For the Chinese, it’s the year of the Rabbit, for the Vietnamese it’s the year of the Cat. My dear friend Cat posted an interesting article on her facebook as to why the Vietnamese celebrate the cat versus the rabbit. Apparently it’s a balance thing, two rodents in the zodiac are a faux pas. For a more in depth look at the Cats of 2011 check out viethoroscope. Aside from getting li xi, my favorite Tet tradition is banh chung, a steamed rice cake wrapped in banana leaves and filled with pork and mung beans. As a kid I never cared for the mung beans, as an adult my husband doesn’t either. I feast on the banh chung with cu cieu (pickled leeks) and cha lua (vietnamese pork). This year my mom sent me home with a banh tet (the cylindrical version of banh chung). When you store the banh tet in the fridge the rice hardens and it’s never as good as when it’s fresh, but when you slice it and fry it in a little oil magic happens. The flavor and texture of the crispy exterior and the steamed rice and filling is amazing. Dinner today was banh tet chien, cu cieu, and egg rolls. Wishing you a prosperous new year full of adventure and good food.
***Andrea Nguyen also posted on banh chung chien!!! Visit her post here!
***Back in the day Noodlepie liked himself some banh chung chien too. Visit his post here!
Thank you for including this and for telling others about Vietnam’s rich cultural traditions. 🙂