Traditional New Year Food in Southern Vietnam

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Tet mat cat
Tet mat cat

Dishes prepared for Tet holiday of Vietnamese Southern people are different from Northern people. Discover what dishes are popular for Tet of Southern Vietnam.

Featured dishes

Every Tet holiday, glutinous rice cake, girdle cake and Vietnamese braised pork are three trademark plates in every Southern home. Southern people think that rice cake is a symbol of a prosperous life. Rice cake of this area is made with purple magenta leaves, which will make the cake more delicious and colorful. Glutinous rice is also carefully chosen, washed before stir-frying with coconut milk and some salt. Magenta leaves are boiled to make the purple broth. Then, the rice is stir-fried with the magenta broth. The cake is stuffed with banana, green bean, meat, fat, pork pie, egg, peanut or mushroom. The cake, when its cut into pieces, has the dark purple of banana, the yellow of green bean, the white of fat, the pink of lean meat and the orange of egg. The flavor of glutinous rice cake is tender and tasty.

Vietnamese simmered meat
Vietnamese simmered meat

Vietnamese braised pork with egg and coconut milk is best cooked by the Southern people. To make the most delicious braised pork, pork belly with both fat and lean meat is cut into small pieces and mixed with garlic and fish sauce. After cooking with coconut milk, boiled eggs are added and cooked until the meat becomes tender. Some people like to dry pork belly in the sun before braising and some others like to braise the meat with scraped coconut meat. Eggs are broken and fried to bring the brittle and tough taste. The meat is tender and mouthwatering. The gravy must be viscid and golden brown. This dish is best served with pickles and rice.

Traditional parties

Another popular dish on Tet holiday is girdle cake roll. White girdle cake is rolled with shrimp, braised pork, grilled fish, sausage and fresh vegetables. This dish is often enjoyed with rice wine – a favorite drink of Southern people. The best girdle cake is made of rice, which is soaked overnight and pounded before cooking.

girdle cake roll
girdle cake roll

Finally, bitter melon broth is also served on Tet as its cool taste is very healthy in the humid Southern weather. Bitter melon, which is stuffed with chopped meat, is the nutritious blend of bitter and sweet flavors. After a delightful holiday party, try some seasonal fruits and jams such as tamarind jam and coconut jam.

Southern people always take special care of their food on Tet with all the respect of their ancestors. Enjoying a warm party with family in first days of New Year is very meaningful. Wetaste the salt, sweet, vinegary, hot and bitter in every dish and contribute to diversify Vietnamese culinary culture.

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