Cuisine with Aileen: A Tết-riffic festival

Enjoy the video!

Editor’s Column

Aileen Janee is the REV CEO for Ethic News.


Today’s video is from a local Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Tết, festival, called the UVSA Tết Fest, and it is organized by the United Vietnamese Student Alliance (UVSA). Tết Fest is held in Orange County at the OC Fair and Event Center and tickets are $8 which are purchased at the main gate.

Tết Fest went from Jan. 27 to Jan. 29. Festival activities include a pho eating contest, lion dancing, and plenty of food and merchandise from small businesses to purchase.

I went to the 41st annual test two out of the three days: Saturday and Sunday, so Jan 28 and 29. This year’s theme was “Road to Our Homeland” which “conveys the importance of remembering [Vietnamese] cultural heritage,” according to the pamphlet given to festival attendees.

The festival proceeds are given “to fund hundreds of programs and projects across Southern California,” according to the pamphlet given to festival goers.

I went last year during early February, and the reason for this is because the first month of the lunar new year can be anywhere between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20.

On Saturday, as soon as we paid for the $12 parking, my family and I were greeted with a long line to the entrance, but the line did not last long.

There was a ceremonial special on Saturday from 11am to 12pm where festival goers were invited to wear traditional Vietnamese clothing, ao dai, military, and scout uniforms (no costumes) for a free ticket.

Water bottles and bags were welcomed, so we had our bags checked at the entrance.

As soon as we went past the bag check, we were greeted with a large gate that had Vietnamese writing on two red banners.

Past the gate and into the large metal structure, there are plenty of photo opportunities. 

Last year, because it was the year of the Tiger, there was a tiger statue, but this year there is a happy kitty. The company sponsoring the statue is Lexor, a beauty supply company from Westminster, CA.

Something I did not cover as much during the video is the Miss Vietnam of Southern California (MVSC) pageant. The pageant was held on Sat., Jan. 28, 2023 at 4 pm with the program ending in the coronation of MSVC 2023 Royal Court. There were 20 contestants who came from all around the U.S. ranging from 19 to 26-years-old.

All in all, I recommend Tết Fest to those who are and are not familiar with Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Go and make a new family tradition.

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