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Friday, July 19, 2024

Making traditional Tet delights

Text & photos by Xuan Vinh

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On the occasion of Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year), communities across the three regions of Vietnam have diligently prepared an array of traditional dishes to honor their ancestors and warmly welcome guests. Among these cherished offerings are a diverse assortment of homemade cakes and jams, including bánh chưng and bánh tét (sticky rice cakes), mung bean cakes, ginger jams, coconut jams, and more. Crafted from locally sourced materials and ingredients, these specialties come in various shapes, colors, and sizes, symbolizing prosperity, peace, and good fortune for the upcoming year.

The art of creating these delectable cakes and jams has evolved into a distinctive cultural hallmark of Vietnam, captivating the hearts and palates of both local residents and international visitors.

Bánh chưng, made from sticky rice, mung beans, and pork, wrapped in banana leaves and secured with string, features all-natural ingredients that offer a delicious treat
An artisan imparts the art of bánh chưng wrapping to visitors at a Tet flea market in Danang
A delighted foreign guest proudly displays a pair of bánh chưng and bánh tét that they have made themselves
Skillful artisans create mouthwatering mung bean cakes
After a preliminary process involving sugar water, mung beans, and flour, each cake is carefully molded into shapes symbolizing prosperity and good luck
Bánh lăn (rolling cake) is a favorite Tet specialty
This cake, consisting of glutinous rice flour, peanuts, ginger, and sugar, is expertly rolled into a cylindrical shape
A foreign guest learns the art of making bánh lăn
Ginger preserves, a Tet specialty from the central region
Ginger jams are made from fresh, cleaned ginger, thinly sliced, and mixed with sugar before simmering on the stove
Teenagers delight in making coconut preserves, another traditional Tet delicacy
An artisan guides children in making bánh thuẩn (a type of plain cake) for Tet
Leading up to Lunar New Year, a Tet flea market is held to showcase traditional Tet food to local and international guests
A foreign family savors coconut preserves crafted at the Tet flea market
As guests learn the art of crafting local food, they are treated to complimentary calligraphy demonstrations

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