1. Banh Chung (Sticky rice cake)
Vietnamese sticky rice cake has been on the list of Tet holiday's dishes for thousand years. It is obviously the most traditional and the most important dish to have in every single meal during Tet. The sticky rice cake is made with sticky rice, pork, and mung beans. It is usually prepared before the holiday and then eat during the holiday.
2. Ga luoc (Boiled chicken)
This is another popular Tet's dish that is easy to prepare. Boiled chicken is basically a whole chicken boiled to the color of pale yellow. The bold chicken is not to be eaten until it has been placed on the altar to pay homage to their ancestors. Afterward, the chicken is cut to smaller parts like the turkey in the Western countries. Because Vietnamese people often simply boil the chicken with only water, it is often eaten with a tiny dish of salt and thinly-sliced lime leaves.
3. Cha lua (Vietnamese sausage)
For Vietnamese people, Tet must have cha lua, one of the most delicious and indispensable during the holiday. Cha lua is made from finely milled meat in a stone mortar, wrapped in banana leaves into a tube shape, and then boiled or steamed.
4. Thit dong (Frozen meat)
This northern dish makes good use of the traditional cold weather during the festival period. Thit dong is a variety of chopped cooked meat which is then frozen outdoors and then served with a pickled onion.
5. Cha gio (Spring rolls)
Spring rolls are usually made with ground pork, mushrooms, and chopped carrots. The filling is wrapped in a sheet of rice paper (banh trang) and deep fried.
6. Mut (Tet jam)
Mut Tet (Tet jam) is not the main dish to serve in a meal during the Tet holiday, but it more like a snack to welcome guest in this special period. Mut is often kept in a box and placed at the table in the living room. Unlike Western jam, which is usually in liquid form and served with bread, Vietnamese jam is mainly in dry form, usually dried fruits and some kind of seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and watermelon seeds).
7. Dua hanh (Pickled onions)
Another common snack that can also be served with meals. It is usually served with banh chung (sticky rice cake). Dua hanh is a small pickled shallot that has been cured with chili, ginger and fish sauce before being stored in rice vinegar.
8. Canh kho qua (Bittermelon soup)
Although it is actually a simple dish, bittermelon soup contains many spiritual elements according to the Vietnamese Southern people intellection. This is a significant dish for spirituality, which the bitter melon is stuffed with diced pork and herbs.
9. Mam ngu qua ( Five-fruit tray)
The five-fruit tray is a must-have on the altar during Tet. The exact selection varies through time, region, and even the house owner’s preference. However, they must be of a different color as the five-fruit tray also plays an important role in decoration for Tet.
In Northern Vietnam, popular choices are orange, banana, pomelo, green apple, pear and the “Buddha’s hand” fruit. Meanwhile, in Southern Vietnam, where some of those fruits are not available due to a hot climate, people often choose watermelon, papaya, mango, pineapple, coconut or dragon fruit.
10. Nom (Vietnamese sweet and sour salad)
A salad that provides a dash of color and texture to a festival meal. This sweet and sour salad can be served with or without meat and is essential on any Tet dinner table. This is a special salad with many different variations: water spinach salad, banana flower salad, kohlrabi salad and so on. But overall, this dish is very simple, easy to make and very popular on Vietnamese New Year holiday.