Posted by: sharemore1 | October 22, 2012

National Women’s Day and Beyond

Men in Pink

Dressed in pink or blue aprons, teams of men gathered in the university cafeteria Friday morning.

Whole chickens and fish, shrimp, pork, beef and tofu were piled on tables in front of them.   Green, orange and white produce, hot red peppers, rice and noodles were in little plastic bags.

Bottles of oil, fish sauce, soy sauce and other condiments fought for room on the table.  The men planned to turn these ingredients into a full meal within two hours.

The cooks were faculty and staff of the Hanoi University of Science, not regular cafeteria employees.  Celebrating Viet Nam Women’s Day, they were competing to see who could cook the best lunch for the women in their department.  They had a budget of $15 for the ingredients and brought their own pots, pans, dishes and hot plates or grills.

Getting to Work

There was much bantering back and forth, consulting of recipes and occasional cell phone conferences as the men started

What Do We Do Next?

to cook.   Then the peeling and chopping began in earnest.  Soon the room was filled with the smell of garlic and fish oil, and frying fish and meat.

Nest of Chicks

One man fried thin noodles until they were crisp and golden and arranged them on a platter.  He set hardboiled eggs on the nest of noodles, small eggs in front of larger ones.   He placed a carrot strip on the small eggs for a comb and a serrated carrot slice behind the large eggs for a tail.  He created noses from hot red peppers and eyes from small black seeds.  Finally he decorated the platter with a rose carved from a tomato skin.  He was ready to present his birds nest.


On a nearby table were dragonflies with sausage bodies, carrot wings, an okra tail, a cherry tomato head and toothpick antennae.  One group fried a whole chicken (including the beak and the feet) and decorated it with a nest of eggs and flowers made from carrots and peppers.

Chicken and Nest

The men created excellent meals with artistry and whimsy and the women enjoyed their show.   And it did seem to be a show.  After the food was judged and sampled, the math department took the women out to eat a fine lunch in an upscale restaurant.

Now that they proved they were excellent chefs, what’s keeping the men from strutting their stuff at home?   As in most countries, women still do most of the housework even when they have full time jobs.   Becoming partners in their own kitchens would be the best way for men to honor the women in their lives.  Maybe next year taking such a pledge could be part of the program.

The Math Department


  1. Great blog to follow a wonderful event. S–t, I did not get in time to taste those cute chicken. They were snapped while I was fed shrimps…

  2. Fantastic and very creative! They have set a new standard for creative cooking presentations. What are you going to do Sharon to show your creativity?

  3. What a great way to celebrate Women’s Day!

  4. WOW! I just never thought Vietnamese men could ever make that delicious-looking dishes.
    Hope that they sometimes use that ability at home and save their wives from cooking 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: