19.10.2020, 17:51

Banh bac or the flavor of Giang Xa Village History

Banh bac or the flavor of Giang Xa Village History
The "banh bac", a Vietnamese specialty prepared only by the villagers of Giang Xa (Hoai Duc district in Hanoi).

The banh bac is said to be a specialty that was once offered to King Ly Nam De (503-548). According to the elders of the village, this dish was indeed created at the very time when Ly Nam De was establishing the Van Xuan State, of which he claimed the throne.
" For us, the cake is the symbol of the village. Previously, it expressed our respect and our feeling towards King Ly Nam De and now it reflects the soul and culture of our village ", Shares Do Phu Phu, a craftsman from banh bac over 80 years old. Remembering an elder, he also explains that the cake was once prepared only by the elders of the village but that the latter passed on the recipe years later to their descendants to preserve the traditional values ​​of the ancestors. This cake is now served on important occasions such as village festivals or weddings. This is a great consideration for the guests.
Its name, " Banh bac ", Is particular to Vietnamese people who may be surprised. " It's a perfectly local name. Although it is fried, our ancestors did not call it + banh ran + (fried) but + banh bac + because we first use our hands to fry it. and turn it over on the pan instead of using chopsticks. ", explains the octogenarian.
The craftsman of "banh bac" Do Phu Phu uses his hands to turn the cake on the pan.

Mr. Phu says that to get a batch of banh bac tasty, a craftsman must carefully choose his ingredients, which are nep cai hoa vang (special sticky rice grown in Giang Xa), momordic pulp, green beans, brown sugar, pork fat and banana leaves.
The sticky rice is soaked in lukewarm water for two to three hours before being ground into a powder and then divided into two halves, one used to mix it and color it red with momordic pulp and the other left blank.
A beautiful colorful flower
The most important steps are to knead the powder well so that it becomes soft and then fry it in a cast iron pan. “ To make excellent + bac + banh, I have to use my hands to flip the cake on the pan over medium heat to ensure their original flavor ” Says Mr. Phu.
The last step is to place the red and white cakes in alternate layers, then sprinkle the cake with sugar and green beans, all wrapped in tied banana leaves. It takes a total of five to six hours to bake a batch of cake.
The colorful cakes are packaged in boxes for sale.

" When I was young, my father taught me how to make this cake. I then had to endure the high heat of baking on my hands to fry these cakes. I already thought about giving up this job, but my father encouraged me a lot by saying that I had to do my best to preserve the profession and pass it on to our younger generations ", recalls Mr. Phu, before explaining:" my father said that it is was the pride of our village ".
Also according to the old craftsman, each cake can be cut into 10 pieces. " Each piece looks like a beautiful flower colored with the red of momordic, the white of glutinous rice powder and the yellow of green beans ".
Coming from Hanoi City, Dang Thi That recently bought the cake to give to her future daughter-in-law's family as an engagement gift and said that she was interested in the cake because of its color and its aromas. " Banh bac marries the scent of sticky rice with the sweetness of momordic and the buttery taste of green beans " Said M me That.
Pham Tuan Hai, a former member of the Vietnam Master Chef jury, said that there are no other places in Vietnam with such a cake and the people of Giang Xa should therefore try to keep it.
Text and photos: Thuy Ha-Hoang Ngoc /CVN