Trying the Delicious Ginrong Laya Dish of the Cham People

During festive occasions, the Cham people enjoy the flavorful treat of Ginrong laya (ginger cake), a treasured traditional dish among their culture. This special dessert is often served during their Tet (traditional New Year) celebration.

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Dan Thi Son, an artisan with over 50 years of experience, resides in Phan Hiep commune, Bac Binh district, Binh Thuan province.

“In the Cham language, ginrong means ‘more,’ while laya represents ginger. The cake is shaped like a ginger root and carries a ginger flavor,” she explained.

Photo: Kieu Mai
Photo: Kieu Mai

“Ginrong Laya is a cake commonly found in Cham festivals, particularly Tet Kate. It is a crucial offering to ancestors, symbolizing a happy and prosperous life. During festivals, the Cham people make ginrong laya, attaching them to bamboo sticks and displaying them on a decorated altar with Banh Tet and Banh Gang Tay,” she added.

While making ginrong laya is not challenging, it demands great skill and attention to each step. The main ingredients used by the Cham people include glutinous rice flour, fresh ginger, eggs, sugar, and a dash of yeast. The fragrant and nutritious rice is ground into powder and then dried. The powder is mixed with duck eggs and boiling water to achieve a smooth texture. It is then put in a small mortar and kneaded.

Photo: Noron
Photo: Noron

The baking process showcases the baker’s meticulousness and ingenuity. Ginrong laya is entirely handmade and closely resembles a ginger root. According to Dan Thi Son, “Ginger cake must be made by hand, requiring a skillful and experienced baker. Sometimes, sharp knives or small spoons are used for shaping. Depending on the creativity of each person, the cake can take various forms, depicting the life of the Cham people or resembling fish, coral, and other diverse shapes.”

Photo: Kien Thuc
Photo: Kien Thuc

After molding, the cake is deep-fried in oil. Once golden, it is dipped into sugar water and ginger juice. Finally, each cake is placed on a drying tray to increase its hardness. These treats offer a sweet, crispy, and fragrant taste due to the ginger flavor.

Travelers can also learn about the story of Nai Chrao Cho Pho from the artisans, a tale similar to the story of Hon Vong Phu (The Waiting Rock). It tells the story of a woman patiently waiting for her husband who went off to war. Every day, the wife bakes cakes, tossing them into the water, hoping the fish will carry them to her husband for a sweet reunion.

Photo: Street Food Thao Vy
Photo: Street Food Thao Vy
Charlotte Pho