‘Sweet somethings’ make for a cool summer fest in Vietnam

By Giang Huy, Phong Vinh   June 18, 2018 | 06:54 pm GMT+7

The streets bustle with people shopping for dishes specially made for the summer cleansing festival.

Tet Doan Ngo, celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, is a Vietnamese summer festival that cleanses the body and spirit.

In fact, one of its names translates into “the Pest Killing Festival.”  

While the festival starts at noon, people start preparing for it from early in the morning, making or shopping for special dishes that mark the event.

Rice wine, plums and tro cakes are among the most favored items

On this day, wine, wine rice, glutinous rice, lychee, plum or rambutan are everywhere on Hang Be street and Hom market with a little increase in price. 

On this day, fermented rice, glutinous rice and various types of fruits including lychees, plums and rambutans are sold on street stalls in Hanoi. 

Fermented rice.

Two kinds of fermented rice.

Wine rice is believed to intoxicate the pests inside our body, then the fruits are to kill them. 

The fermented rice is believed to intoxicate the “pests” inside our body and the fruits that follow kill them.  

Fruits and com ruou (a wine rice dessert) are among the most popular food of the festival.

Juicy plums, a summer favorite, are among the fruits that are bought in profusion during this festival. 

Mai An (Ly Thai To street, Hanoi) woke up early today to shop for the festival and prepare to kill the pests.In Saigon, typical festival food dishes are early prepared and seld in Ba Hoa market in Tan Binh District. 

Mai An, resident of Ly Thai To street in Hanoi, has woken up early to shop for the festival and prepare to "kill the pests."

The market is bustling with new food products exclusively supplying for the cleansing festival. 

Many delicacies associated with the cleansing festival appear in the market every early in the morning, like this stall in Ba Hoa Market, Tan Binh District, Saigon.  

Different types of sweet soup are available in the market. Among the bestsellers is che ke (millet sweet soup), including ground green bean and millet. One portion is at VND 8,000 ($0.35).   

Different types of sweet soup are available in the market for this festival. Among the bestsellers is millet sweet soup, made of ground mung beans and millet. One portion sells for VND8,000 ($0.35).   

Hai has been selling green tea leaves in the market since the 90s, but she offers banh u and che troi nuoc (rice ball sweet soup) during the festival. I made the cake and sweet soup myself. I need to wake up earl to buy the ingredients and promtly cook to serve them in time. The dish does not sell that well, but I want to blend in festival atmosphere, said Hai.  

Hai has been selling green tea leaves in the market since the 90s, but she offers sticky rice cakes and sticky rice ball sweet soup for the festival. "I made the cake and sweet soup myself. I need to wake up early to buy the ingredients and cook them, so that I can serve them in time. The dish does not sell that well, but I want to blend in with the festival atmosphere.”  

Different types of sticky rice are also offered in small bags, since this is one common dish used to worship the ancestors. 

Different types of sticky rice are sold in small bags, since this is a common dish used to put on the alters as offerings to the ancestors.  

One indispensable dish in the festival is banh tro, or banh u (a mix of sticky rice and water drained from ashes). The pyramid-shaped cake is available at almost every stall, wrapped in bamboo leaves. Bay, owner of a market stall, said that she started making the cakes three days ago. 

Of all the dishes, the most special and indispensable one for this festival is banh tro, a kind of sticky rice cakes boiled with water drained from ashes of fragrant plants. The pyramid-shaped cake is available at almost every stall, wrapped in bamboo leaves. Bay, owner of a market stall, said that she started making the cakes three days ago.

Meanwhile, in a small alley in District 8 of Sai Gon, 20 families worked days to nights preparing a huge quantity of banh tro for the festival. In a week, each family makes an estimated number of 10,000 cakes.The final banh tro has light yellowish color, sweeting filling and sticky, juicy texture. It is usually served with sugar or molasses.

Meanwhile, in a small alley in District 8 of Sai Gon, 20 families worked through days and nights preparing a huge quantity of the sticky rice cakes for the festival. In a week, each family made around 10,000 cakes. The final cake has a light yellowish color and a sticky, juicy texture. It is usually served with molasses or sugar.

 
 
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