The core dishes for Tet Celebration
A trip to Vietnam during the national New Year holiday – or Tết – will give you a unique experience of the life in Vietnam. Besides the traditional ceremonies and all the preparation, Tet holiday could not be completed without special foods which only appears during this occasion.
It is said that it isn’t Tet without a bite of Banh Chung. Banh Chung is of the most significant foods in the Vietnamese cuisine, which is a quintessential part of Tet. Unlike the tasty food that you could find on the street, the traditional cake of Tet tastes quite plain and looks not so attractive. However, it shows the sophisticated culinary philosophy of Vietnamese cuisine. Banh Chung symbolized the earth, while another type of sticky rice cake which is called banh giay is the symbol of the sky. Wrapped in the banana-like leaves, the cake is colored with the attractive natural green. In the center of the cake are mung beans paste, meat, pepper as well as the onions.
Despite their simple look, the cakes actually acquire a complex and elaborate cooking progress which could last for days and employs many hands to make. The cooking of banh chung, therefore, becomes important works which become a kind of signature ceremony of Tet holiday.
As mentioned above, Banh Giay is the symbol of the sky. The white rounded skin has suggested the reason why it represents the sky. Unlike the “earth cake”, banh giay has no filling. It is purely a piece of plain boiled glutinous powder. It could be eaten with gio lua (Vietnamese pork sausage). The simplicity of banh giay is the scoring point and makes it stand out from other dishes.
Pickled shallot is one of characterized dishes of Tet Holiday. It is used as a side dish which balances with fatty main dishes. The dish has a pungent smell but it is nothing of a challenge considering the earthy and flavor-exploding taste it brings. When you are having the typical protein-packed meal of Tet, a bite of pickled shallot is absolutely a savior for your appetite.
Red sticky rice
The sticky rice is a daily name for Vietnamese people. It serves as a comfortable and great choice for breakfast. However, during the Tet holiday, sticky rice is particularly favored. People might eat sticky rice for full-day meals. As the color is considered as a good luck, the red sticky rice whose color is contributed to the adding of gac is the most popular during the New Year holiday.
Mut is an eminent snack during Tet. It is displayed in literally every house in Vietnam. To make Mut, people preserved fruits – the most favorite are tamarind, ginger, carrot and coconut flesh – in sugar, just like jam. When the fruit has fully absorbed the sweetness, it would be dried in the sun until it becomes crunchy.
Fried spring rolls
Fried spring roll has a very handy and easy to prepare recipes, which makes it a household recipe for any family meeting and ceremony. Foreigners might feel familiar with the raw version of spring rolls. But the truth is the authentic taste of spring rolls could be met only with the fried ones. It is possible that you will become addicted to it from the very first bite.