An Truyen village, also known as Chuon, in central Vietnam, has been famous for Tet cakes since the reign of King Bao Dai.
On the 24th of every lunar month of December, hundreds of households in An Truyen Village, Thua Thien-Hue Province, start making Tet cakes made from sticky rice.
Chuon Village\'s Tet cakes
Mrs. Huynh Tam, 84, sold more than 1,600 Tet cakes in the last two weeks of the lunar month of December.
Tam said, “My family has been making Tet cakes for 4 generations, so all my children and grandchildren know how to make the best cakes. The secret is using the rice from Cua Paddy Fied, in the village. The rice has to be rinsed, dried, then cleaned three times with water. Then green beans are cooked with flavouring. Lard also makes the cakes have their special taste.”
“The difference in taste of the cakes made here is quite clear, especially when they’re freshly out of the boiling pot. You can smell the green beans along with the fat,” she said.
At the house of Ho Van Toan, 10 people were busy preparing and wrapping cakes that have been made by his daughter a law and children. “I just can’t take any more order. It’s insufficient to sell more than 20 cakes for a customer at a time. The reason our cakes our so special is the addition of flavouring, green bean and pork fat. It’s also important to add the right amount of pepper, fish sauce, seasoning powder and other spices for the cake.”
Mr Doan Ran, 78, is experienced in the production of Tet cakes. He said that An Truyen sticky rice was among specialties offered to King Bao Dai of the Nguyen Dynasty. The king also specifically asked that this rice be used to make Tet cakes, then presented them to court officials on the Lunar New Year.
After adding all the ingredients, cakes must be wrapped in the leaves of Su banana . These leaves are what give the cake it’s colour, which can be kept for between 15 and 30 days. Even tying the cake takes skill. It must not be too loose or too tight. The cake is cooked using long-burning "duong" wood that makes a fire that lasts up to three hours.
Price of Chuon Village’s Tet cake remains unchanged at VND10,000 (USD0.5) and VND30,000 (USD1.5) each, depending on different sizes. Many people, including those from Danang, Ho Chi Minh City and even in northern provinces come to the village to buy their cakes.
The following is photos of Tet cake production of Chuon Village:
Packing cakes in Chuon village
Chuon Village’s Tet cakes among the best
Cua Paddy Field
Rice has been rinsed
Green beans soaking in water
Leaf of Su banana leaf is preferable for the wrapping
Green beans mixed with spices
Selecting fresh pork
Filling is a misture of green beans and pork
Wrapping Tet cake in smoke
Each batch is up to 50 cakes
Mrs Tam is taking cakes out of the pot