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Relish traditional dishes made of clay by young Vietnamese

Monday, February 22, 2021, 17:00 GMT+7
Relish traditional dishes made of clay by young Vietnamese
Nguyen Tan Dat chooses to use clay as the main material to ‘cook’ clay dishes because of its soft and shapable characteristics. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

In a desire to spread messages of love and reunion through traditional cuisine, Nguyen Tan Dat, a young man living in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City came up with a unique idea.

Dat spent more than one month making all dishes that are ‘must-haves’ in a traditional Lunar New Year banquet of the Vietnamese who live in the northern, central, and southern regions.

He chose clay as the main material to ‘cook’ all the dishes.

Under his creative hands, clay material was transformed into banh chung (square sticky rice cake), banh tet (cylindrical sticky rice cake), watermelon, and cooked pork with eggs.

Many other favorites come to life after being shaped and painted by the young man.

Before embarking on the special project, Dat devoted time to getting to know about each region’s cultural distinctions.

He studied each region’s traditional dishes and then chose the most typical ones.

“I try my best to create clay dishes that are as similar to the real ones as possible," Dat said.

“In addition to clay, I opted for other materials like rice powder, wheat flour, and Lai Thieu ceramic plates to make the dishes more familiar and appealing,” he added, referring to a ceramics village in Binh Duong Province, which borders Ho Chi Minh City to the northeast.

The main reason that prompted Dat to make clay dishes is a suggestion from a friend who is living abroad. That friend could not return to Vietnam for the Lunar New Year holiday, which ended last week, because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

So the friend asked Dat to make traditional Vietnamese dishes to help children learn about the motherland’s cuisine, especially traditional dishes for the holiday.

Dat uses a small knife to decorate the peel of a slice of watermelon. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Tan Dat uses a small knife to decorate the peel of a slice of watermelon. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Dat poses besides the traditional dishes that he spent more than one month making them. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Tan Dat poses beside the traditional dishes that he spent more than one month making. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Fermented pork rolls with garlic, chili are displayed in a dish. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Fermented pork rolls with garlic, chilies are displayed in a dish. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A plate of jellied meat, another famous dish of Tet banquet in northern Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A plate of jellied meat, another famous dish for a Lunar New Year banquet in northern Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Chung cake, a dish that cannot be missed in a Tet banquet in northern Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Banh chung, a dish that cannot be missed in a Lunar New Year banquet in northern Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A bowl of rice made of clay. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A bowl of rice made of clay. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A dish of ‘tré’, a specialty from Central Vietnam, is made skillfully of clay. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A dish of tré, a specialty from central Vietnam, is made skillfully of clay. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Braised pork and eggs, an extremely popular dish in southern Vietnam because it can stay fresh and edible for a long time. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Braised pork and eggs, an extremely popular dish in southern Vietnam because it can stay fresh and edible for a long time. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Dat uses a blowtorch to make the skin of a ‘boiled’ chicken made from clay as good as the real. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Tan Dat uses a blowtorch to make the skin of a ‘boiled’ clay chicken as good as the real. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Dat adds color to a shrimp made of clay. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Tan Dat adds color to a clay shrimp. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Dat paints on a slice of ‘banh tet,’ one of the most popular dishes during Tet Holiday in southern Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Tan Dat paints on a slice of banh tet, one of the most popular dishes during the Lunar New Year holiday in southern Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

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Kim Thoa - Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

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