Phung Cong Rice Cake
Phung Cong commune (Van Giang district) is not only famous for its blooming and fragrant flower gardens, but also is known for making traditional rice cakes (also called “bánh răng bừa” in Vietnamese as the cake is shaped like harrow teeth).
Phung Cong rice cakes are made from simple ingredients with Northern countryside’s taste such as: Phrynium leave, rice, pork, ear fungus, mushroom. It is simple looking at the cakes, but the cake makers must be meticulous in each stage select ingredients in order to have a delicious cake with a beautiful form, the unbearable and fat taste of the cake, creating its own flavor, and characteristic of Phung Cong rice cake.
The rice to make cakes must be aromatic tám xoan or tám thơm variety grown in Hai Hau (Nam Định Province). Rice is soaked with pure limewater and then grinded. The powder with water the mixture is poured into a huge pot and heated with light fire and stirring constantly for about 45 - 50 minutes to become condensed so that it can be flexible and tough. In order to make the cake look good, when wrapping leaves, the makers must skillfully choose the soft, touch and not crunchy phrynium leave, when the cakes are green, pervaded with the scent of the countryside.
Le Thi Hien's family at Ben village have a tradition of making cakes from many generations, she said: “Each day my family makes about 2.5 thousand cakes, meeting the demands of customers orders including wholesale and retail. In order to ensure a sufficient cakes delivered to customers in the early time, without affecting the quality of cakes, my family often hired 2 more cake wrappers. In addition to the guests ordering cakes used in conferences and weddings, my family's patrons also introduced their friends to put the cakes to Korea, Japan, Laos ... as gifts. Our annual income from making cake is about VND 400 million.
Currently, because there are many job choices, there are only about 40 households in the commune still maintaining the traditional making rice cake.” Households still stick with this job had invested in machines for grinding rice and meat to improve the quality and quantity of products as well as reducing labor force and product costs.
In order to preserve the traditional jobs, the households are aware of ensuring food hygiene and safety in processing period as well as hygiene around the cake making area. In order to ensure the source of cake ingredients, the producing households are actively importing dry ingredients such as: Rice, ear fungus, mushroom in prestigious and reliable addresses.
With the aim of contributing to promoting Phung Cong products, in the annual traditional festivals, the commune organizes competitions to make rice cakes among associations and villages in the commune.
Recently, the commune Women's Union established a safe food production, trading and processing club with 50 members, including cake producing and trading households in the commune. Thereby, it contributes to propaganda and raise awareness in business, safe food processing in the commune in general and trading and producing rice cakes in particular.
Mr. Do Van Dung, Chairman of People's Committee of Phung Cong commune said: “In order to support households producing rice cake to bring various kinds of machines to serve production, every year, the commune cooperates with the electricity company to upgrade the commune's electricity network; New construction, upgrading and expansion of rural roads to facilitate ingredients transportation and exchange cakes. At the same time, the commune regularly propagates and reminds production households to pay attention to food hygiene and safety while processing cakes so that Phung Cong rice cakes are trusted by many customers.”
By Hoa Phuong