The Cold Food Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday commemorated in China as well as the nearby nations of South Korea and Vietnam. It is called Tet Han Thuc in Vietnam and celebrated by Vietnamese people in the Northern region on the third day of the third lunar month. Although this festival’s origin is from a Chinese legend, Vietnamese has created the distinct meaning and celebrate it in their own way. On this day, people always eat cooked and cooledfood as a devout way to mandatory their ancestor.
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With Vietnamese people, Banh troi and Banh chay are mandatory dishes on their ancestor altar at the Cold Food Festival. Many families still keep the custom of making these cakes as a way to show their respect. For those who don’t have time to prepare the offerings, they always choose a trusted place to buy them.
These cakes can be made quickly and easily. The recipe includes mixed flour, duong phen (sugar cane) or green beans. In order to have great cakes, the cook must choose all ingredients carefully. The flour is mixed from Hoa vang sticky rice and rice of certain proportion. This dough is then used to make banh troi and banh chay. The sugar cane squares are deep brown, hard, crispy, and light sweet. While banh troihas the filling of sugar cane, the maker blends cooked green bean with sugar and julienne of coconut to make the core of banh chay. The cook dilutes Tapioca starch and kudzu flour then adds sugar and grapefruit fragrance on. After that, the mixture is boiled then poured into a bowl of banh chay. Finally, the cook sprinkles sesame and steamed green beans on top of the cakes for more flavors and decorating.
These cakes have simple appearance and light sweet flavor. They are such pure offerings to honor the ancestors. Furthermore, the process of making Banh troi and banh chay is a good occasion for family members to get together.
Not only at Cold Food Festival, you can buy these foods to eat at any time of the year in Hanoi. Banh troi and banh chay are often served as a dessert of many Hanoians. The price of a bowl of Banh troi or banh chay is about 10,000 VND.