Food, fun and friends at ‘Saigon after Midnight’
If you are looking for a fun vacation, there is no need to hop on SkyScanner — the Vietnamese Student Association has you covered. On Friday Oct. 24, the VSA hosted “Saigon after Midnight.”
According to the group’s Facebook page, the goal of the VSA is “to preserve and enrich the unique traditions and heritage of Vietnam.” The club wants to inform students about Vietnamese culture using engaging events, many of which offer delicious food. They also collaborate with other culture clubs to create interethnic cultural events. Topics that VSA focuses on range from politics to social life. Throughout the year, VSA hosts multiple events to engage the Brandeis student body and teach them about Vietnamese culture.
From the moment students walked into the Ridgewood Commons, the vibrant atmosphere entranced them. With the colorful strobe lights sprinkling pops of red, green, purple and blue, students felt like VSA transported them to an authentic nightclub. The large “Chè Pong” tables were the most noticeable features in the room. Three large tables held ten cups on the right and left side. The name was a misnomer because the cups were filled with water and not Chè, the Vietnamese pudding. Students were given a ball to throw in the cups and eliminate as many of their opponents’ cups as possible. Even though there was no alcohol involved, Chè Pong proved to be just as difficult as Beer Pong because it was played in the dark room. In the back of the room, the VSA E-board prepared a table with a variety of Vietnamese snacks. Guests trickled in and either flocked to the sidelines to talk to people or started playing the game.
Once the guests came, the E-board of VSA gave a presentation about life in Vietnam. They spoke about Ho Chi Minh City and its nightlife, informing the crowd about Vietnamese culture. They also announced upcoming events, like their Hot Pot Night on Nov. 21. After the presentation, the E-board invited everyone to taste their appetizers. Among these were Chè, Cha Gao, commonly known as Spring Rolls, and Vietnamese fish balls. The food was delicious. The Chè that was offered came in multiple flavors like lychee and almond milk.
People enjoyed their food as they played games, chatted with friends and danced. At one point in the evening, a trio of students took to the center of the room and danced as everyone crowded them. The atmosphere was cheerful, creating an air of carefree fun in the midst of midterms. If you were unfamiliar with Vietnamese pop culture, you could still differentiate between the songs that were popular and the songs that were not because students would sing along to the lyrics of popular Vietnamese songs. People from the club and other campus groups took photographs of students enjoying themselves.
The event definitely entertained. The food and the liveliness placed people in an upbeat mood. As the night went on, some stayed and some trickled out slowly, but it was undeniable that everyone who came had a great time.