Tag: Vietnamese

Vietnamese Student Association

Vietnamese Student Association


The Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) at Loyola University is about to have an awesome event called VSA Meet and Greet! It is a fantastic group for students to want to explore Vietnamese culture and socialize with other students! I am a part of EBoard of VSA and wanted to take this opportunity to share some info about this event as well as acknowledge Vietnamese participation we have at our university!

VSA Meet and Greet will be from 6:00PM-7:30PM at Cuneo 002 and it is a open invite to all Loyola students! 


VSA is one out of a few Asian organizations we have on our Loyola campus. This organization allows for the celebration and awareness to Vietnamese culture (open to other Asian cultures too!) through the leadership of current students such as myself and others. Unlike other organizations, our meetings and events are often known for having good food! We try our best to promote our Viet culture by bringing to the community a taste of Vietnam; whether it is spring rolls or eggs rolls, you are assured to have fun exploring the cuisines at every meeting.

Our group is open to everyone, not only those of Asian ethnicity. We encourage culture mixing and embrace people of all backgrounds! VSA is one easy method for people to come together to socialize, celebrate Asian culture, and bring the community together. Fortunately, LUC VSA is not just a university group, but a nationwide group. With that being said, we do have affiliations and partnerships with other VSA’s. Currently, we are interacting with UIC’s VSA and hope to have many good and beneficial connections with them for this academic term!

Obligations for membership into this club are quite relaxed as we try to make this organization more manageable and easy for all students to be a part of. With that being said, VSA EBoard strives to create and plan events that can really highlight Vietnamese culture and draw people in through engaging and interactive methods, such as DIY Spring Rolls and DIY Che (popular dessert). With exciting events, we hope to serve the greater community of Loyola with an awareness to Vietnam in terms of traditions, culture, language, and cuisine.

VSA Meet and Greet is the chance for YOU to finally join an organization that requires little obligations yet you still get a full experience of the group through the events.

At this event, you will get to meet other excited students such as yourself and meet the Executive Board members, which I personally believe are very amicable, down-to-earth, wise, and helpful people. Meeting E-Board is awesome because you get to see the people who get to plan these fun VSA events coming up! Internships to our club is available to anyone as well! You will work alongside us and get a full view of how event planning is done as well provide inputs and creativity along the way.

Besides meeting and greeting, we will go into depth about our VSA group and the future events we are considering doing. Best part is, you get free pizza too! Please consider attending this NEXT THURSDAY at Cuneo 002 at 6PM. You’ll get to see me too and we can talk more in person with any questions you may have about anything related to VSA (or even admissions)!

Chicago & Vietnamese Cuisine

Chicago & Vietnamese Cuisine


Who doesn’t love food? Almost everyone enjoys trying out new, ethnic food and here in our lovely city of Chicago, there are so many interesting restaurants at every street and corner with Zagat reviews, Grubhub options, etc. I can assure you that you will have an adventure of a lifetime and make your taste buds travel around the world in style. 

Specifically, I will be blogging on Vietnamese food because Viet-Town is only 4 train stops away from Loyola’s Lakeshore campus and because if you didn’t know already, I am Vietnamese.


Getting off of the Argyle train station, you will be immediately see Vietnamese supermarkets and small restaurants such as Viet Hoa Plaza, Cafe Hoang, Uptown Pho, Pho Xe Lua, Nha Hang Hai Yen, Pho 777, Hoa Nam, Lucks Food, Vinh Phat Express,  Pho Loan, Chi Quon Bakery, Hong Xuong Bakery, and Pho Xe Tang, just to name a few (all located on 1 street). Although you probably do not understand the names of these places, at least one word should stick out to you: Pho!pho-au-fois-gras-32330


Pho (pronounced: fuh?) is one of the most famous dishes that even non-Vietnamese people usually know about and/or have tried it out. Pho is a delicious noodle soup with an aromatic broth, topped off with meatballs, beef brisket, green onions,  with as dash of Sriracha sauce (optional) and Hoisin sauce (optional). (Man, I sound like a chef!). This soup dish is very popular among everyone and if you haven’t tried it out, GO TRY SOME PHO SOON!


Turning on left on Argyle, you will encounter many other Viet stores. Tai Nam, largest Viet supermarket in Chicago is located here as well. We have salons, nail/beauty stores, insurance offices, video stores, and so much more. The places are: Ba Le, Pho Viet, Le’s Pho, Kung Fu Tea (not Viet I know), Furama Restaurant, Thuong Xa My A, Lee Nail Supply, Silver Seafood, etc. 


Ba Le (Nhu Lan and St. Henry (Pho May)) are well-known Viet places (French influenced) where you can get Banh Mi. This term is something non-Viets should also be familiar with. Banh mi is basically a sandwich that uses fresh baked french baguette and in the interior, include pate, a variety of meat slices, pickled carrots and daikon, and a selection of fresh herbs like cilantro. It is a delectable lunchtime snack that will satisfy your taste buds.

(Advice: I recommend visiting St. Henry for banh mi first!)


Of course not all Viet stores are agglomerated in one place. There are other good places for Viet food too such as Nhu Lan (located on Western), Hoang Long (located on Lincoln),  and Pho Nam Lua (located on McCormick Blvd). I highly recommend Pho Nam Lua; they just opened and they have the best food and the best price (as a college student, “best price” is really what I mean!)


Anyways, let’s talk Vietnamese Cuisine!

So you now know what pho and banh mi are, but that’s just the basics of Viet food compatible for a first-time Viet-food eater. Let’s go further and get to the good stuff.

Goi Cuon! (Spring rolls!) Goi cuon is a favorite of mine because it is a very clean, simple dish with an assortment of herbs, cooked pork belly slices, shrimp, and dipped in a tasty sauce! At home, it is fun to make. Ingredients are laid out on the table and you get to make your own spring roll to eat.


Banh trang nuong! (Rice paper with toppings!) As far as I can tell, this is a new type of Viet dish that is the healthier, Vietnamese equivalent to American pizza. Personally, I have never tried this before, but my friends have and they like this a lot!

maxresdefault (1)banh-trang-nuong-ngon

Bun Bo Hue! (Beef noodle soup!) Similar to pho, Bun Bo Hue consists of vermicelli noodles, beef shank & brisket , agglomerated pig’s blood,  lemongrass, and other spices. The broth has a little spice in it and has a smooth, clean texture. It is also very aromatic as well!


Banh Xeo! (Vietnamese pancake/crepes!) Banh Xeo looks exactly like a fancy omelette, however, there are no eggs! Just like pancakes, banh xeo is made from batter and fried on a pan. Toppings are added on such as shrimp, meat, and green onion. To finish it off, we can add mint, lettuce, bean sprouts, and other fresh herbs! When eaten, you dip the banh xeo into some fish sauce to enhance the flavor.


Banh Chung/Banh Tet (Lunar New Year Cakes)! These cakes are eaten traditionally during the lunar new year season (January-February). They consist of layers of pork belly, surrounded by mung-bean paste and a special type of rice. The whole thing is wrapped together in banana leaves and boiled in water for a long period of time. Banh chung/banh tet is commonly eaten with pickled carrots and daikon too!

(St.Henry makes good banh chung/banh tet!)

banh-tet-tra-cuon-8-slide-2BANH TET 2

Ca Phe Sua Da! (Vietnamese Coffee!) This coffee is made special using sweet condensed milk. It is good as a hot beverage, but many people I know enjoy the iced-coffee version. It is a tad bit stronger than American style coffee, but it does its job to keep you awake and active during the day!

Vietnamimages (1)

Hopefully this post was appealing to read and maybe made you salivate once or twice. Vietnamese food is good and Chicago is a wonderful city to explore and eat well! Give Viet food a try!




40 Years of Tribulation & Grace

40 Years of Tribulation & Grace


Marian Days can be considered the largest Roman Catholic gathering event in the North American continent, honoring the virgin Mary. This annual event welcomes Vietnamese Roman Catholics from around the world to the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix, located in Carthage, Missouri. This year, more than 100,000 participants attended the 4-day event.



2015 is a special year. Not only does it mark the 38th annual Marian Days, but it also marks the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. Many people (such as my parents) left Vietnam as refugees and settled elsewhere such as the United States, Australia, and countries in Europe to escape from the war. Now, after 40 years, the new generations of families have flourished.


During Marian Days, elaborate pontifical masses are held (one in the morning and one at night) with a full orchestra and hundreds of con-celebrating priests. During the daytime, there are a variety of things to do on-site- attend lectures/talks, sample exotic and dynamic Vietnamese food, see cultural performances, and visit the monuments of the Stations of the Cross in a beautiful botanic garden. All of these places are within walking distance which is very convenient.



How do you cram 100,000 Vietnamese into the adorable 15,000 person-populated city? Magic. Expect road blockage, miles of tents and parked cars, and Asian love.


I have been to every Marian Days since 2010. This year marks my 6th year. I keep going back to this event because I want to learn more about my Vietnamese culture (through food, language, and music), I want to be closer to God, and I love the sense of community and togetherness. I never get tired of going to Marian Days because each year is different. You get to meet new people and go on adventures.


40 years have passed and it is remarkable to see the first and second generation Vietnamese families blossom. They have found success, happiness, and grace. These people experience a time like no other, where new beginnings meet the modern era of unprecedented forms of technology and advancements. More people pursue a higher education, representing the Vietnamese population well in prestigous fields such as medicine, law, arts, and science.

Marian Days is an unforgettable event where Vietnamese Catholics come together to eat, praise, and love. People’s faith are strengthened and Vietnamese culture takes over the little city of Carthage, Missouri for 4 days.



Extra, Extra, Read All About It

Extra, Extra, Read All About It

It is always fantastic to stay active within your community by doing extracurricular activities. They keep your day productive and you get to have many amazing experiences within the club (activities and events) and be able to meet new people.

At Loyola, I am part of two clubs/groups: AMSA (American Medical Student Association) and VASA (Vietnamese American Student Association). Both of the these clubs are fantastic because they define who I am and who I want to be; they help me understand and enjoy the things I love the most. In AMSA, I get to hear speakers from all different types of backgrounds tell their story on how they became a doctor, MCAT test prep representatives help me prepare for the rigorous exam, and ultimately I am able to obtain a better idea of how to be successful in my medical future. In VASA, I learn more about my culture through eating delicious (and FREE!) Vietnamese food, celebrating Viet holidays, and seeing student performances that originate from Vietnam.

Outside of Loyola, I volunteer at my local hospital every other Friday. Starting this summer, I plan to take summer classes at Loyola to ease my workload for the school year. Also, I plan to take cello lessons at a music school as well as apply to volunteer my time at Rush University Medical Center. Although it sounds like a lot, I know that this is my prime time to do this as I currently have the motivation to stay productive and participate in extracurricular things that I truly love to do.