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Bao La x QUE Tất Niên Tết Dinner Pop-Up

Stories – January 2021

We are beyond thrilled to bring Australian-Vietnamese chef / person of the world, Bao La, back for another pop-up at Que!

This edition, Bao created a Lunar New Year’s Eve Reunion Dinner menu for Tất Niên Tết. A little bit decadent—this feast is intended to be shared with friends and family; to celebrate the end of the year and bring good wishes for the year ahead <3.

With much consideration and intention, Bao selected ingredients for their symbolic associations. Bao draws from his six years of experience living, working, and building several successful restaurants in Hong Kong, his family life back in Australia, the fresh produce of his current home in Đà Lạt, and the multitude of places he’s frequented in between.

The result is a menu that incorporates a little bit of each place—using locally sourced ingredients, hand kneading dough for lucky dumplings and longevity noodles, stuffing spring rolls with hamburger filling (!!) and tossing salads as high as ceilings will allow.

From the first Bao La x Que pop-up last year. Read more here.

  1. Banana Leaf Pocket Apron (Adult) - Coral

We hope you can join us and Bao in closing the year and celebrating the upcoming year of the Ox with lots of peace, happiness, prosperity and longevity!

  1. Sot 3/4 Sleeve Button-Up Pocket Shirt (Unisex) - Beige

From Bao's Perspective

With an emphasis on supporting local farmers, Bao takes us on a journey with him. From his afternoon visits to local wet markets in Đà Lạt, then back to his favorite place, his home kitchen; where singular ingredients acquired that day are turned into dishes that evoke memories and pay homage to those who’ve inspired him along the way.

Daily fresh seafood coming in from Phan Thiết, Mũi Né and Nha Trang.

Zooming with Bao La

We spent an afternoon zooming with Bao from his home in Đà Lạt—listening and learning. Below are some snippets of that conversation :).

Karen Thao La & Chuong Pham #wearingkaarem at Que Upstairs with Bao La on the screen :-).

  1. Wind Chime Raised Collar Cropped Top - Black Blue
  2. Bambu Relaxed Wide Split Leg Jacquard Pant - Navy Swirls
  3. Sanh Relaxed Tapered Pocket Denim Pant - Dark Blue

"It's food that I like to eat." - Bao la

Bao La hand kneading dough for lucky dumplings and longevity noodles.

Taste test!

13 dumpling pleats!

Refreshing!

Show and tell!

Menu

Bringing inspiration from his six years of living and cooking in Hong Kong, his upbringing in Australia, the fresh produce of his current residence in Đà Lạt, and the multitude of places he’s frequented in between, Bao has created a menu that incorporates a little bit of each place. This menu is Bao and what he likes to eat on the reunion day for friends and family to gather and celebrate the ending of the year and bring good wishes for the coming year.

Full Tất Niên Tết Menu:
1. Yee Sang prosperity toss salad
2. Pork & cabbage dumpling, soy dressing, chili oil
3. Cheeseburger spring rolls
4. Longevity noodles, shredded chicken, xo sauce
5. Mango pudding, sago, pomelo & mandarin

Yee Sang Salad, eaten for prosperity

Traditionally, a raw fish salad is to be tossed in the center of a table amongst friends and family. It is said: ‘The higher you toss the ingredients, the greater your fortunes will be!’ Ingredients include: sliced raw fish, pomelo, pepper, carrots, green radish, white radish, peanuts and plums.

The featured ingredients—fresh fish brings an abundance of wealth throughout the year, pomelos add luck and auspicious value, carrots also indicate blessings of good luck, shredded green radish symbolize eternal youth, shredded white radish brings prosperity in business (and promotions at work), crumbled peanuts are dusted on top—metaphorically referring to a household filled with gold and silver, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds is added to aid a flourishing business. The ‘Yu Sheng’ sauce is made from plums and is generously drizzled over everything! It is a reference to 甜甜蜜蜜—‘May life always be sweet’ and this sauce is just that.

Dumplings, eaten to symbolize a fresh start

In Hong Kong, leeks symbolize everlasting affluence. The color and texture of the dumplings represent a mood; it is suggested that one’s skin will become smooth and soft much like the exterior of the dumpling. The story goes—the number of pleats on the dumpling, indicates how much good luck will come. The more the merrier!

Spring rolls, eaten to symbolize wealth and treasure

The easily shared and ubiquitously loved ‘Spring’ roll, receives its name from when the dish was traditionally meant to be enjoyed, during The Spring Festival. It is also said that spring roll quite literally means ‘A Ton of Gold’ due to their gold bar-like shape.

Noodles, eaten to symbolize happiness and longevity

Hand kneaded, rolled, and stretched to their limit, these long continuous strands of chewy, yet light doughy noodles are not to be broken. It is best consumed when slurped—the longer the strand, the more longevity!

Mango pudding, bringing fullness and wealth

During lunar new year, certain fruits are selected due to their round and ‘golden’ color. Fruits such as tangerines, oranges and pomelos—forever favorites—are selected because they symbolize fullness and wealth. Pomelos are thought to bring continuous prosperity; the more you eat, the more wealth it will bring!

All around the world: Bao's vinegar has been to a lot of places!

What is Tất Niên Tết?

Tiệc Tất Niên is a party and celebration to mark the end of the year and prepare for the year ahead. It is part of a Vietnamese ritual that takes place on the last days of the lunar year. It is also a time for friends and family to gather, spend time with each other, and share a meal together.

Details

Bao La x Que Tất Niên Tết Pop-Up Date:

Friday, January 29 and Saturday, January 30

Bao La Pop-Up Time:

5-10pm

QUE UPSTAIRS OPENS:

Thursday to Saturday

QUE UPSTAIRS HOURS:

5-10pm

BOUTIQUE OPENS:

Thursday to Sunday

BOUTIQUE HOURS:

12-7pm or by appointment

Our boutique downstairs will be open until 10pm during Bao La's pop-up on Friday & Saturday!

Location:

QUE
118 Pham Viet Chanh
Phuong 19, Binh Thanh District
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
#QueUpstairs

More Info:

Facebook Event Page

Lightning round of one word answers:

Karen: How would you describe your 2020?

Bao: AMAZING!

Karen: What do you want to encapsulate in 2021?

Bao: PRODUCTIVITY

Karen: What are you most looking forward to about Tết?

Bao: SHARING

About Bao La

Australian-Vietnamese chef Bao La grew up in his parents’ humble Vietnamese restaurant, Kim Thanh, in Brisbane. Here, family recipes and traditional Vietnamese cooking methods formed his culinary foundation.

As an adult, he initially pursued a ‘safe’ career in Finance, but soon realized his true calling was in the kitchen. Through a series of Twitter exchanges, Bao landed a position with the Merivale Group, working with celebrated Australian chefs Dan Hong and Jowett Yu. After working at their acclaimed Sydney-based restaurants, Mr. Wong and MsG’s, La followed Yu to Hong Kong to open Ho Lee Fook with Black Sheep Restaurants.

After 2 years as sous chef, at the ‘funky Chinese kitchen’, chef Bao opened Le Garçon Saigon with the group. The wood fired Saigonese grill house was the first of its kind in the city and introduced Hong Kong to the rich diversity of Vietnamese cuisine beyond phở. Following the restaurant’s success, he opened Le Petit Saigon, a widely popular banh mi take away. La’s time in Hong Kong was categorized by a passion for expanding the perceptions of Vietnamese cuisine. But he was also becoming a champion for sustainability in the restaurants and beyond.

Through the years, Bao became more in tune with the negative impacts the restaurant industry had towards the environment. Bao fought for changes in the restaurant scene in Hong Kong by initiating recycling programs, reducing organic kitchen waste, eliminating the need to single use plastic within kitchen operations, moving away from commercially farmed produce and supporting local farmers.

In early 2020 with covid19 striking the world, Chef Bao relocated to his parents’ hometown of Đà Lạt, Vietnam. With an aim to learn more about the future of sustainable farming in Vietnam and to further his culinary knowledge.

Links: @bao_la and La Family Farm

A Que Tất Niên Tết Video Playlist

Some of our favorite videos to welcome the spirit of spring ✿

Playlist: Que Kaarem presents Tất Niên Tết!