Lunar New Year is the most important and popular holiday in many East Asian countries. Vietnamese New Year (Tết Nguyên Đán), or Tết for short, translates to “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day”. In Vietnamese, to celebrate Tết is understood as “ăn Tết” or eat Tết which should give you an idea about how important food is on this holiday. Tết and other Lunar New Year celebrations like Chinese New Year take place on the first day of the first lunar month, which this year falls on January 25, 2020. Below, we have highlighted some easy-to-do and delicious recipes as essentials for your holiday festivities. If you’re hosting an international student, ask them to help and cook these great recipes together.
Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls
- ½ cup uncooked rice
- 8 rice wrappers (8.5” diameter)
- 8 large cooked shrimp – peeled, deveined and cut in half.
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh Thai basil
- 3 tbsp chopped, fresh mint leaves
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 lettuce leaves, chopped
- 4 tsp fish sauce
- ¼ cup of water
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- ½ tsp garlic chili sauce
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tsp finely chopped peanuts
- Cook the rice and set aside when ready.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the water for 1 second to soften — Lay wrapper flat. In a row across the center, place 2 cooked shrimp halves, a small handful of rice, basil, mint, cilantro and lettuce, leaving 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end of the lettuce. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, sugar and chili sauce.
- In another small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce and peanuts.
- Serve spring rolls with the fish sauce and hoisin sauce mixtures.
Mứt (Dry Candied Fruits)
Another wildly popular food during Tết is Mứt or candied fruits! These colorful treats can be found in most local markets in Vietnam during the holiday season. And good news, you can find them in most grocery and dry-goods stores near you. Coconut, sweet potato, tamarind, and mango are the most common flavors along with Hạt Bí or roasted pumpkin seeds.
Bánh tét and Bánh chưng (Vietnamese sticky rice cake) are the quintessential food when people think of Tết. These neatly shaped rice cake usually includes sticky rice, seasoned pork, and mung bean, wrapped in the banana leaves. The square shape of Banh Chung represents the Earth and Banh Tet’s cylindrical shape, which represents the Moon. Sticky rice is a staple in many traditional Sino-Vietnamese dishes, check out our sticky rice recipe here.
For more Lunar New Year Recipes and Blogs, click the links below.