As I blog, across Vietnam weighty bundles like the one pictured above are being made and eaten. This is Banh Tet, a traditional bundle of sticky rice, pork fat and soy bean paste squashed into a banana leaf cylinder. These two Banh Tet, arrived strung together with nylon courtesy of my landlady. She makes a tonne of them (well, a lot at least) every year on a wood fire in her garden. We get two every Tet.
This is what it looks like on the inside. The centre is filled with the bean paste. It’s the stickiest, stodgiest lump of lardiness on the Vietnamese menu and Tet would not be Tet without at least one of these. Tet is the Vietnamese new year. This year it will be celebrated on Wednesday 9th February and 2005 is the year of the Rooster – my year – yay. Is that a good thing?? There’s only one way to attack a Banh Tet. Slice it, fry it and serve it with small pickled onions.
Eat it any other way and you’re heading for trouble. One extra noodlepie touch – maybe a bit uncivilised, but here goes – I like to have it served with English Mustard. That gives some real bollocks to a Banh Tet. Head to the theatre in town if you want to see possibly the world’s largest Banh Tet. Now, if they could fashion a frying pan to fit that baby in, I’d be well impressed.