LÌ XÌ 2023
2023 Lucky Money Envelopes Collection
Lì xì (lucky money) is a quintessential part of Tết (Lunar New Year). Traditionally, these envelopes contain money and represent the wish of good fortune for the new year. But beyond the physical offering, we also see this tradition as a precious exchange of compassion—something we can all aim to give each other more of.
50% of the proceeds from the sales will be donated to Mekong NYC, an organization that works to improve the lives of Southeast Asian communities in the Bronx and throughout New York City. The rest of the proceeds will go to the artists.
A packet of four envelopes will be available for pre-order at $17.50.
The idea behind Mâm Cơm Ngày Tết, which refers to the spread of food eaten around Lunar New Year, is to capture the feeling of togetherness that comes from being at a shared meal during the holiday. For many, this occasion is the only time of the year they are able to spend time with their loved ones.
A Tết meal requires attention, love, and care to put together before serving, so that everyone can convene at the table – savoring the warm embrace of familiar foods, reflecting on the passing year, and being in good company.
The dinner table is where we put aside our old troubles and bring forward new beginnings. Like an omen for the new year, we give each other only what’s best. This is the intention behind this collection of lì xì envelopes. A gift that conveys warm wishes for those we love, appreciate, and respect.
Gà luộc (boiled chicken), presented in neatly plated pieces that maintain the shape of the chicken, can be considered the centerpiece of the meal. The preparation is the most simple of the four dishes with flavors coming from thinly-sliced lime leaves along with a dipping sauce made of salt, pepper, chili, and lime. The vibrant yellow color of the chicken is a symbol of good luck and prosperity for the new year.
Thịt kho trứng (braised pork belly with eggs) is a dish most commonly found in Southern Vietnamese Tết spreads, but it can also be served in everyday family meals across all three regions. The dish is made to be eaten with a warm bowl of rice, pickled vegetables, and a hearty soup. Each flavorful and textured bite brings a sense of comfort and warmth – a sentiment we felt necessary to include in the Mâm Cơm Ngày Tết (Tết Family Meal) design.
Bánh chưng (chưng cake) represents the earth and the sky. A coming together of ingredients like rice, mung beans, and pork that shows our gratitude towards nature and our wishes for good harvest in the new year. The cake is then wrapped tightly with lá dong (dong leaves) or sometimes banana leaves that symbolize nurturing familial love. Whether steamed or fried, this is a distinctive Vietnamese dish. Often a crowd favorite among Vietnamese people thanks to its filling and nurturing qualities.
Củ kiệu and dưa muối are two kinds of Vietnamese pickled vegetables - commonly served as side dishes during Tết. The most popular pickled vegetables are leeks, carrots, and mustard greens. While they are “side dishes,” their taste is nothing short of essential to the Tết spread of food – as they are a perfect pairing with thịt kho trứng (braised pork belly with eggs) and bánh chưng (chưng cake). The acidity of củ kiệu and dưa muối balances out the heavier dishes and makes it even more memorable with its satisfying crunch.
MEET THE MAKERS
COURTESY OF TRÀ MY TRƯƠNG
Trà My TRƯƠNG
illustrator & designer
Trà My is a Designer and Art Director from Hà Nội, currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Her passion centralizes on telling cultural stories and forming human connections through playful illustrations, graphic design, and film photography.
Minh Anh NGUYỄN
photographer & writer
Minh Anh is a photographer and journalist from Sài Gòn, currently based in Brooklyn, NY. She is passionate about people-watching, playlist-making, and plant-keeping.
COURTESY OF MINH ANH NGUYỄN