What to eat on the Tet holiday in Vietnam?
The coming Tet festival is when family members gather, talk, and enjoy delicious Vietnamese food.
If you live 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 Vietnamese food for Tet that you definitely should try during the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.
1. Banh Chung (Vietnamese Square Sticky rice cake)
Bánh Chưng has a long history in Vietnamese culinary culture and is an important food for the 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.
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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 bananas, red beans, and green beans as the fillings. They’re great choices if you’re vegetarian.
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.
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.
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.
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 bright red dish, showing the luck and goodness that will come.
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, sprinkled with a bit of fragrant pepper powder. We often eat it with sticky rice cakes.
8. Mut (Candied Fruits)
If you visit any Vietnamese family during the 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).
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 worth it.
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.
The fruit selection varies depending on the house owner’s preference and region.
In the North, popular choices are Orange, Banana, Pomelo, Apple, and Pear. Meanwhile, people often choose Soursop, Coconut, Papaya, Mango, Dragon fruit in the South.