I think if you click to read this article, you might be a food lover as same as me.
As I discussed in the article, How Much Do You Know About Lunar New Year?, at Tet, people cook abundance of traditional food. That is why after Tet, most people are getting fat, include me.
Therefore, I am so excited to write about Special Tet Food. Literally, there are many traditional food during Tet holiday, so I decided to introduce you the five dishes that I like and explain the reasons why I prefer those dishes or not.
1. Thit Kho Mang
(Stewed dried bamboo shoot and pork with caramel)
Thit Kho Mang is made of dried bamboo shoot, black pepper, garlic, sugar, salt, sodium glutamate, five-spice powder, caramel and pork. To meet the distinct taste, instead of using the fish sauce, I see that my mother and many people prefer using the sodium and salt. Therefore, If you are allergic with fish, you can feel free to enjoy this dish.
You can enjoy Thit Kho Mang with hot rice or roll bamboo shoot and pork in rice paper. Personally, I prefer rolling the bamboo shoot and pork in rice paper because the combination between the crunchy taste of bamboo shoot and the greasy from the pork belly kill me at the first shot. Also, I add some veggie inside the roll to make flavor fresher.
2. Canh Kho Qua
(Bitter Melon Soup)
My second favorite food at Tet is Canh Khổ Qua, which is known as Bitter Melon Soup.
From my own observation, this soup is preferred more by people in the South of Vietnam. Canh Khổ Qua becomes popular at Tet because of the special meaning of the name of bitter melon. Bitter melons in Vietnamese is ‘Kho qua’, which means that the difficulties passed.
Moreover, I love the magic taste of this soup because when you eat Canh Kho Qua, first you will find it bitter; however, after a while, the taste turns out to be the savoury sweetness. Therefore, the Vietnamese believe that eating the soup seems to be saying goodbye to the old and welcome the new. I like this dish not only because of the hidden meaning of the soup, but also the benefits for health, such as decrease blood sugar levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, glowing skin and lustrous hair, and so on.
3. Banh Tet and Banh Chung
( Traditional Sticky Rice Cake)
Banh Chung and Banh Tet are the most popular food at Tet holiday. There is a folk tale which is about the origin of those two cakes has been spreaded out across the country until now. Banh Chung and Banh Tet are made of glutinous rice, mung beans, and pork wrapped in banana leaves. Meanwhile Banh Chung is square-shaped, Banh Tet is cylindrical. Those two kinds of cake taste soft, moist, sticky and delicious. In order to cook a perfectly traditional-standard Banh Chung and Banh Tet, the ingredients have to be soaked and wrapped carefully, and then boiled for hours. There are many ways to eat Banh Chung and Banh Tet. The simplest option is just unwrapping the banana leaves, from there, you can go to the town and make the way through all three layers which are sticky rice, mung beans, and pork.
Besides, many people love frying the cake until it becomes crispy. I have tried the crispy version and it is so delicious. However, because I want to stay in good shape, I prefer the simplest option. I recommend that you should try both ways and find out which one you like the best. I like Banh Chung and Banh Tet because they represent the typical and special atmosphere of Tet. Whenever Tet comes to town, people automatically think about buying a pair of Banh Chung and Banh Tet as a traditional custom.
4. Cha Lua
My final favorite food at Tet is Cha Lua, Vietnamese sausage. Traditional Vietnamese Steamed Pork Roll is made from ground pork, first class fish sauce, and black pepper. All ingredients are mixed until they are completely blended together. Then, the ingredient is wrapped in banana leaves and boiled carefully. To enjoy Cha Lua, you should remember to remove the leave covering the Cha Lua.
There are many creative ways to eat Cha Lua. The basic one is just cutting Cha Lua into pieces and serve them cold. Sometimes, I see my mother stews Cha Lua with fish sauce, which makes this sausage become a little saltier. It is perfect to have stewed Cha Lua with Banh Chung, Banh Tet or maybe hot rice. Cha Lua is on my favorite list not only because it is so delicious and nutritious, but also convenient for me to have it like an extra meal when I have to go many houses to collect the lucky money.
I hope all the food lovers would be pleased with the discussion about special Tet food.
There are more special Tet food that I have not discovered. If you have a chance to try, feel free to try them all.