Sticky Rice Cake

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"Chung" cake (Sticky Rice Cake) is not only a traditional dish of Vietnamese but also an indispensable food for Vietnamese Tet holiday (Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival). The taste of "Chung" cake has become the taste of Tet holiday in Vietnam.

Legend has it that King Hung VI chose the next king by asking each of his princes to offer him a dish and he would give the throne to the son who could satisfy him. The 18th prince named Lang Lieu offered the King with “chung” cake and “day” cake. Lang Lieu explained to King Hung that “chung” cake has the shape of square and symbolizes the Earth; “day” cake has the shape of circle and represents the Sky. Both cakes are made from rice, which is the major agricultural product in Vietnam, with green bean paste inside. This arrangement refers to close relationship between parents and children. Impressed by those cakes, King Hung VI decided to declare Lang Lieu as the next King of Van Lang (the former Vietnam in 7th century BC). Since then, “chung” cake and “day” cake have become traditional dishes of Vietnam.

The main ingredients to make “chung” cake involves glutinous rice, green bean, fatty pork, black pepper and salt. First, glutinous rice and green bean are dipped in water till expanded. Fatty pork is mixed with black pepper. Vietnamese use “dong” leaves (Phrynium placentarium) to wrap them all inside. “Chung” cake then will be bolt in a large pot for about 10 hours or more. Process of making “chung” cake is time-consuming and quite difficult. However, Vietnamese people don’t mind about them because in their concept, this is good chance for all family to gather and make it together.

“Chung” cake is used as an offering on ancestral altar as well as the main dish on Tet holiday. “Chung” cake is usually served as separated pieces with onion pickles.

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