Vietnamese Lunar New Year has significant meaning in the life of Vietnamese people. This is an opportunity to reunite family members, to meet and chat with people who return home after a year living far away. Vietnamese people believe that everything should be prepared well, early, and newly on Tet holiday. And one of the most important activities is preparing traditional food for Tet holiday to worship the ancestors and eat in the first 3 New Year days.
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1. Candied fruits (mut hoa qua)
On Tet holiday, Vietnamese people usually prepare a box of colorful candied fruits at home to offer to ancestors, to give guests, friends and relatives. Especially, candied fruits are also a favorite for children during Tet holiday. The candied fruits are often shown on a round box used only for Tet. It’s a decorated box which is divided into five to seven smaller segments. And each segment store one or two items. Apart from candied fruits, the beautiful box also includes seeds ( pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds), candies, jelly, chocolates or biscuits.
Candied coconut – Traditional food for Tet holiday
In the past, Vietnamese people usually make candied fruits at home. Some traditional candied fruits on Tet holiday are coconut, ginger, carrot, and lotus seed. These days, people are too busy so they tend to buy candied fruit at grocery stores or modern supermarkets. In addition, cake and sweet are slowly replacing candied fruit, but many people still love the taste this unique food – an angle of Vietnamese culture for Tet holiday.
2. Chung cake and Tet cake
Chung cake is an iconic Tet food of Northern Vietnam. Meanwhile, Tet cake represents Southern Vietnam. Interestingly, both Chung cake and Tet cake consist of rice, fatty pork and bean fillings packed neatly inside green banana leaves or dong leaves. Due to the regional difference, the shape is also contrasting. Tet cake is tube-shaped while Chung cake symbolizes the earth.
Chung cake and Tet cake – Traditional food for Tet holiday
For many Vietnamese people, the preparation of this kind of food makes the most memories. It is imperative to prepare it overnight and it is even more important to have a common activity than the flavor itself. Because of the special taste, it is one of the most delicious traditional food for Ted holiday.
3. Boiled chicken (ga luoc)
This is another very famous food for Tet holiday. We are talking about a whole boiled chicken to the color of pale yellow and it is called ga luoc. It is common to eat the chicken after it was placed on an altar to pay homage to the ancestors. After that, the chicken is cut into smaller pieces like the turkey in Western countries. Vietnamese people usually boil it only with water so that it is often eaten with fish sauce, thinly-sliced lime leaves, some lime juice and sometimes a bit of sliced chili as side seasoning.
Boiled chicken – Traditional food for Tet holiday
4. Five-fruit tray (mam ngu qua)
One of the must-have traditional food for Tet holiday is the five-fruit tray called mam ngu qua.The five-fruit tray is a kind of food offering being put on the altar to show aspiration for prosperity as well as gratitude to their ancestors. The option of these five fruits depends on regional difference and family’s preferences.
Five-fruit tray – Traditional food for Tet holiday
In Northern of Vietnam, people usually choose pomelo. banana, mandarin, apple and finger citron. In Southern of Vietnam, some of the aforementioned fruits are not available because of hot weather. Therefore, popular selections are are tropical fruits such as dragon fruit, grape, watermelon, papaya or mango. After many years, the five-fruit tray is becoming an indispensable part of Tet holiday in Vietnam.
5. Vietnamese sausage (gio cha)
Like in several Western countries, the Vietnamese cuisine offers a special sausage called gio cha. It is named sausage because of the similar shapes and it is often cut down to pieces across the length of it for everyone. Similar to Chung cake and Tet cake, it is also packed tightly within green leaves and can last for a month. The only difference is the way to make this sausage. Gio cha is filled with lean meat sauce, fish sauce and finally pepper. Gio cha is not a single food but two instead. Cha is prepared of deep-fried meat while gio is filled with boiled meat.
Vietnamese sausage – Traditional food for Tet holiday
6. Vegetables soup with pork skin (canh bong)
In Vietnam, it is common to eat a soup in every meal. Canh bong is famous traditional food for Tet holiday.This kind of soup includes broccolis, cauliflowers, carrots, mushrooms and peas, added with young shrimps and some meatballs. Especially, the braised meat bones make the broth slightly sweetened. Although the ingredients are plenty, the pork skin can’t be left out of the soup. The flavor is very light. The pork skin gives joy to eaters by how its scabrous surface felt inside the mouth when being chewed. You have to try the dish because of its experience and taste.
Vegetables soup with pork skin – Traditional food for Tet holiday
7. Pickled onion and pickled cabbage
Most food for Tet holiday usually comes in a preservable form. Delicacies such as boiled chicken, Chung cake, Tet cake, Vietnamese sausage jellied meat are typical examples. Nevertheless, eating too much meat often makes people feel satiated. And it’s time for something fresh, sour and low-calorie to play the role of balancing.
Pickled onion – Traditional food for Tet holiday
Pickled onion and pickled cabbage come as the ideal solution. For many Vietnamese families, pickled onion and pickled cabbage have been a cannot-be-missed food for Tet holiday. This can be proved in this following famous traditional couplet about Tet:
Thit mo, dua hanh, cau doi do ( Fatty meat, pickled onions and cabbage, red couplets )
Cay neu, trang phao, banh chung xanh ( Neu tree, firecracker, green Chung cake )
Here is 7 most popular traditional food you can’t miss when visiting Vietnam during Tet holiday. We hope this article will be useful for you. We will come back with more interesting articles about Tet in Vietnam.