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Tet feast as fast food: new service in Vietnamese cities

By Thi Ha   February 3, 2019 | 04:43 am PT
Tet feast as fast food: new service in Vietnamese cities
Tet feast provided by a supermarket in Hanoi. Photo acquired by VnExpress.
Vietnamese who are too busy to prepare family feasts for Tet can now rely on pros to do it.

It sounds like a counter cultural thing to do, especially during Vietnam's biggest, most important festival of the year, Tet, the Lunar New Year, which is still steeped in tradition.

During the festival, every family, rich or poor, is supposed to throw at least one Tet feast. Traditionally, family members would gather and prepare the food together.

But in the age where the market tries to meet every demand, the service industry is booming and people are more busy, a Tet meal needs not come from the family kitchen.

Le, a resident of Hanoi's Hai Ba Trung District, said that this year, she has decided to free herself from the cooking task.

Instead of preparing two feasts, she has placed orders at a local restaurant for VND1.2-1.8 million ($52-78) per feast that can serve 4-6 people each.

According to restaurants and cooks, the demand for Tet feasts this year has been higher than previous years even when the costs have gone up by 7-10 percent.

Some cooks and restaurants had had to stop receiving orders around one week ahead of Tet, which will begin next Tuesday, February 5.

"I have received almost 100 orders for the feast on the night of the 30th [the last day of the lunar calendar], and orders for Tet days are twice that," said Van, a cook in Hai Ba Trung District.

She said that up to 80 percent of her customers are office workers who have to work close to Tet and thus, have no time or energy to work in the kitchen.

Mai, owner of a breakfast restaurant in the capital city’s Ha Dong District, has closed her restaurant since Wednesday to make Tet meals.

For a meal of 6-8 dishes, she charges customers VND1-1.2 million ($43-52). So far, she has got more than 50 orders.

"I also prepare a certain amount of food during the Tet holiday [which normally lasts for one week] to serve customers who make spontaneous orders," she said.

Even supermarkets have joined the business.

Some supermarkets in Hanoi have offered Tet meals for VND600,000-750,000 ($26-32) each.

Customers only need to make reservation two days in advance.

It looks as though, custom made Tet feasts is fast becoming a new festival tradition.

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