The delicious types of Banh tet in the Western region of Vietnam on Tet holiday
In the West region of Vietnam, cake is an indispensable traditional dish when the spring days come. This kind of dish has many different types, each with a unique flavor, which can make you eat once and remember forever. Let Whatsup Vietnam help you discover
1. Traditional sweet banh Tet
Banh tet most basic of people's Southern is sweet banh Tet, made from sticky rice, mung beans, sugar, coconut and banana. Every year when the New Year comes, almost every family will make this dish. Normally, the extended families often make and cook a large pot of banh Tet and share it with their relatives. The nuclear families or smaller famili units also often buy banh Tet to worship their ancestors as well as to serve the guests coming to visit them as a way of expressing their adore and gratitude.
The traditional sweet banh Tet are present in most provinces in the Mekong Delta. From old to young people, girls and boys - everyone falls in love with this soft, glutinous rice cake whose filling has a rich sweetness just like the typical character of people here. The reason why they call this sweet pastry is called "Traditional" is because this dish lies in its most popularity. From this type of rice-based cake, people have created many different versions and given birth to many different kinds of banh Tet, serving the needs of eating and gift giving at Tet.
Have a chance to celebrate tet in the Vietnam Western region, you will be enjoyed banh tet from the last days of December in Lunar year. Banh tet is wrapped by banana leaves into a cylindrical shape. Banh tet will be cooked in a large pot of water in about 7-8 hours to make sure it is evenly cooked and soft enough.
A traditional piece of sweet banh tet of the Western people is only really delicious when the glutinous rice is cooked evenly and bears a light green color due to the banana leaves wrapping layer and the filling is evenly shaped. If it's mung bean paste, the fillings will have the typical yellow color of mung beans. If the cake has banana filling, the cake will have the reddish purple color of ripe bananas, which is really beautiful and outstanding.
2. Sticky rice cake from magenta leaves in Can Tho (Banh tet la cam Can Tho)
In Can Tho, the best rice cake was created by the Huynh's family in Binh Thuy District, Can Tho, which is the most well-known dish in this province. This is a family with 3 generations, living on the tradition of making cake for nearly 40 years now. The Huynh's and their descendants used to make traditional banh tet, but once, a family member came up with the idea of making a more unique rice cake by using the rice steeping water from magenta leaves, which creates amazing and attractive color for the dish.
Different from the traditional cake with banana and green bean filling, sticky rice cake from magena leaves Can Tho has 4 different kinds of fillings, including banana, sweet mung bean, fat and mixed salt-cured pork. In particular, the two types of mung bean and banana fillings are also known as vegetarian cakes, while fat cakes and salt-cured pork are non-vegan cakes. The price of each cake varies from 30,000 to 80,000 VND depending on the type.
In order to make a perfect rice cake, the most important part is to select the perfect sticky rice, which consists solely the sticky rice and not any other kind of rice grains in it. The rice is steeped into the water with the magenta leaves to produce a natural magenta color. The finish product is chewy, combining with the sweetness of the pork, and the salt taste of the eggs. Many tourists who came to Can Tho usually come to visit the cake-making place to buy the cake and see with their own eyes the procedure.
3. Lady palm sticky rice cake (Banh Tet mat cat)
Phu Quoc island is not only famous for its seafood but also for a Western banh Tet named Mat Cat. It sounds very strange, but almost every visitor to the island of pearls will buy some of this cake as gifts. And there must be something special, something fascinating which makes this banh tet so especially loved.
Most Western banh tet are wrapped from banana leaves because they are big and easy to shape into a solid round cylinder. However, banh tet of the people in Phu Quoc Island is wrapped by a secret kind of leaves, which is palm leaves, a bit smaller, so it requires people to be skillful and experienced in order to handle.
Like banana leaves, these leaves before wrapped will be cleaned and dried in sun to wither and have particular toughness, not easily torn in the wrapping process. The cake-making person in Phu Quoc said that the hardest part of making this cake was in wrapping the cake.
In addition to the sophisticated wrapping, banh tet Mat Cat is also loved by its distinctive green turquoise crust. This color is completely natural due to the cake in contact with the palm leaves layer when cooked. A piece of cake contains the aromatic scent of pineapple leaves mingling with the aroma emanating from the palm leaves. Not to mention, the filling which is sweet, fresh, greasy, and fragrant also increases the flavor of this Phu Quoc's specialty.
You can buy lady palm cylindrical glutinous rice cake at Duong Dong market, the biggest market in Phu Quoc island.
4. Banh Tet chuoi dau mo (banana bean fat rice cake)
Fatty bean paste cakes, you may have known or heard of before. But the banana bean fat rice cake is not known to all tourists. For Vietnamese westerners, this is a cake combined by saltiness and sweetness, creating a unique and different flavour and taste compared to other kind of banh tet in the western region.
This cake has a crust layer and 3 layers of fillings, including the banana most outside, the green bean in the middle and the innermost fat. The combination of the sweetness of ripe bananas, the fleshy taste of mung bean and the greasy taste of the fat make this Tet cake more special during the New Year season. Compared to other types of cakes, making this three-core-layer rice cake requires much more effort due to having to prepare up to 3 different types of filling.
Basically, how to pack and cook banh tet is not much different from other cakes, also cooking in large pots during 7-8 hours. Nowadays, this dish is very popular in Vung Liem district, Vinh Long province. In some other regions inside and outside the province, there are also this delicious dish. If you have the opportunity to enjoy Vietnamese New Year in the western region, remember to enjoy this special banh tet to truly feel the unique typical flavor of Vietnamese Southern cuisine.
By Quynh Nhi