Home Culture and Etiquettes A whole pig for Tet feast season, Vietnam

A whole pig for Tet feast season, Vietnam

Frankly speaking, during tet holiday , a family could hardly eat a whole pig, especially when all meals are made from pork only. However, with the skillful hands of the chef, so many delicious dishes have been presented on the tray that people cannot resist the temptation to pick up their chopsticks

Save money to raise pigs

In Tet holiday, no matter how poor or rich they are, each family always stores pork meat and bunches of pork bones to enjoy Tet food together with their family member and relative as well.

Let me tell you a story about one of my friend. She works in a well-known ward in Da Nang city – Hai Chau ward, which is a densely populated area. The government does not allow raising livestock and poultry in the city to ensure hygiene and healthy living environment for the residents. In order to handle this problem and have enough meat for the Tet holiday, she came up with new ideas – sending money for the relatives in her hometown and asking them to buy and raising pigs for her.
She just has to send a small sum of money every month. Then at the end of the year, everyone (including her, her relative and family’s members) together prepare things before cooking such as boiling water and butchering meat that bring joy to her . The rural area seems to be a good place for raising pig, with large space and abundant supply of vegetables. Therefore, sweet and lean meat that can meet the criteria for Vietnam high quality product.

“Tet holiday is a great chance of relaxing, resting and enjoying the taste of the pork raised in the countryside. Simple as it is and spring comes along with those moments” – she said. Meanwhile, my neighbor – MrThang, who is responsible for ancestor-worship in his hometown, also grabs this chance to ask for help from relatives in raising pigs. Therefore, he has enough meat to offer to his ancestors as the custom of Vietnamese as well as family’s serving during Tet holiday.

“If dishes offered to the ancestor can be presented with big pig’s head, banhchung, banhtet, pickles and various kind of fruits, it would be really satisfied. Our ancestor would be happy to know that we can still serve them a good dish like this in such tough economic time” – Mr Tung – another friend of the author, said jokingly. He also shared that after butchering the meat, we can share it with our relatives as lucky gifts for spring.

Many special dishes from pork meat.

It is impossible for a family to eat one pig during Tet holiday, especially when all dishes are made from pork only. However, as mentioned above, after sharing it with relatives, we can still keep some parts of the pig and make delicious dishes from meat, pork bones
MrToan, who is a good cook, lists many different dishes made from pork. Take ear, nose, cheek and head from pigs for example. We can mix them with peziza to make pig’s head paste. This dish is suitable for friends or relatives who want to enjoy the meal together while talking about apricot blossom and peach blossom flourishing in spring time.

Anyone that prefer the cooking style in Southern Vietnam can simmer the ear, nose and cheeks with coconut milk then serve with fresh vegetable, coriandrum sativum from Tra Que village (Hoi An). They can even make it in a simple way by boiling the aforementioned then serve with Nam Ô fish sauce (Da Nang), together with crushed green and red peppers from ThangBinh

Grilled bacon with pickles – Photographer DieuHien

Boiled bacon – tripe – heart – liver – kidney served with fish sauce– Photographer HuuTra

Stewed pork bones with butternut squash – Photographer DieuHien

Also, dishes from pork chop, bacon on charcoal grill or smoked pig’s trotters served with lá mơ andmắm nêm ( a type of fermented fish sauce) are also considered as “difficult to put down the chopsticks”dishes. Besides, it is ideal to have skewered pork and grilled pork along with pickled vegetable dishes during Tet holiday.
Furthermore, you can combine bread and pork ribs and bones cooked with curry to have a delicious dish. Another option is to stew pork bones with vegetables, papaya, onion and cilantro. To diversify the meal, you can try soup from bitter melon stuffed with minced meat. Mushroom stewed with pig’s trotters, false dog-meat dish, fried pork trotters, boiled-pork preserved in fish sauce and boiled pork rolled with fresh herbs can be a good choice also.

Pork paste cake in Da Nang city – Photographer DieuHien

Smoked pig trotter served with lá mơ and fermented fish sauce – Photographer HuuTra

Grilled meat in bamboo – Photographer DieuHie

Adapted from: “Ngày Tết ăn hết…con heo” of Nguyễn Hữu
Source: Lop Hoc Vui Ve
Translator: Dung Hạnh Hồ