Come the end of the lunar year, the Vietnamese Kitchen God the one privy to all the family secrets must return to heaven to make his report. Not that you would ever bribe the gods, but consider helping Ong Tao get to heaven faster by getting him a carp to ride home on. Once a year, families all across Vietnam schlep to nearby ponds and lakes to release a fish in the water. Unfortunately, most also toss the plastic bag in too. If your fish succumbs to the toxic soup, don't be too surprised if your prayers are not answered. Next Kitchen God Day: Feb. 6, 2010.
By Martha Ann Overland