The way Hanoians combine ingredients to make the dish is complicated. They combined familiar ingredients to create a colorful dish which embodies the spirit of Vietnam’s capital city.
Accordingly, the green is taken from manh cong leaves, which are not only tasty but also good for human bones, especially for children and the elderly. The red is taken from baby jackfruit flesh, a rich source of vitamin A, which is essential in maintaining healthy eyesight. The yellow is taken from the dried danh danh seed, which is also a kind of medicinal plant. The black is created by mixing black wood-ear and mushrooms together.
The pork paste is mixed with the prepared colors and steam all the balls until well-cooked. After about 5 hours in the refrigerator, the dish is ready to serve. The dish is not only healthy but also eye-catching with many colorful meat balls arranged artistically in a bowl.
The custom of preparing Tet foods with five colors derives from the Asian belief in the five elements’ water, fire, wood, metal, and earth. So, the five-colored foods represent people’s hope for prosperity, good luck, good health, and happiness in the upcoming year.