“Banh Chung” (Chung cake) is a popular and irreplaceable Vietnamese cake during Tet Holidays and the anniversary of King Hung (10th March Lunar). For the Vietnamese, making “Banh Chung” is the perfect way for their ancestors and homeland to show gratitude.
The History of ” Banh Chung”
In the competition to find a new Emperor, Chung cake was invented by the 18th Prince of the Hanging Emperor. According to the legend, round and square cakes were made by Prince Lang Lieu 3,000-4,000 years ago, the round day cake symbolizing the sky and the square Chung cake symbolizing the earth (under the ancient Vietnamese perception), to be offered on Spring’s occasion.
The World is square in the ancient creation, so the shape of Chung cake is square, too, to represent the shape of the Earth. Because of the unique sense and exquisite taste of the cakes he gave, Lang Lieu was chosen as the next Emperor. Since then, in honor of this 18th Prince, in the Lunar New Year, Vietnamese people are always making and getting Chung cake. Chung cake has, so far, become Tet Holiday’s most popular and irreplaceable traditional Vietnamese cuisine. The purpose of this legend is to remind the next generations of both the ancient tradition and the primary Chung cake. Furthermore, the essential role of rice in the culture of water rice is underlined.
How to Make “Banh Chung”?
The method of making Chung cake is time-consuming and involves the contribution of many individuals, in comparison to fast food in modern life. Glutinous rice, pork meat, and green beans wrapped in a square of bamboo leaves are the main ingredients that will give the rice a green color after it is boiled. The sticky rice had to be really strong and had been washed in water the day before. The square form of the rice cake is wrapped, and the wrapping power must not be tight or loose. Then, in about 12 hours, the cake will be boiled with wood. With an initial tasty taste, the Green Chung cake has nutrition and can be preserved for a long time. With vegetable pickles, eating Chung cake will get you an unforgettable taste!
The method of making Chung cake is the chance for families to come together in the traditional idea of Vietnamese people. Sitting around the warm fire, both family members tell each other the stories of the past and are excited for a New Year with best wishes. Today, in some major cities, modern society’s business lifestyle prohibits people from baking the cake, but the custom of worshiping ancestors with Chung cake never changes. It is proof of the devotion and deep gratitude of Vietnam to its ancestors.