Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tết specialties

Tết and cakes are two in one. Tết will not be Tết if it goes without cakes on altars or for food. Hanoians have square cakes or bánh chưng with pork and green peas inside. To have good cakes, there needs to be sticky rice, pork, green peas (boiled and pounded) and onion. When wrapped, the right side of the leaves have to be rolled in to make the cakes green. After boiling, cakes are put to be pressed to make cakes square. Normally, square cakes are consumed with sour onion to make it more tasty.

To have good salted onions, housewives pick and choose at least 15 or 20 days before Tết, then wash and put to dry, add a little warm water and not too much salt, then keep in a place neither hot nor wet a few days.

Hội An in Quảng Nam is famous with Tết cakes (kind of cakes made of glutinous rice). The Southern part is reputed with 4 kinds of cakes: tét, tổ, nổ, in. They help to make Tết holidays more happy. Tết cakes are not only for consumption but also used as presents or worship offerings. Well -prepared Tết cakes mean a Happy New Year.

Nổ or explosion cakes are made for Tết. Nổ means fried rice, then pounded and mixed in with sugar and ginger.

Hội An cakes (bánh tổ) are preferred for its tastes. The cakes look much like a bird’s nest, wrapped in dry banana leaves with glutinous rice flour and sugar inside. Bánh nổ is a kind of cake for Tết holidays.

Bánh in or in cakes come from Hội An. In the 17th century, the cakes were made to offer to royal family during New-year days. In cakes are made unwrapped, with best wishes printed outside. The cakes are soft, sweet and favoured by many.

Huế folks like eating tét cakes with salted vegetables. Huế cakes are not square but long and round, wrapped in banana leaves, insides are green peas and fat. Cakes are tired with bamboo strings long and round like meat-pie rolls in the North and normally consumed with salted vegetables.

This kind of vegetable needs careful preparations and made up if carrot, green papaya, pine-apple, chilly, onion and beet. These materials are cut into small pieces, put to dry in sunshine, then washed and put in warm water, add a little salt and sugar and then put away in a week or two. Tết cakes, salted vegetables… are Huế’s traditional food during Tết holidays.

Tết cake specialties in Việt Nam vary in species, it’s a must to have during New-year days and it symbolizes prosperity and happiness.

                                                                 THU HẰNG
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