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Are Vietnamese-Canadians Leaving their Cultur

Vietnamese families, immigrants, and refugees have been entering Canada in significant numbers since the late 1960s.

As they have adapted to the multicultural life of living in Canada since arriving here, they have brought unique customs and foods to this new country. In a truly global world, these unique customs and foods have never been so important to identifying culture, preservation, and ethnic background.

Like what’s happened in the United States with the ‘melting pot’ phenomenon, as Vietnamese families came to Canada over the years, customs melded. This produced a sort of Vietnamese-Canadian culture of togetherness.

There’s a lot of views on how this happened. It’s not anything specific to Vietnamese families either. The same thing has occurred with most of the immigrants who have come to Canada, to become Canadians. Neither good nor bad, here’s a closer look at what’s happened to Vietnamese customs and culture as they’ve adapted or welcomed themselves into the modern Canadian identity.

Is Vietnamese culture being left behind?

Adjusting to life in Canada for Vietnamese families from the 1970s until today is not easy. Though Canada’s more multicultural today than it’s ever been, for immigrant families, there is still a lot which has to be left behind. To come to Canada and become Canadian, a part of one’s background needs to be left behind but this is not to say one’s culture, customs, beliefs, food, or personal values need to disappear. Visit a city like Toronto and see beautiful Vietnamese and Asian cultures shared in restaurants and cultural events all over the GTA. Is Vietnamese culture being left behind – no, not in Canada.

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How Has Vietnamese Cuisine Grown in the Past

Asian cuisine has come a long way in Canada since the post-war era in the 1950s. These days, cities across the country have dozens of restaurants serving Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, and more. Perceptions of these Asian cuisines have changed albeit not equally across each.

While Vietnamese cuisine is currently thought to be the healthiest Asian cuisine, generally using less oil, more vegetables, and more balance in mind, its current popularity took a long time to develop. Here’s a quick rundown of how each Asian cuisine’s perception changed and the impact this may have had on the rise of Vietnamese food in Canadian cities like Toronto.

Chinese cuisine

For years, Chinese cuisine was the most favourite Asian cuisine by North Americans. Chinese restaurants were popular, the purchase price was cheap, and perception was that Chinese cuisine was on par with a lot of American dishes such as hamburgers, fries, and the like.

Unfortunately for fans of Chinese, it’s actually decreased in popularity in the past two decades. This isn’t to say that less Chinese restaurants exist but perhaps due to the growing momentum behind Vietnamese restaurants in Toronto and other major cities, there has been less focus on Chinese options.

What Chinese restaurants have done, as neither positive nor negative, is that they’re almost perceived as mainstream American foods now. This is how common Chinese food is. There isn’t any mystery or anything left to discover. Also, Chinese food has had such an impact that when someone opens a Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, or Thai restaurant, they are likely to include numerous Americanized Chinese-influenced dishes on the menu.

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Coffee Culture in Vietnam and How to Brew Vie

Vietnam has been called a ‘coffee lover’s paradise’ among other complementary nicknames. The unique taste of Vietnam coffee differs so much from Brazil coffee or coffees from elsewhere in the world.

How it used to be in Vietnam, at one time, was under France’s control. It was a French-ruled country. The coffee of Vietnam and the culture of Vietnamese coffee comes from French influence. From the plantations to the cafes in Vietnam are all built in large part from French philosophies and French culture first instilled in the nation hundreds of years ago.

The charm, loving taste of Vietnamese coffee beans

Vietnamese coffee comes in many forms, the most popular is one created from the Robusta coffee bean. The bitter taste of the coffee here is solely attributed to Robusta beans which are more easily cultivated in this region than Arabica. The weather conditions and soil are ideal for Robusta, the reason why approximately 97% of the coffee plantations in Vietnam cultivate Robusta beans.

The rise of Vietnamese coffee from the 1990s to today

An economic liberalization hit the Vietnamese region in the 1990s. At this time, foreign investors poured into the country much like how a fresh brew of Vietnamese coffee pours into a heated cup. In this period, a lot of international coffee companies swarmed into Vietnam trying to cultivate relationships with plantations and crafting part of the market for themselves. It wasn’t long before Vietnam rose to being the world’s second biggest coffee producing country, only behind Brazil.

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What Are Vietnamese New Year Rice Cakes – An

New Year rice cakes, also known as ‘banh tet’, are a popular icon of Vietnamese culinary traditions. They are an expression of Vietnam’s national identity, representing culture and nationalism to a degree.

What are Vietnamese New Year rice cakes? They are essentially a sticky-rice loaf stuffed with green beans and fatty pieces of pork that are then wrapped in bamboo leaves and boiled overnight. Traditionally, they are eaten at the onset of New Year’s by families everywhere. They can also be rolled in banana leaves think a log-like cylinder, utilizing a mung bean and/or pork filling. After cooking, the leaves are removed and the rice cake is sliced into wheel-shaped portions.

Vietnamese rice cake preparation evidently begins the day before New Year’s celebrations as the cakes must be boiled overnight. All ingredients are prepared well beforehand. The cooking that takes place is minimum a six hour boil. The ingredients seem pretty basic but the result is delicious, healthy, and is another balanced Vietnamese dish that pulls from the balance philosophies of cultural chefs in this part of the world.

It almost doesn’t make sense to have a Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration without banh tet. It’s a very important piece to the day’s festivities. There’s a historical value that does not go forgotten. Throughout the festivities, family members gather and feast on these rice cakes. They are the central food of this Vietnamese holiday which celebrates the incoming spring. Though Vietnamese New Year rice cakes are time-consuming to make, they are also available in supermarkets premade which can help families still enjoy the meal without having to prep it themselves.

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The Rise of Broken Rice in Vietnam and the Ri

Broken rice was once called a ‘poor man’s rice’. It was looked down upon in a big way for years. These days, you will find broken rice in almost every dish from those served in school to kids to upper class meals in a Vietnamese restaurant.

Broken rice grains were once a by-product of the milling process. They were seen as worthless. Nowadays, they work deliciously well with a smoky BBQ pork chop, or mixed with some fried egg and sauces. The soft yet crunchy rice is a comfort to fans of Vietnamese cuisine, used from downtown Toronto to back home in Vietnam.

Broken rice began to be eaten by poor rice farmers, only out of necessity. When there wasn’t other food on the table, broken rice could be brought in. Because it was a poor person’s food, stigma went along with it for years. Broken rice grains wouldn’t sell to anyone for years but they kept families healthy and fed throughout this same time period. For centuries, farmers in Vietnamese industry ate what others wouldn’t.

In the first half of the twentieth century, things began to change albeit slowly. It was then in the 1980s that food shortages began to affect Vietnamese households. In large part due to these broken rice grains in Vietnam as well as the country’s Doi Moi renovation policy, the country foregone a near-famine in the late 1980s and by 1997 was the world’s second largest rice exporter. The broken rice grains were deemed not suitable for export, as they were seen as ‘damaged’, throughout this period. Instead, it was Vietnamese families who ate them and so did restaurants.

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Cultivate these Fresh Vietnamese Herbs used i

Vietnam is blessed to have its own unique collection of fresh herbs that are rare or unknown among Canadians and the Western world. In Vietnam, these herbs are grown routinely for a variety of purposes – some medicinal, some for our cuisine, and otherwise. This is a short introduction to some Vietnamese herbs used in cooking and medicine that Canadians and Torontonians may not be aware of.

‘Rau muong’ or ipomoea aquatica

Ipomoea aquatica is a semi-aquatic plant known also as water spinach or river spinach. It is common in Vietnamese cuisine for its use in stir fries, usually mixed with chili pepper, garlic, dried shrimp paste, ginger, and other spices.

‘La lot’ or piper lolot

Piper lolot is used in Vietnamese cuisine to flavor wraps for grilled meats. The piper lolot leaves bring a smoky flavor to beef in particular when grilled. The practice of wrapping meat in vine leaves like this has long been common among Vietnamese cooks. Piper lolot also has some medicinal qualities to it, including having antioxidants.

‘Tia to’ or perilla frutescens

Perilla frutescens, also known as Koean perilla, has a strong mint smell, is sometimes used as a vegetable, and cooking oil is derived from its seeds. In the traditional Vietnamese uses of herbs and spices, perilla frutescens is a very popular garnish although its uses are predominantly in creating flavors in things like soy sauces, bean pastes, and other foods.

‘Ngo gai’ or eryngium foetidum

Eryngium foetidum is a perennial herb also sometimes known as long coriander. This herb is included in seasonings, marinating, and garnishes. It dries extremely well which has made eryngium foetidum quite popular. It is also sometimes used as a replacement for coriander although its taste is far stronger.

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Why Vietnamese is the Perfect Bridge between

Toronto’s become a more health-conscious place, with every person seemingly leading a lot healthier lives than past generations have. Vietnamese cuisine has always worked well in the healthy eating trend as it’s largely a diet centered on a lot of greens and veggies, high in fibre, with strong energy-building carbs, and it’s easy on the stomach.

There’s healthy and unhealthy food found in almost any cuisine but Vietnamese is special. Balancing between health and comfort food, with a Vietnamese meal, you get something that tastes great, that will give energy yet peace of mind, and which isn’t going to tap you out in unhealthiness.

Meet a different kind of comfort food

Canadians love comfort food, no surprises there. If you eat for comfort more often than not, wouldn’t it be nice to know what you’re eating isn’t soaked in sugar, salt, butter, and oil? Vietnamese has a long menu list of items that are baked, grilled, or prepared fresh. Some of it requires lengthy preparation such as a pho broth however others can be prepared in a few minutes or less. This is the land of comfort and not at the sacrifice of your health.

You’ll never go hungry in Vietnamese cuisine

There’s so much deliciousness in the meals of Vietnam. If you’re a health fanatic, you have a tremendous amount of flavors to pull from. In fact, herbs and spices are used regularly and generously. You can essentially create your own health-conscious meals while exploring the Vietnamese cultural scene. Authentically prepared Vietnamese cuisine in Toronto may be troublesome locating but there are some restaurants that can act as your guide.

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