At Tet, each ethnic group has its own culinary specialties that reflect the culture of their people. Most Kinh (Vietnamese ethnic majority) people start preparations a month before the festival.

Many people usually cook nine dishes: banh chung (square sticky rice cake), dua hanh (pickled onions), gio nac (boiled lean pork sausage) and gio thu (boiled pork head sausage), thit dong (frozen meat), nem ran (spring rolls), canh mang ( bamboo shoot soup), canh bóng thả (dried pig skin soup), boiled chicken, and chè kho (sweet green bean paste).

Of all the dishes, banh chung is the soul of Tet, reflecting the quintessence of heaven and earth through the skilled hands of humans. My mother had to invest much time and effort to make the cakes. She had to choose the most fragrant and fibrous sticky rice to make a cake that can last for a month. They often had pork, green beans, dried onions and pepper in the centre.

I remember my mother wrapping the cake like a professional. In two hours, she would wrap 30 big square cakes (1.5kg each), which she asked us to line them up in a big pan for almost 14 hours. “Your mother’s banh chung are the most tasty and they are much bigger than others,” said one of my neighbours.
ancestors get first taste of tet hinh 0
The cakes are often eaten with dưa hành (pickled onion) because its sour and light peppery flavour helps digestion. Meanwhile, gio nac and gio thu have remained on the offering food tray at Tet from the past to the present.

Culinary expert Nguyen Anh Tuyet said for Vietnamese, a plate of these foods had played an important role in turning traditional offerings into delicacies.

Thit dong (frozen meat) of pork or chicken is a particular Tet dish for northerners.

Tuyet said the dish was easy to cook. Ingredients included bacon or chicken plus 0.2kg of pig skin. All are cut into small rectangles (two fingers) then stewed slowly for an hour and then let cool before putting in a fridge.

“In the past, few people had a fridge, so I often put a pot of thit dong on the ground outside for the night during the winter. The cold froze the food, which was served with pickled onions,” said Tuyet. "One never forgets its taste."
From english.vov.vn
14/02/2018 07:35 GMT+7
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Từ khóa: Tet,  Lunar New Year,  Thit dong,  canh mang
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