Discover the Deliciousness of Banh Duc: A Timeless Vietnamese Snack

Hanoi's beloved Banh Duc, a light and delicious flan, has become a national food sensation.

0
313

In the scenic land of S-shape, with Hanoi as its centerpiece, a local delicacy known as Banh Duc, or rice cake, has long held a cherished status as a beloved countryside snack.

A Traditional Snack from the Countryside of Hanoi

 Banh Duc is a countryside snack favored by many people. Photo: Ngoc Ha

In the past, mothers and grandmothers would often bring home slices of banh duc from the market as a special treat for their children. However, banh duc has now evolved to become a popular choice for breakfast, lunch, or even as a snack.

Professionally Crafted Rustic Rice and Peanut Cake

Our rustic cake, made with ordinary white rice and premium peanuts, is meticulously crafted to satisfy even the most discerning diners.

According to some banh duc shop owners, the primary determinant of quality is the selection of top-grade rice. Prior to cooking, the rice is carefully rubbed and thoroughly washed to eliminate any impurities.

The rice undergoes a meticulous preparation process where it is soaked in a solution of clear lime or ash water until the grains reach a crumbly texture when squeezed. Subsequently, it is meticulously cleaned, drained, and finely ground into a powder before being combined with water. Simultaneously, peanuts are soaked for a duration of three to five hours, followed by peeling, rinsing, boiling, scooping, and draining. The cooking step requires the expertise of a seasoned individual with extensive experience in managing heat and evenly stirring the dough.

Here are some invaluable cooking tips shared by Bui Thi Ninh, a seasoned professional with over 30 years of experience as the owner of a renowned Banh Duc shop on Hang Than Street in Hoan Kiem District.

 The original version of Banh Duc. Photo: Nhung Nguyen

One of the crucial and demanding stages in the creation of banh duc, a traditional delicacy, involves meticulously stirring the dough. To ensure a smooth textured cake, it is important to sift the rice flour before adding it to the pot. Maintaining a low heat and continuously stirring throughout the cooking process is essential, allowing for adjustments when necessary. This method guarantees the production of a delectable batch of soft cakes without any risk of burning.

Once the dough is thoroughly cooked, the peanuts are added by the maker who continues to stir until all ingredients are thoroughly blended. Once removed from the the cooker, the mixture is then poured onto a tray and evenly spread while still hot. Upon cooling, the surface of the mixture solidifies and becomes glossy, giving the appearance of being coated in oil. This lustrous shine is derived from the combination of rice and peanut oil, and is accompanied by a delightful aroma.

There are several variations:

The freshly made banh duc can be enjoyed on its own, offering a delightful experience as you savor the rich, buttery flavor of the rice and peanuts. However, the traditional Vietnamese method involves pairing banh duc with fermented soy paste, enhancing the overall taste and creating a unique culinary experience.

The dish of banh duc rieu cua or banh duc with rice field crab soup. Photo: Vinh Quyen

This timeless culinary tradition has been passed down through generations of Hanoians, showcasing both a rustic and refined appeal. Hanoi’s streets are adorned with various vendors offering banh duc, a beloved local delicacy. In particular, banh duc dipped in fermented soy paste is a popular and delightful choice, offering both affordability and deliciousness.

In the context of the market economy, innovative variations of the traditional Vietnamese dish, banh duc, have emerged. These include unique flavors such as shallots and shrimp paste, corn-infused banh duc, and even banh duc made with coconut juice.

Another notable variation is banh duc salad, which is available at a stall on Hang Than Street. This establishment attracts a large number of customers during the summer season due to the dish’s uniquely refreshing flavor. Banh duc salad features shredded banh duc, which has a similar texture to thick noodles, along with blanched bean sprouts and a savory salad dressing.

The key to a delicious banh duc salad lies in the dressing. To create the dressing, we carefully grind and boil roasted peanuts and sesame seeds in bean sprout-blanching water. We then add the perfect amount of sweetness, resulting in a rich, fragrant, and visually appealing milky white dressing.

The dish of salad banh duc. Photo: Esheep Kitchen

The cooked dressing should be allowed to cool, as advised by the shopkeeper. Once the guests are ready to dine, the dressing can be elegantly poured over the cake and bean sprouts.

The tender and flavorful meat is perfectly complemented by the fragrant rice, peanuts, and sesame seeds, as well as the crispy bean sprouts. Furthermore, banh duc salad is traditionally accompanied by a variety of fresh herbs including rice paddy herbs, purple perilla leaves, and shredded banana blossoms.

Quyet, a customer on Hang Be Street in Hoan Kiem District, expresses his frequent visits to this establishment on weekend afternoons. During the winter season, Quyet prefers to indulge in a delicious serving of banh duc, which he enjoys dipping in fermented soy paste or peanut and sesame salt. Conversely, in the summer, when the weather is sunny and hot, Quyet opts for a refreshing and affordable banh duc salad. Such experiences make Hang Be Street a go-to destination for Quyet.

No matter the variation, banh duc always evokes nostalgic memories of a heavenly childhood for Vietnamese diners. This rustic delicacy is an essential must-try for tourists seeking to appreciate the rich flavors of traditional Vietnamese cuisine.

The dish of hot banh duc. Photo: Nguyen Hong Thuy