Sunday, March 8, 2015

Monthly Theme: March 2015 - White Day

White Day
White Day is a day that is marked in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China on March 14th, one month after Valentine’ s Day. It is considered the “Answer Day” to Valentine’s Day on the grounds that men should pay back the women who gave them chocolate and other gifts on Valentine’s Day. 

White Day which was first celebrated in 1978 in Japan, was started by the National Confectionery Industry Association. In 1977, a Fukuoka-based Confectionery Company marketed marshmallows on March 14th, calling it “Marshmallow Day”. Soon thereafter, confectionery companies began marketing white chocolate. Now, men give both white and dark chocolate, as well as other edible and non-edible gifts.

The Chocolate:
There are two types of chocolate that are often be seen following the tradition: The Honmei-Choco and The Giri-choco. 

The Honmei-Choco is given by women on Valentine’s Day to men whom the giver has romantic feelings for. The closest meaning of “honmei-choco” is true feeling chocolate or the chocolate of love. Therefore, it is often given to husbands, boyfriends and prospective boyfriends.Honmei chocolate is usually higher-quality and more expensive than giri-choco.

The Giri-Choco is literally the obligation chocolate. It is also given by women to men on Valentine’s Day. Giri chocolate is a relatively inexpensive type of chocolate that women give to male co-workers, casual acquaintances and others to whome they have no romantic attachment. If the Giri-Choco were given by men on White Day, they might not be expressing actual romantic interest, but rather a social obligation.

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is typically observed by girls and women presenting chocolate gifts (either store-bought or handmade) as an expression of love, courtesy or social obligation. Handmade chocolate is usally preferred by the recipient because of the perception of sincerity, effort and emotion put in a homemade confection.

On White Day, the reverse happens: men who received a Honmei-Choco or a Giri-Choco on Valentine’s Day are expected to return the favor by giving gifts. Traditionally, popular White Day gifts are cookies, jewelry, white lingerie, white chocolate and marshamallows. Sometimes the term “triple the return” is used to described the generally recited rule that the return gift should be two to three times the worth of the Valentine’s Gift. 

In South Korea, White Day is also observed as the day for men to give women sweets, as a sort of repayment for the gifts women gave on Valentine’s Day. However, in contrast to Japan, men generally purchase lollipops or other hard candies for the holiday. Chocolate gift sets are also sold for the holiday, but the majority of the gifts sets are filled with hard candies. 

This is a special project for NIS
Illustrated by Linh Daikon. 
All the photos were taken by me, Linh Daikon. Please don't erase the watermarks.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Daikon's Favourites: Noodles with Tofu & Shrimp Paste

Lately, I've been craving for some Vietnamese noodles. I was born and raised in the Southern of Vietnam. Here in Saigon, it's very easy to find from small food courts to luxury restaurants Vietnamese dishes from the North to the South. In Hanoi, noodles with tofu and shrimp paste is very popular among all ages. The price is reasonable and it depends on the side dishes. Normally, a set of noodles includes noodles, veggies, tofu and shrimp paste. However, just like rice, you can mix and match noodles with anything you like, such as bacon, spring rolls,...

A traditional set of noodles with tofu and shrimp paste.

Mommy and I decided to have noodles for lunch. Since we bought a new travel size bottle of shrimp paste of a new brand a few weeks earlier, we gave it a try. Mommy bought some herbs and cucumbers while I was in charge of the fried tofu. Shrimp paste has its unique smell and taste. I know that some people couldn't stand both the very strong smell and the taste of it. I do enjoy it anyway. In order to soften the taste a little bit, we add cumquat juice from our neighbor's garden. The cumquat juice sweetened the shrimp paste very well and it made the paste easier to enjoy after stirring it til the bubbles appeared.

Here are some more photos of our lunch <3
Fresh herbs and sliced cucumbers

Fried Tofu

Fresh noodles and shrimp paste

There was no specific recipe. Just follow along what we included in the photos.
I bought all the ingredients at our local supermarkets.
Big C: Noodles, Veggies and Fried Tofu.
Maximark: Shrimp Paste.

All the photos were taken by me, Linh Daikon. Please don't erase the watermarks.

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