Meaning of Vietnamese Tray of Mut Tet
Mut is one of the most favorite traditional foods at Vietnamese Tet. Each family must have some kind of Mut to offer ancestors. Mut is considered as the soul of Tet. Most of Mut Tet is sweet and people believe that eating sweet foods will bring them luckiness, happiness and success. Vietnamese people usually serve guests who come to visit the family at Tet. Eating Mut and talking together make feelings between hosts and guests closer. One of the most beautiful moments in Vietnamese life is when they gather, eat Mut with green tea together and talk about everything around the world. Vietnamese people usually arrange Mut in a dedicated tray which is arranged on the family’s altar and table in the living room. Colorful, smelling and delicious tray of Mut is a must at the Tet festival. Vietnamese Tray of Mut Tet is a must at the biggest festival of the country. It contains not only the foods but also the Tet of Vietnamese people.
Kinds of Sweets in Vietnamese Tray of Mut Tet
There is a wide range of Mut Tet but it could be divided into 5 groups: candied fruits (wet dried soursop, preserved tamarind with sugar, hard sugar-preserved coconut), candied vegetable (sugar-preserved ginger, sugar-preserved carrot), custard candies (custard candy with banana and ginger) and seeds (dried watermelon seed, dried pumpkin seed, candied nuts (candy with peanuts, candy with sesame). Just coming to a market in Vietnam at Tet, you will see hundreds of colorful Mut Tet for your choice.
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There are very many kinds of Mut Tet, the most popular ones include:
– Candied Coconut Ribbons: It is a kind of Mut made from the meat of mature brown coconut, sugar and food color made from vegetables. Candied Coconut Ribbon is medium-sweet, chewy and smelling. To make this food, coconut meat is sliced into thin strips. When eating people pick one by one strip, chew slowly, feel to the taste in the mouth. Candied Coconut Ribbon is chosen by many families for Tet because of its great taste, easy recipe and easy to find ingredient – coconut which is grown everywhere around Vietnam, especially Mekong Delta. Coffee, pandan leave, magenta plant, amaranth, carrot… are used to make the coconut ribbon colorful.
– Candied wax gourd is made from zucchini meat and sugar. The wax gourd meat is cut into thick piece and dried under sunlight before being preserved in syrup. The candy is soft, spongy and sweet. It can help to bit the hot during the day at Tet.
– Candied Ginger is a kind of jam made from old ginger and sugar. Like other kinds of Mut Tet, to make Candied Ginger, the cook slices peeled ginger into thin pieces and preserve it in sysup. This hot and sweet candy make the body warm, exciting digestibility as well as treating stomachache. Besides, Candied Ginger has meaning for warmness and happiness.
– Sugar-preserved Tamarind is made from tamarind and sugar. It takes some steps to make the tamarind less sour before preserving it in syrup. Then the sugar-preserved tamarind is dried under the sun for a few days. The taste of Sugar-preserved Tamarind is sweet and sour. I am sure that anybody would love it at first bite. This food has lots of vitamin C and could reduce body heat.
– Sugar-preserved Tomato is made from red tomato and sugar. This chewy food is sour and sweet. The food has lots of vitamin A and good for the brain. Because of having a red color, Sugar-preserved Tomato symbolizes for luckiness at Tet.
– Sugar-preserved kumquat jam which is made from ripe kumquat tastes sweet and sour. It has a yellow color which symbolizes richness. Sugar-preserved Kumquat has an effect on making body warm and improving digestibility.
– Candied Lotus Seed which is made from old lotus seeds and sugar is light sweet. Lotus seeds have an effect on treating some diseases. They have the meaning of reunion in the new year when all members of the Vietnamese family gather.
– Banana candy with peanut and sesame is wet, tender and very smelling. Ingredients to make these foods are bananas, coconut pulp and peanuts which are available everywhere in the countryside in Vietnam.
Besides dozens of kinds of candies, there are some kinds of seeds such as watermelon seeds, sunlight flower seeds and chestnut seeds.
Especially, watermelon seeds couldn’t be missed. The seed crust has a red color – the favorite color at Tet. This food is so addictive that one can eat some handful of watermelon seeds. When eating, people must use their teeth to husk the top of the crust and make funny sounds. The talking between people seems to be endless with a jar of watermelon seeds.
Shapes and materials of Vietnamese Tray of Mut Tet
In the past, Vietnamese Tray of Mut Tet is very simple. It was a round tray with about 5 sections. Poor families used plastic trays, rich families used ceramic trays. Watermelon seeds were usually put in the center of the tray and others are arranged around because dried watermelon seed was the most favorite food in the tray.
In recent, the trays come in different shapes such as round, hexagonal, golden apricot flower shapes and various patterns relating to the Tet. Plastic trays are the most popular thanks to the cheap prices, ease of use, various shapes, colors and patterns. Ceramic and glass trays of Mut Tet is more expensive and elegant.
Being Vietnamese people or foreigners visiting Vietnam at Tet, you shouldn’t miss a big chance to enjoy delicious Mut Tet. Mut is not a food but also something special to everybody that has eaten it. Mut is Tet’s soul and Vietnamese soul!
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