning of 18th October 2008, the four of us met at Newton MRT station and walked to Cô Bich’s house. Due to the preparation and rehearsal we had from the previous night, we felt light-hearted and relaxed.

Soon, we settle down at Cô Bich’s dining table and began wrapping our Chả giò . During the wrapping session, Cô Bich shared with us a few tips on how to wrap the filling more tightly and the appropriate length of . As Dương and Quỳnh were busying wrapping Chả giò , Chau and Đông prepared the sauce. However, the sauce turned out to be too sour as too much lime was added. Being clueless, we turn to Cô Bich (our master chief) for advice. Cô Bich added in lots of sugar, fish sauce and a small amount of water and our sauce tasted better than before.

While waiting for the kitchen to be available, we started to prepare the decoration of our dish presentation. With some time to kill, the four of us took a walk around Cô Bich’s condominium and went around checking up on other groups. In between, we had small chats with them and exchanged some tips.

Finally, the kitchen was free and we are allowed to fry our Chả giò. Dương and Quỳnh were in charge of frying while Châu and Đông did the final touch-up on the presentation. After much anticipation, we had finally completed frying all our Chả giò. Upon reaching the outdoor garden, we realised that everyone was waiting for us. However, when they saw our dish, they were amazed and go ‘wow’. Despite feeling sorry for making everyone wait, we felt excited about our Chả giò as our classmates seems impressed.

Finally, the food evaluation began. On the table, there were salads, rice noodle, spring rolls and desserts. Cô Bich, Cô Lê and Cô Quỳnh began to savor all our products and gave their comments. The comments we received was that the filling in our Chả giò tasted different from the traditional Vietnamese Chả giò , however, our presentation looked great. After the food evaluation, it was everybody favorite time, which was ‘eating time’. The day was ended with a group photo of us and us enjoying the food.

Through this project, we had learnt a lot about Vietnamese food and the process of preparing them. All groups have really put in effort in preparing their own dishes and we enjoyed ourselves too!
Cám ơn các em!
Dương, Quỳnh, Châu, Đông

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vietnamese Chicken Salad~

On the early morning of 18th October, the four incredible chefs sprang out of their beds and headed to cô Bích's house! With stomachs were filled with much excitement and lots of empty space, we were all ready to chomp down all the yummmy foods that awaits us!

Our role of the day, make a 'rất ngon' chicken salad!

Our excitement can barely be contained. We got to cô Bích ở nhà early and started playing with our groceries! Here's the carrot-nosed Gerlynn!

Lots of shredding were done! The 'Food Shredder' helped us a lot! Gigantic Cabbage gave us lots of shreddings!

The critical part of the salad lies in mixing the sauce! With our indigenious taste-buds, we cocktailed a balance between sour, fishy and garlicky and ta-dah! Sauce-o-cocktail is created! Starfruit was cut into 'nhiều sao' and used to beautify our salad!

Our final product! Đẹp quá knông?

The vegetarian version was created since there were SO much vegetable shreddings left!

Các bạn có đói không?

The final moment! Three beautiful judges tasting all the yummy food! Cô Bích's being camera shy! (= Hurry and taste the food! "Các cô ơi, chúng em rất đói!"

See, we can't wait to start digging in!

Finally, presenting to you the 4 incredible chefs! Chúng tôi rất vui!

So here's our secret to a yummy chicken salad,

For the sauce,
Sugar + Fish sauce + Lime juice + garlic (chopped) + Vinegar + Water
Proportions based on much tasting and intuition (=

For the shreddings,
Cabbage + Carrot + Big yellow onions, small red onions + Basil leaves + Mint leaves + Bean sprouts
Shred and mix them together!

TIP: The trick is to make the sauce not too vinegary but more fishy! And let the garlic soak longer because it makes the sauce have a really nice smell!

Hope everyone enjoyed yourselves! We had a really good time~
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