On a typical spring day with dust rain and high humidity, Hanoikids organized an event “Culture puzzle” in a warm and friendly environment. According to Mr. Nguyen Trung Hieu – Head of Hanoikids training department : “Foreigners in Hanoi are very interested in traditional Vietnamese food. However, they did not know about the hidden meaning behind these food. We want to hold an event to teach them how to make these dishes as well as introduce to them traditional Vietnamese food.”

The first piece of the puzzle was opened – “Cold food festival.”

No matter how heavy the rain was, many foreign tourists and Vietnamese students did come with their eager to discover the long-established culture of Vietnam. Climbing upstairs, walkingthrough some old-style doors, the guests would not know that they were going to be introduced later about this architecture. Sitting in an ancient French design (art deco) house and getting to know about traditional festivals is kind of culture-exchanging.

Guests, both Vietnamese and foreigners, were divided into teams. After a brief greeting and introduction, the whole audience paid their attention to the stage to welcome the speaker today– Mr. Nguyen Trung Hieu – the Head of  Hanoikids Training Department. With in-depth research and profound knowledge, Hieu provided us detailed meaning, origin, custom of the festival.

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After the speech, Linh Ngoc – a member of Hanoikids shared her experience of making floating cake. When Linh was a kid, she learnt how to make Banh troi from her  grandmother. However, she did not cover the sugar cube completely. As a result, the sugar cube exploded and ended in disaster. That is why her grandmom never let her do that again.

After the talk, a small game was organized to “review” what the guests had listened to. It seemed like all of them listened attentively during the talk since they did really well. However, there was only one team who won the prize.

Finally here came the most expected part: making and cooking cakes. Banh troi is quite familiar to Vietnamese friends, but for foreign tourists, it was their very first time. Trying to follow the instruction carefully, they were able to make standard Banh troi, which can definitely be sold at the market.

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For Arza, who had been to Vietnam twice before, said: “I did not know anything about the Cold food festival, and now we have opportunity not only to learn about it but also to make it. I am here with both of my sons, 14 years old, I think that after this experience, they would be so much more interested in learning.

The workshop had to come to an end. Guests came home with smiles on their faces, with useful information on their pockets (and with plates of Banh troi on their hands).

Excitedly, the next piece of Culture puzzle is on the way to be opened.

“Culture Puzzle” is a series of cultural events held by Hanoikids Voluntary English Club with purposes of helping foreigners in Vietnam understand more about our own cultural beauty and creating a proactive environment for young Vietnamese to interact with foreigners.

Culture Puzzle 1: Cold Food Festival (Tết Hàn thực) is intended to provide an intimate, interactive space for guests from other countries together with students in Hanoi to (1) get to know about the Cold Food Festival, (2) gain actual experiences of cooking bánh trôi, bánh chay, the two typical desserts of the festival by themselves and (3) participate in other fascinating activities.