Similar to Christmas, Lunar New Year holiday is a special occasion for Vietnamese that happens only once in a year. There will be family reunion, visiting family graveyards, giving out red envelopes and so much more.
If you want to experience the true color of Vietnam, it must be during Tet holiday. Besides the many beauty of local customs, Lunar New Year in Vietnam are also celebrated with a series of traditional dishes that can be not missed.
If you are curious of what mouth-watering Tet food we celebrate with our family, following me with many specialties below:
Chung cake/Tet cake: The first Tet traditional food to mention during Tet holiday
If you ask to any Vietnamese people, it is fact that the first and also the best traditional Vietnamese New Year food is Chung Cake and Tet cake. Some revealed that Tet cake is a kind of special original of Chung cake.
What the special Chung cake/Tet cake are?
Both seems similar in most of ingredients and the process to make the perfect cakes. First of all, the main ingredient is sticky rice. The stuffing of them usually contains pork, green bean, dried onion, and pepper. Especially, the cakes need to be wrapped tightly and carefully with green banana leaves or dong leaves to make the distinctive taste and color.
How to cook these cakes
The first process is soaking the sticky rice in water overnight. Its goal is to soften the sticky rice and reduce the cooking time. Then, put the sticky rice lying between the leaves and add other ingredients inside it. Boiled for about 10-12 hours and then taken out.
Vietnamese people usually cook Chung cake and Tet cake in 30th, the last day of Lunar New year when all family members gather round Chung pot. Therefore, this is also a wonderful moment you can experience in Vietnam Tet holiday.
How to enjoy it
It is not much difficult, but needs care and skill. First is peeling off the outer, then using bamboo strings to cut into its molds. People often enjoy cakes with pickle or sweet fish sauce with pickle. In addition, making fried cakes also brings a very interesting smell.
The meaning of Chung cake/Tet cake on Tet holiday
Appearing from Hung Emperor, Chung cake has a square shape as it symbolizes the earth. Because of the main ingredient, it also emphasizes the importance of rice and nature in wet rice culture of Vietnam.
Furthermore, the solid cake along with tight ties have shown the solidarity of the members in the family and the cohesion of the whole nation. Not only does it have historical significance, it also symbolizes the image of a mother covering the children. Therefore, both is like a skillful reminder of the parents’ birth in the first day of the year so that each child is more filial to their parents.
Pickled fruits: served dish with Chung cake/Tet cake
Whenever mentions to the pickled fruits, Vietnamese people immediately remember Tet holiday. They are always an unquestionably one of the essential foods during Lunar New Year.
How to make the pickled fruits
With the goal is to ensure quality, instead of buying ready-made jars at the market, people today often choose to make it by their hands.
Firstly, you prepare a full range of different vegetables such as carrots, papaya, small leek and purple onions. After rinsing, you slice in your favorite shape, soak in salt water for about 20 minutes to reduce the pungent odor. And finally, dry them after 20 hours.
More importantly, the ingredient is to make this special dish is cooked-fish sauce.
How to enjoy it
Pickles are often used as a side dish coming along with Chung Cake or Tet cake for reducing its greasiness. The sweetness, sourness and slightly spiciness of pickle will help to improve the flavor of the dishes as well as to help the body digest food easier.
Soaked pork with fish sauce: Delicious dish to treat guests
Besides the choice of pickled fruits served with Chung cake and Tet cake, people also highly recommend Soaked pork with fish sauce. It is not like other familiar meat dishes, this is a special dish of Vietnamese people. It is attracted by the unique flavor that you definitely should not miss.
How to make soaked meat with sauce
This dish is pretty easy to make. Firstly, you tie each piece of bacon with bamboo strings. Then, boil it until it is fully cooked and take it out. Soaking the only bacon in glass bottle with the cooked fish sauce. Waiting for after 2-3 days we can enjoy it.
How to enjoy it
After take it out from glass bottle, just cut slices and taste with Chung cake, Tet cake or rice as well. In addition, some use it as a snack served with drinks to invite guests on Tet holiday is also perfect way.
The meaning of soaked meat with sauce on Tet holiday
Similar to Chung cake, meat wrapped tightly with many bamboo strings around shows the solidarity of the family members and the cohesion of the whole nation. Furthermore, served with sauce, which is nothing luxury, reveals frugal and honest Vietnamese people.
Candied fruits and seeds platter: An always available food in every house
Besides the must-have foods in Tet tray such as melon seeds, sunflower seeds, sweets,… many kinds of Candied fruits and seeds platter also make up a crucial part. There are series of Candied fruits and seeds platter that many Vietnamese families have highly appreciated making in house instead of buying available items. The most popular ones are coconut, carrot, ginger or kumquat.
The meaning of Candied fruits and seeds platter
With a wide range of different colors, displayed on the tray, seems to bring a happy, colorful life for the new year. Furthermore, the sweet flavour fully express the wishes for a year full of love and affection.
The Chinese sausage: Fortune food for a new year
Chinese sausage is originally from China. However, it has been one of the New Year’s delicacies that many Vietnamese families have prepared to treat guests. In particular, it has a very important meaning on Tet holiday.
How to make it
The way is also quite simple, but needs meticulousness and a little time.It is made from lean meat and pureed pork fat mixed with alcohol, sugar and stuffed into dry pig intestines. Then ripen them by natural fermentation.
How to enjoy it
With the Chinese sausage, you can fry or steam as very well. Not only used on Tet holiday, sausages are also served with sticky rice or white rice daily. In the Tet days, you taste Chinese sausage with pickled fruits, Chung cake or Tet cake is a great combination.
The meaning of Chinese sausage
People believe that with the full round shape of the Chinese sausage looks like money that symbolizes prosperity and wealth. Using them on Tet is considered as a welcoming for blessing and fortune in their new year.
Caramelized pork and eggs with coconut juice: Tet Food of the homeland
Although caramelized pork and eggs with coconut juice is a normal everyday dish, Vietnamese people nowadays prioritize it as one of the traditional foods during Lunar New Year.
How to cook this dish
You can be easy to try with this dish. The main ingredients are pork, eggs and coconut juice. Firstly, you do a stewing-process with the marinated pork. Then, adding fried eggs after pork is cooked. Finally, pouring the coconut juice and waiting for about 30 minutes.
You can taste it with rice or Chung cake, Tet cake in Tet holiday as well.
The meaning of this dish on Tet holiday
With bold taste and eye-catching colors, this dish brings warmth and reunion. What is more, the wonderful harmony of materials shows the feeling of family harmony and peace. Therefore, this food has become familiar and enduring with the Vietnamese New Year.
Above are six most popular dishes that you shall encounter when traveling to Vietnam during Tet. Wish you have an interesting experience in Vietnam Tet holiday!
If you wish to enjoy the special Tet food, join our Tet Food Tour with Home Visit to experience a special Tet menu with our super hosts.