Scenes: The Art of Eating Bánh Tét

I was instructed by my aunt and great aunt to hang the Bánh Tét until I was ready to eat it to avoid spoilage.
We ate the bánh tét with dua mon (vegetables pickled in nuoc mam and sugar). Fresh bánh tét is like no other—subtle and satisfying. The silky pork fat melted on our tongues.

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!


6 Responses to “Scenes: The Art of Eating Bánh Tét”

  1. 1 Raine February 6, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Banh Tet and Banch Chung are the same right? My dad just bought some for tomorrow night to offer etc..etc… I was so excited when I saw it :3 I love frying it up and eating it with some rice 😀

    Never had fresh Banh Chung/Tet though ):

    Chúc mừng năm mới to you too!

  2. 2 Gastronomer February 6, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Raine – banh tet and banh chung are nearly the same – banh tet’s filling is pure pork fat, while banh chung has fat and a smidge of meat. Back at home, we fried it up too. However, when I asked my great aunt if I should fry up the ones she made, she was appalled!! I guess when it’s fresh, there’s no need to fry.

    I hope you get lots of li xi this year!

  3. 3 Duy February 6, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    I hate you already , Gastronomer . All i had is a banh’ te’t nhân đậu.
    Bánh Tét is a variation of bánh chưng. Long time ago, when vietnamese migrated from the north to the south of Vietnam, in order to keep the bánh chưng for a longer time and make it easy to carry, those peoples invented a new way to wrap the same ingredient of bánh chưng into the shape of bánh tét . Since bánh tét is hard to spoiled than bánh chưng, after that, people began to put more thing inside bánh tét such as banana, mung bean, black bean.
    Bánh Tét is more a southern specialty .

  4. 4 Wandering Chopsticks February 7, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    How does hanging it keep it from spoiling?

    It’s best fried when fresh b/c the inside is still soft and chewy. Both fillings are the same with pork and mung beans. I think your aunt just used a really fatty portion of meat, or just fat, to make hers. Banh tet is preferred by Southerners; banh chung by Northerners. If you google the legend, it says the round and square shapes were how they perceived the heavens and earth way back when.

    Personally, I prefer banh tet b/c the sticky rice tastes better if properly tightly packed. 🙂

  5. 5 Gastronomer February 7, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Wandering – I asked the same question about spoilage and here’s the explanation I received: since the banh tet were recently boiled, there’s still a lot of water in the leaves. If the banh tet sits on the counter for a long period of time, the water will seep into the cake causing it to spoil.

    I think you’re right about frying it up – it makes the cake texturally more interesting and a little added fat is always good in the taste department.

    And sweet fact about the heavens! I love hearing background information about foods!

    And lastly, banh tet is superior. I like lots of rice.

    Happy New Year!

  6. 6 Stratumseind Tijned March 29, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    My first stop was the The Museum of Photographic Arts , located where every other museum in San Diego lives, in Balboa Park. Next to the San Diego Historical Society and above the San Diego Model Railroad Museum , the MoPA is an interesting, if small, museum dedicated to photography. The gift shop features a wide array of photography books, picture frames, gifts, and not one but two photobooths. Side by side near the front entrance, a generic black and gray striped color booth and a beautiful rounded- end…

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