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City & Culture

Tet tray of Hanoians

Translated by Bing
In the traditional culture of Vietnamese people, on any occasion from wedding to anniversary, people always display a decent tray. But perhaps the New Year's Day tray is more special.

For Hanoians, Tet tray always requires sophistication and sophistication in each dish, showing the culinary quintessence of Ha Thanh land.

Traditionally, the Tet tray must have four pillars of 4 bowls and 4 plates symbolizing the four seasons and four directions. The well-off house can make the tray bigger with 6 bowls of 6 plates or 8 bowls of 8 plates.

Each house is different, but there are dishes that have become an indispensable feature on Tet Day. Hanoians in particular and Northerners in general often celebrate Tet with banh chong, boiled chicken, cooked pork, silk spring rolls, cinnamon rolls, fried spring rolls, ball soup, stir-fried plates, sticky rice, onion melon, ... Each dish will be neatly displayed in small bowls and plates, with the typical blue enamel ancient motif of Bat Trang.

The offering chicken must be a flower rooster. When boiling chicken, boiling water must be boiled, so that the old hot water fills the chicken to help the boiled water not become fishy and cloudy. The pot of chicken boils again, you have to lower the heat to simmer, both boil and skim the foam. The chicken broth is fragrant and in the night cooks a bowl of sweet, soothing ball soup. Finished boiled chicken must retain its golden skin. If left whole, the chicken must tie fairy wings, mouth a crimson velvet rose, if chopped into pieces, it must be very even, arranged on a very plump plate and sprinkled on top of a few strands of sliced lemon leaves. In particular, accompanied by a plate of boiled chicken, it is indispensable for a plate of lemon salt and pepper, which is really full of typical flavors for this dish.

When wrapped, the meat is not arranged vertically, but serrated and rolled into a circle. By doing so, when chopping the cake into 8 pieces, each piece has enough skin, fat, lean parts. After boiling, the cake will be offered to the family first.

Vegetables on New Year's Day at that time were mainly only kohlrabi, carrots, and beans, but the mothers processed them very well. The kohlrabi carrot is divided into different parts, the square place is trimmed or chopped only to make a dummy, the excess distortion is peeled to round to make a bleach leg for the ball bowl or diced to make stir-fried almonds.

The more elaborate the tray of rice offerings, the more it must be used when lowered. If the house has guests, first invite guests to loosen the ball, then the mushroom piece, the tenderloin, then the curd meat plate, silk spring plate, stir-fry plate ,... The plump dishes that fit nicely in small dishes are continued like that until the end in sequence from taste to taste. Thanks to that, guests are both delicious and feel the thoughtfulness and thoughtfulness of the host.

Over time, the traditional Tet tray of Hanoians has had many changes, partly because modern Hanoians update many dishes with new cooking methods, partly because the conditions and taste preferences of each person are different. However, the Vietnamese way of making Tet tray still has in common that is the sincerity to pay respect to the ancestors and the love of family members placed in the reunion rice tray.

Photo: Shutter stock

Image source: Multiple authors
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