Vietnamese Lunar New Year holiday called ‘Tet’ is the time when family members gather together after a long year of working. My family enjoy spending these precious days off relaxing and cooking together.
There are many traditional foods for Tet holiday. Due to the hectic schedule, we cannot prepare all of them, but we still try to make as many traditional foods as possible.
1) Banh Chung (Vietnamese square sticky rice cake)
Banh chung is Vietnamese square sticky rice cake and becomes one of the most important foods in the Lunar New Year. Banh Chung was invented by prince Lang Lieu in Hung King dynasty and it symbolized the square ground. The rice cake is made of glutinous rice filled with sweet mung beans and seasoned pork bellies. This square sticky rice is wrapped in banana leaves and boiled in a large stockpot of water for 6 to 8 hours.
Normally before the Lunar New Year, we often go to my aunt’s house to boil square sticky rice cakes, but this year we went to my cousin house to make the rice cakes. Therefore, the flavor is a little bit different. There are more mung beans and less pork bellies. Because Banh Chung is made of glutinous rice, we shouldn’t cut it by using the knife. The best way is to use the threads that tie the cake to cut it.
We often eat Banh Chung with pickled pickled shallots and leeks. My mom made a lot of pickles and preserve them in the bottles. The sour-sweet and crunchy flavour of these pickles goes well with Banh Chung or sausages.
3) Gio lua ( Vietnamese pork rolls or ham)
This year, my mom bought a new meat grinder, so we decided to make the Vietnamese ham). The ham is made by boiling the pork paste made of fresh lean pork, fish sauce and sugar. This type of ham is often eaten with Banh Chung, Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette) or Banh Cuon (Steamed rice rolls)
4) Bap bo luoc (Boiled Beef Thigh with Ginger and Lemongrass)
The boiled beef thigh with ginger and lemon grass is one of my favourite foods. The beef thigh is normally very chewy, so to make it tender and flavoursome, we boil it with sliced ginger and chopped lemon grass. Then we slice the beef thigh thinly and dip the beef into the ginger fish sauce .
5) Mut (Fruit jams)
Fruit jams are regarded as a snack to welcome guest in the Lunar New Year. This year, we bought a very beautiful glass box to serve the candies fruits such as dried coconuts, lotus seeds or ginger jams.