The Vietnamese tea culture is also the culture of tea snacks. In Vietnam, they rarely use rich and savoury food with tea, preferring to serve tea together with light snacks and sweetmeats. It’s best to begin acquaintance with these delicacies from learning four Vietnamese words, each of them will help you to attribute a particular tea snack to one of the three main types:
1. Kẹo (candy). If the name of the delicacy contains this word, then its main ingredient is sugar in any form (for example, in the form of caramel). Such delicacies are often quite hard and crunchy. And, of course, they are very sweet.
2. Bánh (pie). This word in the name of the delicacies means that they are made from rice, bean or cereal. They could be of two basic types: one of them is moist, fresh and chewy while the other one can have nutty sandy texture or else be quite hard. Such delicacies are usually less sweet than Kẹo.
3. Mứt (preserved goods). If you see this word in the name of the snack, it means that the delicacy is based on nuts and candied fruit and vegetables. They can also be sweet, but, as a rule, the emphasis is on the natural flavors of the products.
Hạt. This word denotes a special kind of Mứt — seed. Simply seed — sunflower, pumpkin or lotus seed, for example. It is an excellent and quite traditional tea snack.
Of course, nowadays almost all traditional Vietnamese delicacies are available at any time and in any quantity. However, in the past, some of these delicacies were prepared and consumed only special occasions. And the tradition to associate certain delicacies with certain holidays and events is carefully preserved in Vietnam.
For Middle-Moon Festival they serve several kinds of Bánh (mooncake, sticky rice mooncake, Bánh chả) and Mứt Sen. For Tet (Vietnamese New Year), Mứt Bí, Mứt Quất, Mứt Gừng, Mứt Cà Rốt, Hạt Bí, and Hạt Dưa are served. For Pre-Wedding Ceremony — Bánh Cốm, Bánh Phu Thê.
In Hue — which, as you might remember, is the gastronomic capital of Vietnam — has its own special tea snacks. They are: Mứt Sen, Mứt Gừng, Bánh Phu Thê, Kẹo Gừng, Mứt Bí, and many more goodies you better find out directly in the city, and not from the article.
Good hunting for us all!