One of the most traditional special foods for the Lunar New Year (or Tet) is Banh Chung or sticky rice cake. Banh Chung is made of sticky rice, pork meat and green bean, which every ingredient is wrapped inside a special leaf called Dong.
Making Banh Chung requires care and precision in every step. The rice and green bean have to be soaked in water for a day to make it stickier. The pork meat is usually soaked with pepper for several hours. Squaring off and tying the cakes with bamboo strings require skillful hands to make it a perfect square.
Banh Chung is a must among other foods to be placed on the ancestors’ altars during the lunar new year. In the old time, one or two days before Tet, every family prepares and cooks the Banh Chung around the warm fire. It was also the time for parents to tell their children folklore stories.
Nowadays, families which live in villages still maintain making Banh Chung before New Years but the people in the city does not. They don’t have time and prefer to go to the shop to buy it.