A Familiar Image - Printable Version

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RE: A Familiar Image - schi - 2022-05-05

(2022-05-05, 02:36 PM)DuyVIII Wrote: ...  Ms., do I know you?

...  nope ... Grinning-face-with-smiling-eyes4 ...

RE: A Familiar Image - DuyVIII - 2022-05-06

(2022-05-05, 02:47 PM)schi Wrote: ...  nope ... Grinning-face-with-smiling-eyes4  ...

Thank you for confirming that for me, Ms.  It's all good then.

RE: A Familiar Image - DuyVIII - 2022-05-07

If life would turn out the way we had planned it, we wouldn’t need to think too much about it, because our lives will eventually turn out to be exactly as planned, right?  Or maybe not, because chances are many of us would still prefer to be informed of the result beforehand, while others would still go to a fortune teller for a prediction in advance.  In the end, will there still be any significant meaning for a living if the life we carry on is very predictable?  Fortunately, for better or worse, life as we know isn’t like that at all, and the unknown of our future is for us to find out in time or to make it for ourselves.  While education and wealth usually define social status and a better life, chances are we won’t be the ones on the receiving end of such an outcome.  If such a fortunate outcome isn’t realistic for everyone, what would be the silver lining if we weren’t the ones who are highly educated or rich even if we had tried?  Perhaps the ultimate question would be whether we can be happy with the average life that we live.  On the other hand, just a different scenario or a dramatic incident in life may influence one’s outlook on life and personality greatly, and such experience is more likely will grow old with the person and remain in the memory bank till the end.

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One of my fond memories of my childhood is a school photo that was captured roughly forty-eight years ago.  It was an elementary graduation class photo that featured fifty-two students in the class lined up orderly in four rows, with the teacher standing in the middle of the front row.  For many of us students, it was the day for one last gathering of the class before we headed separate ways.  Even to this day, nearly all of us students who were in the same class would still remember the names or nicknames of each student, with some names being easier to remember, while others are still very clear in everyone’s memory – not mine though.  However, most people who still remember my family nickname would still call me, "Xíu", as a little one in Chinese.  The reason how the students were able to maintain such a special relationship with one another has always been very clear to me; we were the ethnic minority people surviving under constant racial and political conflicts.  What we had were only each other for protection and comfort while living within an isolated minority community, which is the same reason why we tend to remember and go by everyone’s name in Chinese.  This might seem quite unusual back then, but it shouldn’t be so unusual anymore.  By now, which is already more than half a century later in my lifetime, our globalizing society has been constantly changing so much and so rapidly, with so many refugees and immigrants now living all over the world.  It’s no longer a surprise when someone introduced his or her name in their native language.  These days, even though I mostly communicate in English, I still go by my real name, Duy.  While I still learn to pronounce other people’s names properly in their native tones, I also insist that others should learn to address me by my name correctly, either at work or at social gatherings.  There is no reason for me to change my name because I wasn’t born in the US.  Perhaps one day in the distant future, the name “Duy, or Thu, or Thuy” will be another new and normal English name for others to recognize.

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Not long after the class resumed for a new school year in early 1975, the Vietnam war suddenly came to an erupted ending, but then came with it were the drastic chaotic turmoil, insecurity, agitation, and total government control that threatened the people’s usual life and freedom.  My school once again closed for a whole year until it reopened again in early 1976, by now roughly fifty percent of the students in my class were either had fled to Saigon or moved back to their hometowns in other regions to start a new life.  Starting from 1977, and especially during 1979 when China invaded the northern border of Vietnam, more and more ethnic Chinese people were hastened to leave the country in fear for their safety.  By the end of the 1980s, nearly ninety percent of all fifty-two students in my class were either died, moved, or already escaped from Vietnam, me included.  Most of my former classmates are now residing in Southern California where I also once lived for a few years during the early 80s.  Oftentimes we organized an annual reunion with other students who now live in European countries and elsewhere.  In recent years, my return to live in Vietnam also provided me the chance to meet up with a few old classmates who still live there, and I was told by the old friends there with first-hand experience, that how much their world was quickly changed during those early years when the whole Chinese community and group of friends were diminishing gradually until it was completely gone forever.  Life for them went from further isolation to becoming desperate, hopeless, and the loneliness from the feeling of being left behind.  “It felt more like a death sentence because it was the end of nearly everything I got used to, and everyone was gone, but life still must go on.” As one of them told me.
Among the few classmates whom I met again in Da Nang after thirty-something years, one of them I still go by his nickname because that is how I remember him, “Sền”.  He was the older boy standing next to me in the photo, and I was standing behind the teacher.  Sền is a good example of someone who had experienced a life-changing incident in life about thirty-five years ago, and he has been living his life completely different from what he and his family had expected ever since.  Coming from an ethnic Chinese family that practices Chinese herbal medicine for generations, Sền was the next generation expected to inhere and carry on the family's traditional Chinese herbal business.  Like me, his parents and grandparents were Chinese immigrants who had lived and died in Vietnam for generations.  He grew up in Châu Ổ, a small town in the Central Region of Vietnam.  Like other boys and girls whose families are ethnic Chinese and came from such small towns where there were no Chinese schools established, his family sent him to Đà Nẵng for schooling and to learn Chinese.  He and I were in the same class for two years during the fifth and sixth grades, but we didn’t interact with each other that much, which was probably because he was an older kid and from out of town.  However, he was one of the few former classmates who still live in Vietnam, and I went along with a few former classmates to look for him in his hometown.  Once we met again in person after so many years, the emotion was mutually spontaneous and raw as we greeted each other.  The reunion brought back the precious memory of a small world that we had shared and remembered from a past time.(to be continued)

RE: A Familiar Image - DuyVIII - 2022-05-11

Like so many ethnic Chinese who escaped from Vietnam during the 80s, his brothers and sisters had also escaped and currently reside in Southern California, and then his mother came over later too, except him.  Four years ago, when his mother finally completed the legal sponsorship to bring him and his wife over to live in California for their senior years, he reluctantly agreed to move and stayed there for about eight months, but then he felt so lost and regretted it.  He left the new life in America and moved back to Châu Ổ again less than a year later.  My old friend believes that the people who wanted to live in the US or elsewhere in Europe are the people who are still seeking a chance to improve their lives, or they have other purposes in doing so.  He, on the other hand, has his life already established with specific goals in mind, and he is quite happy with his passion for the project at hand that has been working on it for the last thirty years.  “Life in America was not a good option for me, not at all.” He said.

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When I decided to drop out of school and joined the railroad labor workforce in 1976, Sền also quit school in the same year and went home to be with family, but then he accidentally embarked on an incident that had changed his outlook on life, and then willingly devoted the last thirty years of his life trying to complete a passionate mission.  In 1985, on a random day taking a break from his daily Chinese herbal business as he was browsing through the merchandise at a flea market, he came across some old coins with Chinese characters engraved on both sides of the coins.  He inspected the coins carefully and immediately realized that they were coins from the Ming Dynasty in China.  He asked the vendor for more information about where the coins came from, and the vendor told him that they discovered them from an old wooden shipwreck, along with its belongings sunk to the bottom of the ocean near Nha Trang.  All the items from the shipwreck were broken and scattered over a relatively large area at the bottom of the ocean floor.  From such a vaguely provided piece of information, it was enough to allure my friend’s interest in finding out more about the shipwreck.
While the vendor was only interested to sell those coins slightly more than the base value of rusted metal scrabs that stuck together like a metal ball, my friend gave him a little more than what he asked for, with an additional small lump sum for his guide to the location of the shipwreck.  The vendor quickly agreed and was quite happy to be the guide for extra money.  Months later, after investing nearly all his daily profits from the herbal business to hire the local divers for investigating the site, not too long after that, the whole shipwreck was brought up to the surface by large air blooms, and along with it were so many ceramic items still stored on the bottom deck of the ship.  Unfortunately, most of them were broken, but my friend didn’t mind that.  By the end of the 1980s, he discovered two more bringing a total to three, and all of them were brought to the surface.  With the only source of income from the family herbal business, which probably was not too bad, he invested more money and more frequently add on to see what he could make out of the grand project at hand, which had already taken thirty years, and more time to come.
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All of the ships were the typical wooden merchant ships that were used to ship cargo from China to Vietnam and vice versa.  The ships had probably been sunken either by force or by natural causes.  Two of them were from the Qing Dynasty, and the other one was from Ming Dynasty based on the imprint of the ceramic merchandise on board.  With all the countless historical items that he collected from the ships, my thought quickly came to the conclusion that they should be preserved in a museum.  It was exactly what he intended to do as well, by building a privately owned museum right on the open space in front of his family home.  The architectural design of the wooden house came from various pieces of wood that he collected from the demolished old farmhouses, with many of them being the old doors that probably dated more than a hundred years old.  Based on the last time I saw him four years ago, the building of the house was almost complete.  That day as we chatted on various subjects over cups of tea he traditionally brewed in a very small teakettle, we talked about the old school and friends, things like what we had done or didn’t get to do, and then the subject turned into the thoughts of what we would like to do going forward until the day we die.  The thought of it might be depressing to some people, but it was an inevitable reality in our minds.  In other words, it was time to think about what we want and could do within the last twenty years of our lives.  This was the part that intrigued me about this old friend of mine, for what he enjoys and values in life. (to be continued)

RE: A Familiar Image - LeThanhPhong - 2022-05-11

It's a very interesting reading about Sền and his searching of the old shipwrecks, and his collecting of those old artifacts. It's very nice of him to build a museum. I admire his mind very much.

I do hope that the Vietnamese government will not confiscate his works and his property after everything is done like what it used to do in the past.

RE: A Familiar Image - DuyVIII - 2022-05-12

(2022-05-11, 07:58 AM)LeThanhPhong Wrote: ....I do hope that the Vietnamese government will not confiscate his works and his property after everything is done like what it used to do in the past.

He is fully aware of the possibility that such a thing could happen too, which is why I admire his courage.

RE: A Familiar Image - LeThanhPhong - 2022-05-12

(2022-05-12, 10:03 AM)DuyVIII Wrote: He is fully aware of the possibility that such a thing could happen too, which is why I admire his courage.

What a man!  He's ready to be robbed, but still not giving up his dream. In another word, he doesn't mind to "donate"   Mad  his efforts and money.  
For sure, he does have a good heart  Heavy-black-heart4 .

RE: A Familiar Image - DuyVIII - 2022-05-12

Even though neither one of us ever completed the seventh grade in Chinese, we had learned and gained the basics of the language, and that had provided us the structured foundation to continue in our self-taught effort to learn more since then.  While acquiring the English language was the most priority for me to learn over the years, I continued to read Chinese newspapers and listen to Chinese music regularly for additional learning purposes.  Sền, on the other hand, has always been more fluent in Vietnamese, but he has also continued to learn Chinese and practice calligraphy brush writing on his own ever since.  “The brush writing calligraphy techniques is another form of art.  The more you practice, the more fluent with the brushstrokes you become.”  He reminded me.  These days he still holds a class for just a few students who wanted to learn Chinese calligraphy writing.  With nearly the whole population of ethnic Chinese from the older generation is already gone or no longer active, he now, by default, became the reliable source for Chinese translation and writing for everyone in town.  Even the people from surrounding villages would come for his Chinese writing on the new or old gravestones whenever someone needed it.  He would write out the words and dates in black ink on traditional calligraphy papers, and then the villagers would take the scripts to a monumental mason for duplicating to a gravestone.  “It was my honor to voluntarily help anyone with the unfamiliar task at such a difficult time for their family.”  He then added, “in turn, it will be something as a legacy with my handwriting imprinted on those stones for a long time.”

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Sền is now sixty-three, a year older than me, and we both understand that our time will only get shorter by the day.  Even if we may live beyond eighty, the quality of life then will more likely be unpleasant and socially inactive.  But what we could do for ourselves going forward, or perhaps even hopefully a legacy of something to look at and enjoy after we are long gone.  It would make an old man’s life more interesting, and that was what I was thinking and sharing with my old friend.  We seemed to be on the same thinking on that; because he didn’t seem very concerned about the possibility that if one day the government decided to confiscate his collection for whatever reasons.  "Thật ra tao không sợ về chính quyền tịch thu, nhưng chỉ sợ sâu này không có người chăn sóc thì đúng hơn."  He expressed that in Vietnamese - as we mostly communicate in Vietnamese, with the exception when he called me by my full name in Chinese – the way it has always been, or “Xíu.”  The main reason for his concern is that his children, who already have a family of their own, didn’t seem to be very interested in the collection of his artifacts and the museum business.  In other words, if the government will maintain and take care of the whole collection for the public interest, it might not be such a bad alternative to having it maintained or merged into a larger collection, he said.  Now, is that being generous or just being stupid?  I think neither is true.
One of my reasonable goals for the near future is to re-write this part of the story, but it will have to wait till I have a chance to meet up with my friend again, and hopefully soon.  While there is the chance that the whole story still won’t be intriguing enough for the readers, even after being edited again, I still want to complete it because it’s the right thing to do, especially since I already have my heart set on it for so long.  I believe my old friend, Sền, was also thinking the same thing.  Thirty years is a long, long time to have wholeheartedly devoted to one thing.  What else would be more meaningful than completing it since we still have a little time to try it.  If it is still relevant to dream of something after sixty, this has to be it.  We both would like to leave something behind after we left this world, something of personal value for someone else to look at, enjoy, and perhaps even a sense of appreciation.  It is worth trying.

RE: A Familiar Image - LeThanhPhong - 2022-05-12

Hi Duy,

The more I know Sền and you, the more I admire both of you . You two are generous in your thoughts and actions .  BTW, I don't think Sền is stupid at all .  Instead, I think he's practical and realistic .  Indeed, if the government preserves his collection instead of letting it disappear with time and neglection, it's good for the future generations.

BTW, I always admire Chinese calligraphy .  Writing it beautifully with the regular #2 pencil already requires a lot of practice .  It's super more difficult in writing it with brush and ink .  It requires a lot of practice because the writer needs to know how much energy to apply to the brush, and how to move your arms, your wrists, your hands and your fingers smoothly with no effort . 

Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us .  I'm looking forward to reading more of your stories as well as seeing more of your photographs .


RE: A Familiar Image - DuyVIII - 2022-05-14

As I grew older, especially during the years from my early fifties to now in my sixties, I became more and more appreciative of the things that I had learned from my parents, and sometimes seemed as though it was inevitable that I would inherit from them.  One of the things I learned from my father is the skillful instinct for cooking.  I can create a special dish instantly from whatever there is available in the refrigerator, without even thinking too much about it in advance, or needing to shop for specific ingredients.  Such an instinct and dexterous skill in the kitchen has always been part of the family that all my siblings and I had naturally inbred from my father.  My mother was also a great cook, but hers were mostly homemade cooking, bakery, and fermentation of fruits and vegetables.  The one precious recipe I inherited from my mother is the traditional family recipe of making salted lemons.  It was the same recipe that my maternal grandma used to make once or twice a year for selling at the market, along with her homemade tofu.

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Ever since my mother passed away years ago, I have been harboring the thought of bringing back the family recipe once again in memory of her and my grandma, the salted lemons.  I like the fact that fermented fruits like salted lemons are meant to keep for ages, and the older they are the better they became.  As I started to brainstorm on the whole plan as to where to begin, I went back in time to recall the process when my mother taught me how to prepare those salted lemons years ago, starting from the point when the lemons are fresh.  As I still remember what she told me before, “the rounder lemons with their thin outer skin will make perfect salted lemons, but those ideal lemons are from Southeast Asia.”  She said.  In other words, to make an ideal production of traditionally fermented salted lemons, I can’t have it in Chicago where I live because there is no such an ideal type of lemons or limes available, and the labor cost to produce in the US would be too high for the market.  Those obvious obstacles quickly had me seriously rethinking the idea of living in Vietnam again, and it was my original plan to move back and live with my mother there when she was still alive.  Unfortunately, the original plan didn’t work out because my mother passed away a year before I could complete the process of arranging my job to work from Vietnam, but then the thought of bringing back the family recipe had revived my motivation to follow through with the move after all.  Six months later in September 2014, after resigning nearly all my service contracts that summed up to about $52,000 of annual income, I was in Da Nang to embark on a new life with a personal mission in mind, to bring back the family recipe, the salted lemons.
My immediate realization about living in Vietnam wasn’t so much like others had informed me beforehand, that it would be easier said than done.  It probably has to do with the individual personality and versatility as the key.  For me, it was just a matter of overcoming the initial shocks from the tremendous humid climate, chaotic traffic, and the infestation of rats, cockroaches, and mosquitoes as necessary, sooner or later.  Once I got used to the new surroundings, it wasn’t as bad as other people said.  The initial steps after I settled down were where to go search for the ideal lemons farm and learn more about the sea salt production in Vietnam.  It was the purpose for me to acquire a better understanding of the natural sources for the two main ingredients, lemons and sea salt, and how they are produced in Vietnam.  I traveled to several provinces in the country that are well known for sea salt farming, like Ninh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, Binh Thuan, and Sa Quynh, and then I went to the Hau Giang and Long An Provinces to check out the lemons, or limes to be exact if we go by the American definition.  All that traveling alone was quite an adventure to experience.  As I usually preferred to travel through small towns so that I could see more of the locally daily life, it gave me the collective information on how salted lemons are usually consumed in Vietnam nowadays.

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Unlike the normal people with business-oriented objectives who usually came back to Vietnam with a decent amount of capital to invest or operate a business, I came with a part-time job and a few hundred dollars balance in the checking account, but I didn’t mind that.  I intended to start this whole salted-lemons business thing based on what I could manage to invest, which would be my time, devotion, and the little monthly saving from a part-time job starting from the date I arrived.  The intention was for me to see if I can make it through like the ordinary local people, starting a production line with my labor and marketing it with my time.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to pay rent because I was using my mother’s house in Da Nang as the facility to produce and store the salted lemons.  So, as I figured, with a steady source of income, as little as it is, and a facility for free, I could be in business for a long time regardless of the short-term result.  After all, making a profit was not part of the plan for the first five years, but marketing the product within a limited budget is the essential part of my plan, while my time and devotion as the main investment. (to continue)

RE: A Familiar Image - DuyVIII - 2022-05-14

Time will tell whether my limited knowledge of the local market and my only source of financial support will be enough for a starting point. With that in mind, after two years of constant testing and refining the full process of making the product commercialized, I was fully confident that it would sell. I could envision that one day when I happen to be at a coffee shop, a customer from the next table ordered a “hot salted lemon drink.”  Or if I was at someone’s house and saw a jar of my salted lemons sitting on the kitchen counter. That would be so incredible! My wish for the ultimate result is to see that happening one day, or after my time. This was truly the case that is easier said than done. In early summer 2017 when I was ready to start the very first batch of ten kilograms of lemons, the daily weather was hot and humid, but it was exactly the sunny days needed to make salted lemons. There was no air conditioner installed because the house was designed with open gaps and holes near the roof for passive ventilation purposes. I set shop in the rear of the house on the second floor, with the back door always opened to an open-air squared space that is enclosed by walls of other houses, quietly tucked away from the usual crowded urban housing and shaded.  Every day in the morning, the warming morning sunlight slanted through the open door where I sat shop until it became very bright and hot by noon.  While the heat beat down from the aluminum metal roof above on the hot days, only an occasional cool breeze rushed through my house from the front balcony and out to the rear providing a wonderful cool relief, while a fan circulated warm air in the house oftentimes didn’t help at all.  I worked under such conditions five to six hours a day for nearly two years.  The goal was to build up a sizable inventory and properly age before officially marketing the product.
On some days when I was so tired of the heat and daily routines of work from the accounting job to making salted lemons, I would pack up for a backpacking trip to go somewhere for a few days. It was more like a mini-vacation that comes with an air-conditioned hotel room for a change and a chance hiking to see places, which is the one luxurious option other hardworking people do not have.  There were also days while sanding the lemons, my mind was occupied with the words that my mother used to remind me how to maneuver the hand, lightly pressing down the lemons while smoothly moving the hand in a circle with grains of sea salt grinning underneath.  “That’s how you sand them, not too hard and not too soft, and try not to break the outer skin.  And the lemons must be fermented for at least a year before it ready to use as an herbal remedy to cure common illness.”  Many of her specific instructions somehow fixated in my mind during the first few months after I started the production.  Even when I finally decided to modify or short-cut certain parts of the whole process from beginning to end, I thought she would be fine with my decision because it was necessary for commercializing the production.  The slight modification and short-cuts helped to increase the amount of production, which is exclusively all handmade.  With the part-time accounting job that I usually do the work at night, I was on the pace to produce roughly eighty jars a week for a few months in a year based on the weather, but that wasn’t always the case because, as always, I also like to go wandering around to see the country.  This is the typical dilemma for an old man who still wants to do many things but is too lazy to focus on making money.

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The marketing strategy I had in the plan was to give out ten percent of the inventory as an introductory gift for tasting, and with it is a small attached instructional booklet in Vietnamese as suggested guidance on how to mix hot and cold drinks.  The main focus of the marketing strategy was to inform potential consumers that the salted lemons are made without needing preservatives.  It is to be served cold or hot – these days people only serve it as a cold drink.  Salted lemons are used as an herbal remedy for the common cold and other common illnesses, especially during the winter. It is also commonly used to mix refreshing drinks with sweetened cold water for the hot summer days, or simply with a glass of Sprite or 7ups.  By the time when I needed to decide on the label for the product, it was also time to come up with a name and a representative logo, and other logistics for marketing purposes as well.  I chose the name “Co Truyen” in both Chinese and Vietnamese languages because it is the origin of grandma as well as the recipe from the old time.  Sometimes I was asked if the product was imported from China because of the Chinese written characters, which I can take time to explain while having a chance to convince the potential buyer.  Other times, some people just outright rejected the product because of the Chinese written characters, which I could understand the personal reason and was okay with it.  On the flip side for my consideration at this point in life, I wouldn’t bother to spend valuable time creating anything solely to make a profit. (to continue)

RE: A Familiar Image - DuyVIII - 2022-05-15

By the time when my inventory reached sixteen hundred jars sitting on the shelves, half of them were about a year old and ready to sell.  The time was October 2019, and Lunar New Year was just right around the corner.  It was time to see what I can do to market a family recipe, but there was an immediate obstacle; I can’t ride a motorcycle and didn’t want to risk getting injured while learning it.  So, the only choice then was easily settled with riding a bicycle or catching a “Grab” and cab when needed, which I have already been doing the whole time when I first arrived.  I usually would be on my bike going places two-three times a week searching for the potential outlets to push for a sale.  Carrying with me was always a backpack containing two jars of well pre-pared salted lemons, a few paper cups in a zip bag, a small jar for pure honey and one for sugar, and a medium-size stainless steel thermos to keep the premixed salted lemon drink hot for hours.  Yes, that old man would be me, in my usual outfits with shorts, t-shirts, and gym shoes, riding an old bike with a box of salted lemons sitting on the back.  Obviously, I don't look anything like a typical "Viet Kieu" living in Vietnam or just visiting.  I took it as a temporary personal challenge to overcome until I could afford to hire a sales rep and possibly a production staff, and I was fine with that.  In a way, the first-hand experience gave me a general idea of what to expect of productivity when I am ready to hire a sales rep.  On the other hand, my hardworking ethic also deterred the few relatives who tend to think of me as their ATM where they could go withdraw money.

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Toward the end of December 2019, two months into my initial push to test the local market in Da Nang, I had sold about 750 jars to eleven grocery stores and outlets, and gave out roughly 100 jars to friends, neighbors, and other potential buyers.  The total net profit collected was roughly twelve million vnd, but that was not counting my part-time labor as a cost for nearly two years. Overall, I still consider the result successful and had met my objectives for the first year while working alone.  When January came around, I had already run out of the one-year-old inventory and had to stop soliciting more buyers.  It was perfect timing to go on a backpacking trip to the North and spend the 2020 Lunar New Year alone in Ninh Binh, time for a much-needed retreat and to brainstorm for the next steps.  Unfortunately, by the time I came back and got ready to fill up the inventory again, the plague of COVID had already been spreading outside of China.  My pre-scheduled return to Chicago was also coming up, therefore I left Vietnam in early March of 2020 and haven’t been back since.  The good news is that, after being stuck in Chicago for the last two years, I now have an additional service contract to take with me when I return to Da Nang within the next few months, which will be more than enough to hire one or possibly two positions for assisting me with the business.  At this point, it is already clear to me that the idea of bringing back my family recipe of making salted lemons will carry on.

RE: A Familiar Image - LeThanhPhong - 2022-05-15

I didn't know that we can drink Chanh Muối in hot water Clap .  

Now, I know .  Thanks, Duy .


RE: A Familiar Image - DuyVIII - 2022-05-15

(2022-05-15, 01:09 PM)LeThanhPhong Wrote: I didn't know that we can drink Chanh Muối in hot water Clap .  

Now, I know .  Thanks, Duy .


Long before the western medicines became widely available in Asia, salted lemons were used as a herbal remedy to cure many common illnesses, such as seasonal cold, cough, stomach aches, sore throat, and even indigestion.  When you have a chance to try it, depending on the type of salted lemons that you could find, you will be surprised to find out how good it tastes to drink it hot or warm with honey, especially on cold days or when you are under the weather.

RE: A Familiar Image - schi - 2022-05-16

... how many limes in a jar and how much is it ... the price is time value ... i think your Màmá side might come from Zhuang Guangxi with the famous Zhuang Preserved Limes ... why don't you keep your business secret ... it's easy for someone makes that traditional preserved limes in just 1 month but look like 3 years old ... as they can make 1-month  fish sauce while the traditional one need at least 1 year to extract ... i understand why you want to revive your Màmá treasure of cooking because i feel the same way even though my Grandma cooking very simple without any fancy ... it's just because she raised me and i still miss her so ...