Boiled Chicken - A Simple yet Unique Taste of Vietnamese food
Chicken in Vietnamese’s life
Boiled chicken - a very popular food in Vietnam, especially during Tet Holiday!
Living in a culture of wet rice civilization, Vietnamese has a deep connection with nature and to them, besides the buffalo, chicken is one of the six most familiar animals (including: chicken, pig, goat, buffalo, and horse).
Chicken was domesticated a long time ago and has occupied an important role in Vietnamese life, we can see it through:
The custom of telling fortune by chicken feet
Vietnamese believe that feet of the chosen cock (the one offered to Gods at New Year Eve) will let them know about the coming year of each generation in the family.
It requires an old and experienced person to read the message from a pair of cock’s feet, but in general, nice yellow feet with clustered claws are good. As according to ancient people’s explanation, “chicken use 3 claws to dig land to find food, 4 claws to fight against enemies. When a chicken clusters its claws, it shows the voluntary dedication”.
Chicken feet which inform good signs will be hung on the kitchen’s roof till the next New Year Eve, in the hope to bring about good luck for the family in the new year.
The Vietnamese perception of chicken
Chicken brings many values such as rich-nutrient food, natural clock (Vietnamese farmers wake up as the chicken starts their dawn song) or in spiritual life, chicken or more precisely cocks symbolize for the divine relationship because they feature for 5 virtues of:
- Knowledge (Văn): cock’ crest looks like ancient civil mandarin’s hat.
- Martial art (Vũ): cock’s spurs and beaks are used as powerful weapons in fighting.
- Bravery (Dũng): cocks protect hens and chicks.
- Care (Nhân): a cock can combine with many hens.
- Prestige (Tín): cock always crows on time, whether it is sunny or rainy.
The above aspects contributes to an indispensable role of the chicken in Vietnamese daily life.
Chicken for Tet
During Tet, boiled castrated cock is essential – it is often considered a symbol of purity and best offering to ancestors.
Cocks using for Tet need to meet the strict demands such as: crests must be bright red, feather is smooth, and legs are small – signs of a strong cock. After being boiled, the cock holding a rose in its beaks will be respectfully displayed on the family’s altar. In some families, people trim a carrot into a flower to replace the rose, whether it is a rose or a trimmed carrot, it shows the Vietnamese’s yin-yang concept, as the flower demonstrates the yin (female).
How to make boiled chicken:
- 1 chicken
- 1 dried lime peels
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ginger
- Wash the chicken with salt and water, let it dry.
- Add 3 liters water, ginger, salt and the chicken into a pot, boil in 30 minute.
- Dust the chicken with chopped lemon leaves.
During Tet, every family in Vietnam prepares a special tray of snack to offer guests, containing a variety candies, biscuits, jam, fruits; and roasted nuts are indispensable components off the tray.
Vietnamese people have a very good habit of saving, which are reflected by the regular meals – rice with a main dishes (meat or fish/shrimp), a vegetable food and a bowl of soup.
To many Hanoian generations, mung bean pudding has become a familiar dish which always presents on the ancestors’ altar at New Year’s Eve.