Vietnam and Hue have many delicious and famous leaf cakes. Interestingly, you may only find this delicate wrapped cake in Huong Can village, a traditional cake-making craft village, located about 8km north of Hue, on the banks of the Bo River. The villagers make use of local sourced rural ingredients, and cleverly process and wrap with in dong leaves. It offers a well-kept sweet, flavourful, and fresh taste.
How to make Huong Can wrapped cake?
Time needed: 1 hour
- Step 1: Prepare the rice dough
Mix two types of flour, rice, and tapioca, in a ratio of 10:1 to ensure that the cake is soft, crispy, and chewy. Add water to mix the flour, a little cooking oil, salt. Then, put the mixture on the stove and stir until it feels heavy. The dough becomes condensed and flexible like porridge, then take it down and knead until the dough is thick and shiny.
- Step 2: Prepare the filling
The filling of the cake consists of chopped shrimp. It is better to use freshwater shrimp that lives naturally in the Bo and Huong rivers. They bring for a sweet and fragrant taste. Pork is also the nape meat, rich in fat but crispy and fatty. After taking off shrimp shell, and treating the meat, we cook them then pound. Season with spices, pepper, salt, sugar, shallots to our taste.
- Step 3: Prepare “dong” leaves
The cake is wrapped with dong leaves. The leaves help to add extra fragrance to the cake and make beautiful shape. Dong leaves can be cut from the garden, washed, and dried. The age-old secret suggested to tie leaves at the pillars of the house to drain and straighten. Cut leaves neatly, just enough to wrap a long, beautiful cake.
- Step 4: Wrap the cake and steam it
Wrapping cake requires finesse and meticulousness. Each leaf wraps nicely a cake, with just the right amount of flour and filling, so as not to reduce appetite. Usually, one kilogram of flour will make 150 cakes.
After wrapping the cake, it is placed in a steamer and steamed for 15 minutes. Looking at the green cake on the bamboo tray, with the sweet and fragrant smoke spreading, it is hard for you to hold back.
Savour Huong Can wrapped cake
Hue gourmets will often like to dip the cake delicately with pure fish sauce from Thuan An sea, with a few slices of Tien Non chili. Shredded chili will be more fragrant and spicier. If you like, you can serve it with boiled pork. However, the filling and dough are already seasoned. Thus, if you want to enjoy the sweet taste of the cake, just eat it when it’s hot.
Where to buy and eat Huong Can wrapped cake?
Unlike Bánh Lọc Huế stuffed tapioca dumplings, Bánh Nậm Huế flat steamed rice dumplings, Huong Can wrapped cake is not common in restaurants in Hue. Only a few big hotels and specialty restaurants have this type of cake on menu. Nevertheless, you can also enjoy it at some village, temple ceremonies, or at Hue local family whose acquaintance from Huong Can village.
Fortunately, Huong Can village is only 8km north of Hue. Slow Travel Hue can accompany you to Huong Can rural market, to enjoy breakfast with cakes and rustic specialties. Or better yet, go to the house of a cake maker artisan, listen to “grandma” stories while take a hands-on experience in making cake and enjoy the delicacy that just come out of the oven. Isn’t that an interesting foodie tour? Keep your belly empty and cycle with us to Huong Can right away! If not now, then when?