10 Traditional Vietnamese Food For Tet Holiday

What to eat on the Tet holiday in Vietnam

The coming Tet festival is the time when family members gather together, talk, and enjoy delicious Vietnamese food.

If you’re living in Vietnam or would love to experience the Tet holiday, learning the etiquette and traditional dishes is a good idea. 

Here is the list of 10 traditional Tet food that you definitely should try during the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. 

Tet food Vietnam

 

1. Banh Chung (Vietnamese Square Sticky rice cake)

Bánh Chưng has a long history in Vietnamese culinary culture and is an important food for Tet holiday.

This cake represents gratitude to the ancestors, the earth, and the sky. Also, it emphasizes the important role of rice and nature in Vietnamese culture.

The harmonious combination of sticky rice, sweet green beans, mildly spicy pepper, and fatty pork meat has created a remarkable New Year’s taste.

Banh chung

 

2. Banh Tet 

Bánh Tét is quite similar to Banh Chung except for the shape. Although they have the same ingredients, Banh Tet is packed into cylindrical beams. 

There are two types of  Banh Tet: sweet and savory. With the savory type, the filling has traditional beans, fatty pork, salted eggs, and sometimes sausage.

Sweet Banh Tet is popular with banana, red beans, and green beans as the fillings. They’re great choices if you’re vegetarian. 

Banh Tet
I love Banh Tet Chuoi, which has banana as the fillings. 

 

3. Thit Kho Trung (Vietnamese Braised Pork with Eggs)

On Tet Holiday, in addition to Banh Chung and Banh Tet, people often prepare a large pot of braised pork in coconut juice with eggs – Thịt kho trứng. 

The braised pork is soft but not mushy, and the duck eggs are soaked with spices. This dish is not too complicated to make but very delicious, suitable for the bustling atmosphere of New Year’s Day.

Braised pork egg
The aroma of the meat and the steaming hot white rice bowl offers the taste of the new year. 

 

4. Cu Kieu (Pickled Scallion) & Tom Kho (Dried shrimp)

 There are many delicious dishes on the Vietnamese Tet holiday, from delicacy to simple and rustic dishes. One of the simple but essential is Củ Kiệu – pickled scallion head. 

Onions are soaked in sweet and sour sauce and served with Tôm khô (dried shrimp). This side dish offers a crunchy, sweet, and sour taste, suitable to eat with other dishes.

pickle onion

 

5. Ga luoc (Boiled chicken)

Boiled chicken is often served in every celebration in Vietnam, especially on Tet holiday. 

It symbolizes fullness and well-being. Also, it’s simple to make and offers both a sweet and juicy taste. 

boiled chicken

 

6. Xoi gac (Gac sticky rice)

According to Vietnamese culture, red is the color that brings luck. Because of that, the Vietnamese New Year is always filled with brilliant red.

Therefore, people often choose to eat Xôi gấc (Gac sticky rice), a dish that has a bright red color, showing luck and goodness that will come.

xoi gac
Eating chicken and Gac sticky rice is a wish for a full, peaceful and lucky year for the family.

 

7. Cha Lua (pork bologna)

Chả lụa is a simple dish that many Vietnamese families choose on Tet holiday. 

The dish is made from two basic ingredients: pounded lean pork and delicious fish sauce, wrapped in a banana leaf.

Cha Lua is usually sliced horizontally and then into five or six pieces according to the diameter, sprinkled with a little fragrant pepper powder. We often eat it with sticky rice cakes. 

cha lua Tet Vietnam

 

8. Mut (Candied Fruits)

If you visit any Vietnamese family during Tet holiday, you will find a box full of candied fruits and candies. 

Some popular ones are Mứt dừa (coconut), Mứt bí (dry butternut squash), Mứt me (tamarind), Mứt gừng (ginger).

Candied coconut Tet food

 

9. Melon seeds (Hat dua)

Have you tried roasted melon seeds? 

Hạt dưa (Melon seed) is considered a symbol of luck during the Lunar New Year thanks to its beautiful red color. And they go perfectly with a cup of tea!

To eat them, you use your front teeth and try to peel the seeds. It’s a bit of work, but the taste is definitely worth it.

hat dua
I enjoy eating melon seeds when chatting with my family members or while playing cards. 

 

10. Five-fruit tray

The five-fruit tray is a must-have on the ancestral altar during the Vietnamese New Year. It’s an offering to ancestors to express filial piety and wishes for good things. 

Depending on the house owner’s preference and region, the fruit selection varies. 

fruit tray Tet

In the North, popular choices are Orange, Banana, Pomelo, Apple, and Pear. Meanwhile, in the South, people often choose Soursop, Coconut, Papaya, Mango, Dragon fruit.

 

Tips

If you’re looking to learn Vietnamese, check out Vietnameseguide – a free learning resource. 

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