Can Tho specialties

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Unique types of Can Tho’s Tet cakes
Date: 15/10/2023

Bánh tét lá cẩm, a famous specialty of Can Tho city

The renowned Banh tet la cam (cylindrical glutinous rice cake with magenta leaf)

Banh tet la cam in Can Tho City is famous for its unique flavor and colorful beauty. It was created by the Huynh family. Huynh family in Binh Thuy district is well-known for the greatest Cylindrical glutinous rice cake they made from generation to generation. Ms. Huynh Thi Trong created the recipe for Cylindrical glutinous rice cake with magenta leaf which has become famous around the country. One of the highlights of Banh tet la cam is that its crust is purple thanks to magenta leaf juice, and its filling is made from salted duck egg yolk.

The main ingredients of the cake are glutinous rice, coconut cream, mung bean, pork belly, pork fat, salted duck egg yolk, magenta leaves, and banana. To make the crust, soak glutinous rice in magenta leaf juice to make the rice purple, typically tasty and smelling. Then stir-fry the purple glutinous rice with coconut cream, use banana leaves to wrap glutinous rice and filling into a cylindrical roll, and use dry banana bark to tighten, steam, or cook in water for about 5 hours. To serve, cut the cake into circles which look like round flowers with purple petals. There are four popular kinds of fillings of Banh tet la cam: pork and salted duck egg yolk, pork fat, banana, and mung bean. Each has its own taste but all are delicious outstandingly.

Banh tet la cam has a unique flavor and is very different from other kinds of banh tet. If you have a chance to travel to the Mekong Delta, do not miss trying Banh tet la cam. The price of each piece (800gr) is only about 100,000 VND.

Normally, Banh tet la cam should be consumed within 4-5 days, but if vacuum-sealed and refrigerated, it can last up to a month.

Unique Banh tet chum ngay (cylindrical glutinous rice cake with powdered moringa leaves)

Banh tet chum ngay is a specialty that appeals to many gourmets visiting Son islet (Binh Thuy district, the town of Cần Thơ). The ingenuity of the locals lies in the nutritious and delicious cake slices.

The recipe for this traditional cake with medicinal leaf powder is created by Madame Le Thi Be Bay, a young local craftswoman. She succeeded shortly before with the popular banh tet garnished with ginseng.

Son islet is home to many large, fathom-shaped moringa trees, the leaves of which the villagers use for soup or as food coloring. Appreciating these resources, Ms. Be Bay adds moringa leaf powder to the banh tet recipe, on the one hand, to take advantage of the existing natural ingredients, and on the other hand, to enhance this traditional cake.

“Cake making goes through several stages and takes a lot of time. The typical bitter taste of moringa leaves is extracted during the powder-making process. The sticky rice, after being rinsed, is mixed with the moringa powder in a reasonable proportion to obtain a beautiful color. If traditional glutinous rice cakes are cooked in boiled water, banh tet chum ngay must be steamed. This way of cooking helps to retain the flavor and nutrients of the moringa.”, says Ms. Le Thi Be Bay.

Ms. Be Bay says: “We add coconut milk to sticky rice with steamed moringa powder. This mixture will be wrapped in banana leaves before being steamed for about 3 hours. As Moringa is rich in nutrients, it is better to make Banh tet chum ngay with a sweet filling, that is, with bananas or mung beans”. These cakes are therefore appreciated by vegetarians and by those who need to strengthen themselves.

Ms. Le Thi Be Bay says that with Banh tet chum ngay, she wishes to honor local products, promote those of businesses in the Binh Thuy district, and thereby form a union to present the specialties of the region to visitors. This is also the wish of the inhabitants of Con Sơn islet, which is to attract tourists with their ingenuity and simplicity.

Son islet is home to many large, fathom-shaped moringa trees

Banh tet chum ngay is tasty and eye-catching

Banh tet chum ngay cooked has a beautiful green color and gives off a subtle fragrance. There is no longer the bitter taste like in moringa leaf soup. Visitors taste it on-site and buy it as gifts at an affordable price of 100,000 each.

Luxurious Banh tet hong dang sam* (cylindrical glutinous rice cake garnished with ginseng)

* The root of a ginseng-like plant named Codonopsis javanica is a valuable ingredient in folk medicine with diverse biological properties and has been used in treatments for various diseases, including leukemia, inflammation, and hepatitis.

Banh tet hong dang sam or Banh tet garnished with ginseng is another famous creation from Madame Le Thi Be Bay after the success of Banh tet chum ngay.

Madame Le Thi Be Bay with Banh tet chum ngay and Banh tet hong dang sam. Photo: Thuy An

Banh tet hong dang sam demonstrates the creativity of Madame Ban Thi Xieu's family, who is also the mother of Madame Le Thi Be Bay - first prize winner at the 2015 Southern Folk Cake Festival with Vietnamese Husband and Wife cake.

According to Madame Ban Thi Xieu, this cake was first introduced over 20 years ago, with the filling being Korean ginseng. Nowadays, Korean ginseng has been replaced by Vietnamese ginseng, a ginseng-like plant named Codonopsis javanica grown in the mountains and forests of Gia Lai. Codonopsis javanica is an ingredient that is high in nutritional value, helps replenish energy, and is good for health.

The main ingredient to make this unique banh tet is Codonopsis javanica. Photo: Lan Ngoc

Banh tet hong dang sam is just like other types of Banh tet in terms of cooking and wrapping, but it is more unique and luxurious thanks to the filling containing chicken, salted duck egg yolk, and Codonopsis javanica. Banh tet hong dang sam cooked has the beautiful blue color of butterfly pea flower and gives off a subtle fragrance. The taste of Codonopsis javanica is not too strong, mild sweet, and attractive.

The ingredients for Banh tet hong dang sam are not easy to find and the preparation process is meticulous.  Therefore, the price of this dish is not cheap, about 250,000 VND/each, but it is still popular.

In order to purchase Banh Tet Hong Dang Sam, you must place an order in advance. The dish is made twice a week with 50 pieces per batch.

Banh tet hong dang sam is not cheap but still popular because of its unique flavor. Photo: Ai Lam

You can purchase Banh tet hong dang sam at Cantho Farm (79 Vo Van Kiet) or by phone at 0912302575.

Source: - Translated by Hoang Dat







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