This Tet festival is the largest in the state, around 60,000 people are expected to go through the gates over the three days. As I’ve mentioned in a past noodlies Sydney food blog post, Chinese and Vietnamese share the Lunar calendar, so New Year’s Day is on the same day, this year it’s 3rd February.
But the animal for the year is different. 2011 is the year of the rabbit for Chinese but cat for Vietnamese. But I don’t go to Tet festival to argue over animals, I go because you get the greatest variety of delicious Vietnamese food.
Nem nuong: Vietnamese grilled pork is a party favourite because it’s easy to cook and easy to eat. But the version I had today (tipped off by another festival punter) was nem nuong from Nha Trang, from the south-central region of Vietnam.
What’s different? As you can see by the video, it’s the sauce. No runny stuff here, the sauce contains ground sticky rice and pork meat!
Another favourite is goi: Vietnamese salad. This version contains shredded green papaya, Vietnamese mint, prawns and a very, very special ingredient, shredded pigs ears. Watch the video to see what it looks and tastes like!
Something which you won’t get in too many Vietnamese restaurants is bo la lot, beef wrapped around betel leaf. It has a distinctive strong, but not overpowering taste, similar to banana leaf which works very well with the sweetly marinated beef.
We even transform the humble corn. You’re starting to see these at mainstream festivals everywhere, it’s grilled corn, protected by regular brushing of oil and shallots. Yes, who knew shallots and corn would work… actually, who knew you could grill corn?!
And finally to quench that thirst from the hot Sydney summer’s day or acquired from eating too much fish sauce, I’d recommend a glass of sugar cane juice. It’s a pure as you can get – the cane is squeezed and you get the juice, chilled with ice and cut with a little lemon juice.
Tet festival is a hidden gem and I’d encourage you to go one year.. even if it’s to support the Buddhist Scouts by playing housie!
Vietnamese Tet New Year Festival
4-6th February 2011
Entry $7 adults, $3 children
Win in the New Lunar Year
Start your year with good luck by winning a 5kg bag of Royal Umbrella Jasmine Rice, new crop 2011. Email thang[at]noodlies[dot]com and tell me about a favourite family dish or meal. Why is it special?
I also encourage you to also share those memories with us by putting it in the comments section of this post.
The three most creative entry wins. Winning entries will be published on noodlies on 8 January 2011.
Prizes will be sent to addresses in Australia.
A few rules:
– 50 words or less
– Entries close 11pm, 7th January 2011
– Residents of Australia only
– make sure it’s full of love