5 Vietnamese Foods to Try In Time for Tet

tet_dinner.jpg
Photo by Nguyen Quan
Happy New Year!

It's Tết, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration this week, completely with explosions, tradition and food. Want to be an intermediate-level Tet-food-eater? Here are five foods full of glutinous rice, mung beans, and banana leaves for you to try out.

Is it a little work to eat? Yeah, and it might not be the healthiest thing either, but hey, you probably gave up on being leaner already, and you might as well get some good luck (and red envelops) for your hard work.

5. Bánh chưng (Sticky rice cake with pork and beans, pronounced "banh chuung")

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Being made!

Bánh chưng, the ultimate Tết dish, is a square-shaped rice cake made out of glutinous rice, mung beans, and pork wrapped in banana leaves. The ingredients are soaked and wrapped carefully before being boiled for hours on end, resulting in a rice cake that's soft, moist, stick and wonderful. The preparation's a lot of work, but it's New Years.

To eat bánh chưng, you unwrap the banana leaves the way you would a gift (please, please, please remember to unwrap the banana leaves). From there on out, you can go to town, making your way through all three layers: the rice, the mung beans, and finally, the pork.

4. Xôi gấc (Sticky rice with baby jackfruit, pronounced "soy gahc")

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Lucky!

Xôi gấc is bright red, so obvious you should eat it for good luck. Want a good year? Eat xôi gấc. Want to fall in love with a hottie that's sweet and smart? Eat xôi gấc. Want all forms of good fortune? You should probably eat xôi gấc.

Xôi gấc is a sweet glutinous rice dish made with a fruit similar to jackfruit and appears at every joyful Vietnamese celebration. Tết (only the biggest Vietnamese celebration of them all) is, well, no exception. If sweet, chewy xôi is on the dinner table, you know something good is going on, which is all the more reason to celebrate by stuffing your face.


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15 comments
jamestdinh
jamestdinh

The red coloring used in Xoi Gac traditionally is derived from the fruit of the Momordica cochinchinensis vine, which is related to bitter gourd (not jackfruit, which is a tree). 

Andy Au
Andy Au

I wished I worked for the OC Weekly. It's better than being unemployed.

Andy Au
Andy Au

I recommend everyone to try eating banh tet. The pork in the middle is so ridiculously good!

Andy Au
Andy Au

Unfortunately, the Tet Festival sponsored by the UVSA will be on February 7,8,9 at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. Tickets are $5 at the gate. $4 for children.

Missing Link
Missing Link

I bet there are some idiots at the Oc weekly who wished they were at the Oc Register , just to make a decent pay check.

Melissa Gowen
Melissa Gowen

Missing Link, I don't believe anyone is asking you to...

aneenguyen
aneenguyen

Fried slices of banh chung/banh tet (chung is from the north, tet is from the south-- not to be confused with banh tet choui [banana]) either sprinkled with sugar or eaten with dua mon (pickled carrots & daikon radish with sweet fish sauce) is amazing!

TylerDurden1
TylerDurden1

Fry the Bánh tet and dip it in some soy sauce/shiracha.  good shit.

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