1. Red Sticky Rice (Xoi Gac)
The distinctive red color of this dish is very important during the festival as it symbolizes good fortune and happiness. Xoi Gac is made by cooking sticky rice and combining it with baby jackfruit flesh. Authentic xoi gac never uses food coloring. Cooks place jackfruit seeds on top to show that the color is from the fruit.
2. Vegetable Pickles
Pickles play an important role in Vietnamese cuisine. There are many kinds of pickles for Tet Holiday that may be made of onions, carrots, garlic, turnips, etc. For a sound mind in a sound body, make sure you include pickled vegetables such as dua hanh (pickled spring onions), dua chua (pickled mustard cabbage) and dua gia (pickled bean sprouts) in the feasts on the first days of the lunar new year.
3. Braised Pork with Eggs (Thit Kho Trung)
This delicious dish includes pork meat that is marinated and braised. Pork is cut into cubes and soak in garlic, fish sauce, sugar, and coconut water. The eggs are used in this dish because it symbolizes goodness and happiness. Eggs are hard-boiled and peeled. The pork and peeled hard-boiled eggs are cooked in a pot for a few hours, then served with vegetable pickles.
4. Fruits (Mam Ngu Qua)
One of the more significant foods during the Tet festival, although it isn’t one offered to house guests. A tray of five fruits is placed on the altar as a sign of respect and gratitude to the family’s ancestors. An ornamental piece that can be quite elaborate, the fruits vary depending on what region you are in often includes more than five fruits. The most popular combination of fruits is Mang Cau (Soursop), Dua (Coconut), Du Du (Papaya), Xoai (Xai), with their names used as a wish for a prosperous year.
5. Stewed Bitter Melon with Ground Pork (Canh Kho Qua Don Thit)
People in South Vietnam eat Stewed bitter melon with ground pork in Tet Holiday because it’s not only flavorful and healthy but it also has a special meaning. The name of bitter melon in Vietnam is “khổ qua”, which means difficulty passed. Behind the bitter taste is the savory sweetness. Vietnamese people eat bitter melon to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new.
6. Candied Fruits (Mut)
Mut is an indispensable treat during the Lunar New Year Festival. Everyone prepares a box of colorful candied fruits at home to give visitors, a gift to friends and family, and offer to ancestors. A typical guest would much on candy and roasted watermelon seeds and drink a few cups of tea. Children enjoy candied fruits as little snacks.
It is a simple process and the ingredients are all readily available like coconut, sweet potato, kumquat, tamarind, and pineapple. They also have health benefits. For instance, having a few pieces of candied ginger will help digestion, while candied kumquat, which is often eaten with the peel helps relieve sore throats and ease hangovers. The candied lotus seeds are used for relieving stress and getting a good night’s sleep.
7. Roasted Seeds
During Tet, every family in Vietnam prepares a special tray of snacks to offer guests, containing a variety of candies, biscuits, jam, fruits; and roasted nuts are indispensable components of the tray. Ever had roasted melon seeds? They go perfectly with a cup of tea. To eat them, you use your front teeth and dig out the tasty center. It’s a bit of work, but you’re with friends, so there’s no hurry. The most popular kinds of roasted seeds are hat dua (Watermelon seeds), hat bi (Pumpkin seeds), hat huong duong (Sunflower seeds), hat dieu (Cashew nuts), hat de cuoi (Pistachio).