Family resort Alma will usher in the Lunar New Year with a four-day program packed with Tet merriment ranging from a vibrant night market and live entertainment to traditional games and competitions.
The 30-hectare resort’s program kicks off on Lunar New Year’s Eve, Thurs. Feb. 11, with a morning excursion to a pagoda, wet markets and flower farm in the Cam Lam countryside, opening a window on how locals prepare for Tet.
Throughout the day until late in the evening, guests will try their hand at concocting the quintessential Tet staple “Banh Chung” (Chung cake). After wrapping sticky rice and mung bean inside dong leaves at Alma Garden, the budding chefs will descend on the five-star resort’s bean bag-studded football field to cook their Chung cakes amid outdoor games.
The Kids Club will guide youngsters on how to craft new year greeting cards and offer Spring-themed face painting before the resort’s hill, with spectacular views overlooking Long Beach, hosts blowing giant rainbow bubbles and a kite flying competition.
Along the main thoroughfare from Alma Garden to the Kid’s Club, adjacent to the largest of 12 swimming pools cascading down to the beach, a Vietnamese street market will burst to life from 7pm. Stalls will brim with wares and fare including toys, souvenirs, Vietnamese street drinks, skewers, spring rolls, hand rolls, banh mi, deep-fried rice cake, bao, dumplings, dim sum and desserts.
Alma Garden will host a “reunion” buffet, live band and fire dancing. Italian fine dining restaurant La Casa’s a la carte menu will be complemented by Alma’s “Singing Cooks and Waiters”. With ladles, pans and tambourines in hand, and with a live piano as a foundation, the apron-and-toque donning Alma Choir break into song and dance as suddenly as a flash mob to perform Vietnamese and international tunes.
On the first day of Tet, Fri. Feb. 12, and for the rest of the program, Alma Garden’s daily buffet breakfast with feature a Tet corner serving favourites such as Chung cakes, “Banh Tet” (sticky rice and mung bean cakes), Vietnamese caramelized pork and eggs with young bamboo shoots, pickled papaya, carrot and scallion heads, and dried coconut and lotus seeds.
Dragon dancing, calligraphy giving, and Tet games including pick the lucky envelope and bamboo dancing will be staged at the lobby to mark the first day of the Lunar New Year. Beachfront restaurant Atlantis will hold a Vietnamese cooking class as well as cupcake and cocktail making workshops. Guests with excellent appetites are urged to participate in an afternoon watermelon eating competition on the hill.
“As a tumultuous Year of the Rat dominated by the global pandemic draws to a close, we’re excited about ringing in Year of the Ox with a fun and lively Tet program designed to foster quality time with loved ones,” said the resort’s general manager Herbert Laubichler-Pichler.
Throughout the remainder of the program, children will make lucky envelopes, smash lucky balloons and learn to make fruits out of Play Doh. There will also be sunrise yoga, giant chess competitions, maki roll and pizza making classes, an ice-cream buffet and more. The night market will again be held on Saturday, Feb. 13, to the strains of Vietnamese instrumentalists.