Update: 19:35 | 16/01/2022
The central province of Binh Dinh is famed for its spectacular landscapes and unique delicacies that can't be found elsewhere. ‘Banh hong’ (pink cake) is one such dish and the dessert is made from the local sticky rice genre named ‘ngu’, which is fragrant and soft.
Though the cake has a simple and rough appearance, it symbolises happiness. Locals have a saying: “When you invite me to have pink cake, it means you are about to get married."
Pink cake: A sweet treat from Vietnam's coconut capital.
Like ‘com’ cake (a dessert made from young rice and stuffed with minced beans) – a delicacy of Hanoi, which is used in engagement ceremonies and weddings, Binh Dinh people use pink cake as the gifts from the groom to the bride’s family on such occasions.
When eating the cake, one will feel the soft and fragrant taste of the rice combining with the crispy coconut strings inside and the gentle sweet taste of sugar.
Tam Quan Ward in Hoai Nhon Town of Binh Dinh, which hosts the most coconut trees in the central region, produces the best pink cake in the province.
To make the cake soft and have a good smell, good sticky rice should be chosen, then soaked in water and minced. Then the powder is made into small pieces, which are boiled in water. The powder piece should be cooked properly for the next stage.
In the meantime, sugar is heated till it melts into a paste in another saucepan. The rice powder quickly mixes with the well-cooked powder into the melted sugar.
Experienced cake makers know how to control the heat so that the powder mixture doesn't burn or get too thick.
When the mixture is well cooked, the cake maker pours the powder mixture onto a tray cover with some dry sticky rice powder.
Some flaked coconut and milk is added in the mixture to add more flavour. People can also dye the mixture into with some minced leaves of the pineapple plant.
The soft pink cake, which is often made 3-4cm thick, is often put on a big tray. When a guest visits, the host will cut the cake into small pieces.
The cake is often enjoyed with hot tea. Gentle sweet and fragrance of sticky rice, coconut and milk will mingle well with the scent of tea.