The Tet holiday is coming. Therefore, there are a million reasons to talk about Tet cake (also known as Don cake), a traditional Vietnamese New Year food, especially in Vietnam’s Central and the South with many variants and different flavours…
If Chung cake is an indispensable dish of the North people to offer ancestors on Tet, Tet cake is a must-have dish in the Central and South on this holiday. It has a similar ingredient and process to Chung cake but different in shape and leaf to wrap. Instead of using dong leaf to wrap like Chung cake, the Southern people wrap Tet cake with banana leaf.
During Tet holiday, family members often gather together and enjoy Tet cake, the central food of the festival to celebrate the new year and the coming of spring. Normally, the women are assigned to make Tet cake. The preparation to make Tet cake must be carried out a few days beforehand. The filling of the cake could be savoury or sweet depending on the taste of each family. On the day of making Tet cake, everyone wakes up early and does their job. The most skilful person will be in charge of processing the filling, others will clean the leave and the others prepare cook to boil the cakes. Many people look forward to this day because it is regarded as the funniest day with the full participation of all members of the family.
The ingredients to make Tet cake commonly include: glutinous, mung bean, pork, salt, pepper. The most popular Tet cake is sweet Tet cake with a filling of banana or vegetation Tet cake filled with black mung bean. Particularly, there is also mixed Tet cake made with salt egg, dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, lotus seed, mung bean, shiitake and ham hock.
The Tet cake is often cooked for at least 6 hours in a boiling pot. The first step to make Tet cake is to collect the ingredients including glutinous rice, mung bean paste and fatty pork. After that, place them onto banana leaves and wrap tightly with strings. To make sure that the leaves will not come apart during cooking, people often tie the cake several times with plastic ribbon.
The Tet cake may be served with sugar or fish sauce depending on the tastes of each person. The Central’s people like to eat Tet cake with dua mon (Pickled Vegetables and Chinese Scallion in Fish Sauce). To change the taste, Vietnamese people usually fry Tet cake to make the crust crispy.