Hung Yen Cog-rake Cake
Van Giang – Phung Cong has a typical dish, a country present that everyone who has tried must praise strongly: rice cake. Rice cake which is also called cog-rake (răng bừa) cake is made from glutinous rice.
From Hanoi going about 15km along Red River dyke, passing Bat Trang village, people will reach Van Giang town of Hung Yen province that is anciently Khoai Chau palace.
Van Giang – Phung Cong has a typical dish, a country present that everyone who has tried must praise strongly: rice cake. Rice cake which is also called cog-rake (răng bừa) cake is made from glutinous rice. The rice for making cake is chosen very carefully. After finishing rice selection, people grind rice to generate powder which must be wet in order to be smooth and soft.
The powder is put in the pot, stirred to become 50% cooked then processed in the machine to be puree so that the powder is solid, soft and also tough. The powder making part decides the quality of the cake so it contains enthusiasm and secret of Van Giang rice cake making career.
Van Giang rice cake is wrapped by Phrynuim leaf. Phrynuim leaf should be small, washed clearly then dried. After being wrapped, the cake is a little bit bigger than two fingers, looks small and cute. The cake filling is made from pork chopped with black fungus, onion.
Wrapped cake is fresh one and must be steamed like sticky rice or boiled in order to be served. Because the cake is small and long like the cog of the rake, people call it cog-rake cake to differentiate with rice cakes of other regions.
Previously, when there are many jute trees, banana trees planted in the coast field of Red River, people usually bind the cake with jute string or string made from striped dry banana leaf. However, nowadays they use plastic string for faster and more convenient work.
When being uncovered, Van Giang cog-rake cake is dry, doesn’t stick to hands. The cake can be served with chili sauce, fish sauce or soy sauce… depending on each person’s favor. The smooth green of cake looks like the color of young rice trees in country’s crops.
When have a bite, people will feel the cake crispy but tough that is the special feature of cog-rake cake which other kinds of rice cake can’t have. The cake is good-smelling of new rice, good-smelling of onion, sweet of pork, crispy of black fungus. The taste spreads very fast, just after some bites, the cake is finished. This creates craving feeling that makes people have to continue uncovering other ones. People can be full of the cake but never feel satiated with it.
Just after one time trying cog-rake cake, people will find it unforgettable.
Translated by S.F
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