Enjoying jam, tea – a cultural feature during Lunar New Year

Hanoi: Eating a piece of toast with jam and sipping tea is an amazing moment to enjoy the Lunar New Year (Tet) with friends and family. It is no coincidence that people often invite each other to some kinds of jam with a cup of hot tea. After eating a piece of toast with jam, people are eager for the initial bitterness of the tea to reduce its sweetness. Tea drinking is an integral part of Vietnamese culture. A cup of tea is always a great way to start a conversation, and a good pot of tea provides a wonderful way to strengthen family bonds or friendship. Brewing a hot pot of fresh tea and sipping it during the rare leisure time offered by the Lunar New Year holiday brings a feeling of peace and harmony, dissolving the stresses and strains typical to everyday life. Over thousands of years, Vietnamese tradition has refined the art of tea drinking to five key factors: Nhat thuy (first, water), nhi tra (second, tea), tam boi (third, cup), tu am (fourth, pot) and ngu quan anh (fifth, friends or guest]). Witho ut any of them, it is difficult to achieve the perfect exhibition of the art of tea. Jam is one of the quintessence of royal cuisine which was once dedicated to kings and lords. It is also an innovation of Vietnamese people in the way of processing and preserving agricultural products. Light yellow ginger jam, coconut jam, or sweet lotus jam are the dishes that Vietnamese people favour during Tet. Vietnamese believe that ginger jam with a spicy and sweet taste will bring happiness and warmth to the new year. This spicy-sweet jam is made from fresh ginger, so it also has a lot of good qualities to improve one's health. During the cold weather of the Lunar New Year, ginger jam with a spicy taste is indeed a perfect choice that helps to warm the body. Besides the delicious taste, ginger jam is considered good medicine for digestion. It can relieve stomachaches caused by irregular eating and prevent respiratory infections. Coconut jam is another popular dish in Vietnam. In the past, there was only white colour but now makers have mixed it with natural fruits to create eye-catching colours such as green, violet, orange and brown. The red comes from beetroot, while the yellow is taken from the juice of pineapple or passion fruit. Coffee gives the jam a brown color, while pandan leaves can give it a light green colour. Coconut jam is quite easy to make, so everyone can make it at home. Vietnamese people believe the lotus seed jam symbolises a family reunion. To make a delicious lotus jam dish and meet the requirements of the finished product, it takes a lot of time from the selection, preliminary processing, and final preparation. The delicious jam has moderate sweetness, when eating. Lotus seeds help reduce stress and assist people to fall asleep with ease. Peanuts are also a favourite snack for many people. They are also known as "longevity seeds" because they contain many nutrients that are good for health. Yellow kumquats, which are always laden with fruits, believed to symbolise prosperity and fortune, are als o processed into a delicious jam. In the cold weather, using kumquat jam with hot tea can keep the body warm, stimulate digestion and avoid coughs. It's obviously that jam is sweet as it's cooked with a lot of sugar, yet still, it retains the taste of the original fruit. Enjoying it with a cup of hot tea is a fantastic way to enjoy the Tet holiday./. Source: Vietnam News Agency

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