Saturday, 15 February 2014


Bún bò Huế is a beef noodle soup form central Vietnam. A big bowl full of this spicy soup is like a culinary sauna. It leaves you feeling satisfied and refreshed.

Bún = rice vermicelli noodles
Bò = beef
Huế = is a city in central Vietnam famous for its cooking style of the former royal court.

Dong Ba is a bustling restaurant in the centre of Bankstown's "Saigon Place" on the south side of the CBD. We had business to do in Bankstown and after that was done and dusted we were craving a good noodle soup. You can smell the aroma of the bun bo as you approach the restaurant.

We were ushered to a spot for two on a long shared table. The other diners around us were very friendly and we ran through our small repertoire of Vietnamese language, which put a smile on all their faces. One guy asked "have you been to Vietnam?" and we explained we had visited a number of times and had a lot of friends back there. He then smiled and asked with a cheeky grin "So, you have a girlfriend back there?" I did the "shush" sign with my finger to my mouth and said "hey, don't give away my secret please". This caused most of the folks to break out in laughter.

We lapped up our bun bo and enjoyed more fun conversation. At $10 for a huge bowl the food is great value, in fact the most expensive item on the menu is $12. They also made great Vietnamese style black coffee, it is strong enough to keep you awake for a week. Lorenza loved the tea that is in a large flask on each table.

Dong Ba is located at 2/296 Chapel Road south, Bankstown. This pace rates a 10 out of 10 for us, great value, fast service and friendly, bustling atmosphere.

Before lunch we came across some dragon dancing outside some of the shops in Saigon Plaza. After a long dance accompanied by some very loud drumming, the group let off some fire crackers which generated so much smoke the Fire Brigade arrived a few minutes later. Someone obviously forgot to tell the authorities about their plans that day - oops! See the video below ....

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Could we celebrate the New Year every month of the year?

Hmong New Year
Various cultures celebrate the New Year based on different calendars and dates of religious significance. Could it be possible to attend a New Years celebration every month of the year.

Here are a few different New Year celebrations I could find, can you add any more to fill in the blank months? I need ideas for May, July, August and October.

  • 1st of January The first day of the year in the Gregorian calendar
  • The Eastern Orthodox Church, the civil New Year falls on Gregorian 14 January (1 January in the Julian calendar)
  • Mid January - Karen New Year is celebrated on the first day of the month of Pyathoe, in the Karen calendar. 
  • February The Chinese New Year and Vietnamese Tet, also known as the Lunar New Year, occurs every year on the new moon of the first lunar month, about the beginning of spring.
  • The Iranian New Year, called Nowruz, is the day containing the exact moment of the Northward equinox, which usually occurs on 20 or 21 March
  • The Balinese New Year, based on the Saka Calendar (Balinese-Javanese Calendar), is called Nyepi, and it falls on Bali's Lunar New Year about 20 to 25 March.
  • The Assyrian New Year, called Rish Nissanu, occurs on the first day of April.
  • April The Water Festival is the form of similar new year celebrations taking place in many Southeast Asian countries, on the day of the full moon of the 11th month on the lunisolar calendar each year. The date of the festival was originally set by astrological calculation, but it is now fixed on 13–15 April.

Suggestions needed

  • June The Kutchi people celebrate Kutchi New Year on Ashadi Beej, that is 2nd day of Shukla paksha of Aashaadha month of Hindu calender.

Suggestions needed


Suggestions needed

  • September The French Revolutionary Calendar, in force in France from 1793 to 1805 and briefly under the Paris Commune in 1871, began the calendar year on the day of the Southward equinox - 22, 23, or 24 September.
  • Sept In the Coptic Orthodox Church, the New Year, called Neyrouz, coincides with 11 September in the Gregorian calendar between

Suggestions needed

  • November Some neo-pagans celebrate their interpretation of Samhain (a festival of the ancient Celts, held around 1 November) as a New Year's Day representing the new cycle of the Wheel of the Year, although they do not use a different calendar that starts on this day.
  • Late November to early December November Hmong New year

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Sydney Vietnamese New Year Celebrations

Chuc Ming Nam Moi
We attended the Vietnamese New Year Celebrations at Fairfield Show-ground, south west of Sydney, last night.

There was a huge crowd of happy people and we impress a few with our greetings of "Xin chao chic mung nam moi" ... "Hello, happy new year".

There was the usual side show alley type rides and games for the kids, plus food stalls and businesses advertising their services. One young lady offered me a sample of a hair restoring shampoo, telling me that "with regular use you will see the miracle of hair regrowth within weeks sir". I took the sample, one can only hope.

We had a look at the food stalls and we grabbed some pork ball skewers and fish balls from a stand run by a Buddhist school. The fish was a bit rubbery but the pork balls were delicious so I had to go back for some more.

The official events included speeches by politicians and also a presentation of awards to HSC students from Vietnamese backgrounds who had achieved amazing results for their final year of high school. They started out with marks like 99.35 all the way to 99.95, absolutely amazing stuff. The students gave a joint speech about doing their best in future life for Australia and also their Vietnamese culture.

It was interesting to hear some of the speakers talking about "once the communist regime is ousted in Vietnam", we have to remember most of the Vietnamese in Australia came from the south as refugees and there is no love lost between them and the current government there. In fact, along with the Australian flags around the event were the former Vietnamese flag prior to the communists taking power, so the statement was very clear.
Chuc Mung Nam Moi

We met some friends for dinner and got seats in the Decoloros tent restaurant. The food was good and the atmosphere was noisy and happy. They got me a "not so spicy" spicy soup which turned out to be exactly the same soup everybody else got (they just wanted me to fell ok) and it lived up to its name.

There were fireworks at 9.15pm and then we watched our friend's kids enjoy some of the rides. One of the most lively activities for adults was the bingo games, the guy calling the numbers actually sang the whole round of bingo as a song, very entertaining.

So, the next New Year Celebrations I think are the Assyrian New Year in March, I wonder how they celebrate?