I bet you are surprised this is the third week I’m writing in a row – how shocking! I’m beginning to feel more settled into my new home and getting a little less homesick. Undoubtedly, I will get homesick soon, but weekly conversations with my parents and making sure they are healthy are enough for now. It really does help to be in a healthy routine of working out, sleeping, and work though it’s not glamorous. Unlike my not-so-glamorous weekdays, my weekends have excellent food and time with friends!
I went to my first large-scale lunar near year festival in Orange County on Saturday, February 5th, and was taken back by the amount of Asian Americans. You see, growing up in Virginia, we had a relatively large Asian population an hour away from my hometown, and I’ve been going there my whole life. However, the festival had triple or quadruple that amount. For the first time in my life, I can live and enjoy the Vietnamese culture that wasn’t offered living in my suburban Virginian town. Needless to say, I was both happy and shocked.
Let’s Talk About Food!
First up, takoyaki; Hands down one of my favorites. If you didn’t know, takoyaki is a Japanese snack of savory ball-shaped bites containing chopped octopus typically made with wheat batter topped with bonito flakes. I would describe their texture as similar to mashed potato balls with fillings – obsessed. I mean, look at the picture below!
My last meal at the festival was a garlic butter prawns plate. They weren’t kidding when they mentioned butter because I felt my arteries close up a little more as I was eating it! The seafood here in Orange County can make any person jealous, and the prawns were big and juicy that it was satisfying to chop on. Still, overall, the flavor profile was blander than it looked.
I wanted to share a little history about the dragon dance for Lunar New Year. I just did a quick search, so you didn’t have to! The dragon dance originated in China during the Han Dynasty (180-230AD) as a part of farming culture. The dance symbolizes good luck and prosperity in the year to come for all. The dragon itself represents supernatural power, goodness, fertility, vigilance, and dignity!
Ironically, my friend noticed a streamer he follows recording the festival live. He messaged her on the stream, asking if it was okay to come up and say hi because, you know, it’s all about consent! Anyhow, we walked up; he started chatting, but I felt awkward, so I distanced myself from them. The streamer, Winnie Chang (Instagram: Winnieechang), included me in the stream awkwardly waving in the background. So, Winnie, if you by chance ever come across this blog, I’m a shy person, and you seem like an amazing person to know!
After my awkward appearance, my friends and I decided to leave and ended my first lunar near year festival. I wanted to explore more of my Vietnamese culture all my life, and thankful that I now have that opportunity to be near the largest Vietnamese population in the U.S.! Well, that’s all I have for you this week – it’s a little more fun article than my usual thoughts!