DALLAS — Tuesday is Lunar New Year, marking the Year of the Tiger. It's a holiday many Asian cultures celebrate in their own ways.
At Ngon Vietnamese Kitchen in the Lower Greenville neighborhood of Dallas, owner Carol Nguyen shares her traditions from Hanoi, Vietnam.
"The food is made with love and it's definitely crafted and built with love to her homeland and to her mom," said Teresa Nguyen, spokeswoman for the restaurant.
Over the weekend, traditional lion dancers came to the restaurant and filled the room with confetti, while red envelopes were passed to customers.
Three special Lunar New Year dishes are also being served until Tuesday, Feb.1. The first entrée is bún thang, a noodle soup known in Hanoi. Toppings like chicken, eggs and ham are sliced into delicate strands.
"You make it into a beautiful soup," said Nguyen.
Phở gà is the second specialty dish. It's a chicken rice noodle soup.
Nguyen said, "Traditionally, you eat noodles for longevity so this is just something special that [Carol] wanted to do here."
It's also a very popular dish from the owner's region of Northern Vietnam.
And the last Lunar New Year dish that is being served is bánh chưng. It's a savory, sticky rice cake shaped into a square.
"I feel like if you don't eat this for Lunar New Year, you haven't celebrated it right. It's called bánh chưng chien. Outside is the rice, and inside you find pork belly, mung beans. And it's wrapped in banana leaves."
This dish shows gratitude to Vietnamese ancestry, the earth and the sky.
Nguyen said, "It's something my father would always tell me. Do not cut it horiziontally or vertically or in squares. You want to cut it like a cake where it meets in the middle."
By cutting it toward the middle, every person can enjoy the full flavor and appreciate what each ingredient means to the culture.
At Ngon Vietnamese Kitchen, they proudly share Vietnamese culture through food and their traditions of Lunar New Year.