Banh Tet made by people is Chuon village are wrapped according to the request of customers from far away
The days near Tet of the Year of Cat 2023 is the time that Mr. Ho Anh Duc’s family (hamlet 17, An Truyen village, so-called Chuon village, Phu An Commune, Phu Vang District) is busy making traditional Tet cakes to meet the orders from Ho Chi Minh City in time.
Over hundreds of years, Chuon village has been well-known in Hue for the tradition of making banh Tet. However, taking banh Tet to the Southern region and “charming” the consumers there with it is not a simple thing.
“Getting banh Tet lang Chuon as a reputation to identify the area is one thing, but having the cake’s taste to meet the demand of consumers everywhere is not simple,” Mr. Duc Anh shared; and he said that his family had over 20 years of experience in making banh Tet, banh Chung to serve customers at Tet.
In the past years, his family and relatives with a total of about 10 people had a chance to fly to Ho Chi Minh city to make banh Tet, then came back home on the evening of the 30th December of Lunar Calendar under the flight ticket sponsorship of an owner from Chuon village but living in Ho Chi Minh City.
As for last year, due to the impact of the pandemic leading to travel restrictions, his family decided to make the cakes in Hue to the contracts, then delivered to Ho Chi Minh City. This year is pretty much the same.
“All ingredients to make banh Tet are from Hue, while the taste is adjusted to the request to suit the taste of consumer there”, shared Mr. Duc Anh.
According to Mr. Duc Anh, while people here often eat banh Tet with pickled veggies, people in southern cities don’t do the same. Therefore, the step of flavoring the sticky rice and the stuffing has to be more highly-seasoned. The stuffing is also not too much and it has to be carefully weighted to harmonize with the sticky rice. “As for the pork, it has to be the pork belly from the pigs raised 6 months before being slaughtered,” shared Mr. Duc Anh.
The finished banh Tet has to keep the traditional quality. Banh Tet is wrapped by banana leaves and banh Chung is covered by Dong leaves, all tied by bamboo strings. After a night of cooking, the makers take it from the pot then soak in cold water, let it dry, and airtight vacuum comes as the last step.
Previously, over 10 people in Mr. Duc Anh family have to prepare a lot of related stages from cleaning the leaves, washing the sticky rice, making stuffing, and staying up all night to watch the fire, etc.
While tying banh Tet, Mr. Ho Van Si (Duc Anh’s uncle” - an over 60-year-old man with over 40 years of experience in making banh Tet couldn’t help controlling his pride. He said that for over 10 years, people often buy flight tickets for him to come to Ho Chi Minh City to make banh Tet, then come back home on the 30th day of Tet with a wallet full of money.
“Consumers there are still in love with banh Tet Chuon village while there are thousands of kinds of cakes sold in that city. It’s so strange! The cake must be 100% perfect no matter where it was made. You have to make a cake that is both delicious and beautiful because it represents your brand name,” shared Mr. Si.
According to the specific standard, banh Tet, after taken out from the pot, then going through the vacuum machine, weights from 1.6 to 1.8 kg, banh Chung is from 1.3 to 1.5 kg. The price is from 150.000 VND to 170.000 VND for a batch of banh Tet, banh Chung.
As for this year, Mr. Duc Anh said that he received an order of making 1.000 batches of both banh Chung, banh Tet. The cooking process started from 16th December of the Lunar Calendar. “The last order to be delivered is on 27th December of the Lunar Calendar”.
Following are some photos taken by Thua Thien Hue Online:
According to the customers’ request, banh Tet Chuon village still keeps the traditional taste but adjusted in flavors to meet the demand of the table companions
It takes many steps to reach the final product, in which, choosing, cleaning and arranging the leaves require meticulousness
The stuffing of banh Tet is weighted carefully to harmonize with the amount of sticky rice
To wrap 1.000 batches of banh Tet and banh Chung, Mr. Duc Anh mobilizes over dozen relatives working continuously from December 16 to 27 of Lunar calendar
The cake stuffing is made following customers’ request so that people can feel the delicious taste by their own
Each batch is tied by 8 bamboo strings to create the balance
Banh Tet is wrapped by banana leaves, while banh Chung is wrapped from Dong leaves in a ready-made mold
The cakes are cooked from previous midday to the next morning and cleaned before taking out from the pot
Both banh Chung and banh Tet are soaked in cold water after taking out from the pot
The cake is airtight vacuumed. Thus, its time of being used lasts over one month
The final products of banh Tet and banh Chung are packed and delivered to Ho Chi Minh City to ship to the customers
By Phan Thanh