Culture Culture

14/12/2021 - 15:09

Hue sweet and aromatic cakes, steamed sticky rice and sweet soups

How delicious, how sweet! How they tug at our heartstrings! That is the feeling of the poet Vo Que in the concluding sentences of the introduction to the publication "The flavor of Hue cakes, steamed sticky rice and sweet soups" by Tran Nguyen Khanh Phong and Vu Thi My Ngoc. The book has just been licensed to be published by Thuan Hoa Publishing House at the end of October 2021.

The publication "The flavor of Hue cakes, steamed sticky rice and sweet soups" by Tran Nguyen Khanh Phong and Vu Thi My Ngoc. Photo: Archive

To have the publication "The flavor of Hue cakes, steamed sticky rice and sweet soups" thick in volume, attractive in content and elegant in form, the young couple (also teachers) Tran Nguyen Khanh Phong - Vu Thi My Ngoc have worked hard together to prepare and taste cakes, jams, steamed sticky rice and sweet soups in their home.

At the same time, they visit famous and popular restaurants in Hue city to enjoy the "flavors and tastes" and learn in detail about ingredients, recipes, processing procedures and presentation of each dish of Hue cakes, jams, steamed sticky rice, sweet soups..., in order to compare, accumulate, and gather the sources of materials to form the work which contains many cultural, historical and humanistic values of Hue's rich cuisine.

As a child of Hue with a heart and a passion for studying Hue history and culture, Tran Nguyen Khanh Phong has always been conscious of researching, collecting, accumulating and preserving the traditional values of his ancestors. In the face of the rapid change of contemporary life, there is a danger of losing many traditional cultural quintessences (in which, the taste from dishes bearing Hue's identity). Thus, his work is helping the young generation of Hue and tourists from all over the world to have the opportunity to understand and feel more clearly a part of Hue's cultural and culinary life and the people of Hue.

In the introduction, the author stated his wish: “‘The flavor of Hue cakes, steamed sticky rice and sweet soups’ is an effort to preserve the old soul of Hue in modern society. In addition, every month, every year, there are numerous occasions of worship, death anniversary, sacrifice rituals... that all use cakes, jams, steamed sticky rice, and sweet soups cooked and arranged on the altar of ancestors by family members. We consider it as a great honor to both preserve Hue traditional family culture and introduce to readers near and far the typical traditional folk culture of Hue.”

With many years of experience and knowledge in folk culture research, the authors have devoted a lot of effort to the publication "The flavor of Hue cakes, steamed sticky rice and sweet soups" in the form of in-depth research and organized in clear chapters, making it easy for readers to learn and access. It take readers from: Natural and social characteristics that form Hue's cakes, jams, steamed sticky rice and sweet soup dishes to exploring and enjoying the flavors of Hue cakes, Hue jams, Hue steamed sticky rice and Hue sweet soups.

In the introduction of "The flavor of Hue cakes, steamed sticky rice and sweet soups", the poet Vo Que emphasized the highlight of the book, which was the authors’ success in helping readers understand Thua Thien Hue's topographical features, from mountains, hills, plains to lagoons and coastal dunes, which have had a positive impact and significant contribution to Hue culinary values.

According to the authors, "all four topographical regions are closely related to each other, merged in the territory of Thua Thien Hue. They have created their own unique features in terms of climate, sloping topography, forming the center region that has the heaviest rainfall and prolonged hot and dry season in the country... From these factors, rich flora and fauna resources have been formed, effectively serving Hue culinary art in general and Hue cakes, jams, steamed sticky rice and Hue sweet soups in particular".

It is thanks to the abundance of raw materials (flowers, tubers, fruits to animals...), through the talented, skillful hands and aesthetic sense of Hue women that these specialties have been processed into unique delicacies, bearing the typical flavor of Hue, "where, from performing arts, fine arts, decoration, cuisine, lifestyle... all exude a distinct character of their own. They are the sophistication, elegance, lightness and depth that are very prominent of Hue".

In addition, the authors delve into the relatively detailed description and analysis of each type of Hue cake, jam, steamed sticky rice, sweet soup according to ingredients, processing methods, and individual flavors of each type (there are about 100 types of cakes, jams, steamed sticky rice, sweet soups from the royal court to the folk life) .... They have high values in terms of both culture, spirituality and health benefits for people according to each season and age, and according to different subjects. Everything seems to be blended, fragrant, and full of flavor in "The flavor of Hue cakes, steamed sticky rice and sweet soups".

With the success of the book, the writer of the foreword affirmed that: “We deeply appreciate the image of cherishing, guiding and exchanging through each dish, through each writing page of the couple Tran Nguyen Khanh Phong - Vu Thi My Ngoc, who together created a work of a lifetime, contributing to enriching Hue's bookcase for future generations".

By NGUYEN DINH DUNG

 

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