Traditional Tet meals in three regions in clay
- on Feb 19, 2021       By: BN
Tet dishes from North to South Vietnam such as banh chung, banh Tet, egg rolls, caramel and egg pork are reproduced in clay in a life-sized representation.
For more than a month, in a room in the Ly Thai To apartment (District 3, Ho Chi Minh City), Mr. Nguyen Tan Dat has been making the traditional Tet dishes of three regions, out of clay.
“I see that the traditional Tet culture is fading lately. Many young people travel during Tet holidays instead of staying with family to cook together and get together. So I cook Tet dishes as a way of preserving traditional customs,” says Dat.
For traditional Northern meals, he chose exceptional dishes such as boiled chicken with lemon leaves, onion, spring rolls, frozen meat, sticky rice and the indispensable banh chung.
Dat must have spent a lot of time to carefully learn the typical dishes of each region. “Boiled chicken is the most important dish in the New Year’s Eve ceremony in the North. Not only Tet, but any feast, you also need chicken,” he said.
To make a chicken offering, it takes him a day to shape, paint and then dry. He has already made many models and animals in clay, so he has experience in shaping and colour matching.
A banh chung is also an essential dish in Tet in the North. Making it out of clay is not difficult, but it takes time to create grains of rice and glue them together.
The central dishes bring many colours such as tré, banh Tet, boiled meat-sour shrimp, egg rolls and boiled chicken.
If the North has the banh chung; the banh Tet is essential in the central and in the South for the Tet holidays.
Tré and Nem chua (fermented beef sausage) are popular dishes in the central, especially in Hue and Da Nang provinces.
Boiled meat, sour shrimp and spring rolls are gathered on a plate.
The dishes made by Dat are almost the same actual size and are placed on porcelain plates to create the most authentic feel.
Along with Southern New Year's cuisine, there are dishes like banh Tet, pork with caramel and egg, stuffed bitter zucchini soup and more.
Caramel pork is the most difficult to prepare compared to other dishes. According to Dat, mixing colours for broth, eggs and meat takes a long time and can be arduous.
A Southern stuffed bitter zucchini soup represents the hope of overcoming the trials of the year, eating this will help ensure the New Year will be very lucky.
In addition to Tet dishes, 25 other noodle dishes such as crab soup, Hanoi pho, Nha Trang fish vermicelli, bun bo Hue are recreated in a vivid way through his trademark clay medium.