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Cake

“Pau Po Cu” Corn Cake
The special “Pau Po Cu” Corn Cake is usually made in the 4th month and the 5th month of a year (according to the Lunar Calendar). The main ingredient of this cake is corn powder. When the corns still have the milk-like taste, they are cut, put in a special machine called “Bie Zu” (Bie means machine, Zu means to grind) and grinded without water. When the grinding process is done, we add water into the powder to make a stickier mixture. Next, we put the small pieces of that mixture on banana leaves before frying them on a boiling pan. The cooked cakes are then wrapped in banana leaves. The taste of the final product is beyond any description! When eating, we can feel the smell of banana and the taste of corn, as well as the softness and stickiness of each bite. “Pau Po Cu” Corn Cake is usually served as a snack, but it can also accompany the villagers to the rice field to ease their hunger. People usually eat it by hand, without using any plate or bowl. A well-cooked Corn Cake can last for 2 days. If you want to bring it with you when you leave Lao Cai, you can ask for the ones tightly wrapped in banana leaves and soaked with water. Whenever you want to eat the cakes you bought, just heat them again!
“Pau Plau” Day Cake
Day Cake is a popular type of cake that can be found all over Vietnam, but the Day Cake called “Pau Plau” in Lao Cai is a quite unique dish. It is made solely of rice, but its deliciousness has been tested and acknowledged by many travelers who have been to Lao Cai.  The rice is soaked with water for approximately 2 hours; it is then poured into a basket to dry out water. Next, it is steamed to make glutinous rice. When finished, the glutinous rice is grinded. This is an especially demanding process as the cook has to grind and apply oil into the mixture of glutinous rice at the same time. After the glutinous rice reaches the certain degree of stickiness, it is cut into smaller pieces and can be eaten right away! Day Cake can be preserved for about one week. If you want to make it last longer, you have to press the cakes so that they become flatter and apply dry rice powder around them. When eating, you can heat them again or put them into boiling pan and fry until they get the yellow yummy color. Banh Day is a tasty dish, but it would be ever more delicious if you eat it with sugar. You will then realize that each bite of the soft “Pau Plau” Day Cake has the typical scent and taste of a mountainous land.
Xeo Cake in Quang Binh
In a nutshell, Xeo Cake of Vietnam is somehow familiar to Crêpes of France. You can find Xeo Cake in many places thorough the country, but to taste one of the most unique recipes, you must visit Quang Binh. Xeo Cake there is made of red rice; it is best accompanied by Banana Fishes, Vietnamese salad, fresh herbs and fish sauce. First, a plate of Vietnamese salad includes sesame, bean sprouts and a special kind of vegetable called Ket. The bean must be the extremely big red beans. The rice used to make Xeo Cake also has a unique red color. It is dipped in water for about 5 hours before being grinded. During the 2 separate grinding processes, water should be added periodically. After that, we add a little of salt and fried onion into the mixture. The pan used to fry the cake must also be made by the men of Quang Hoa: it is only a little bit bigger than a normal bowl; the side is just 1.5 cm high and the bottom is flat. When frying, we have to make sure that the fire is extremely red so that the cakes can “bloom” fully into the desired size and shape. The Banana Fish is another part of this exciting dish. The main ingredient is nothing else but Porcelain Bananas (a type of banana that has many seeds) which are not too ripe and not too green. They are peeled and dipped in lemon sauce before being cut into small pieces. After that, we boil the bananas and bend them into different shapes of shrimps or fishes. Each of the “fishes” is then dipped quickly in the bowl of spices. Finally, we arrange all the “fishes” on a plate and pour fish sauce (with garlic and chili) on so that each piece would have an equally spicy taste. When eating, we wrap the Xeo Cake, the veggies, the salad and the banana fishes inside a piece of rice paper. The cakes taste best when they are still hot. Holding the hot Xeo Cake on your hands, you will understand why the hotness and the tempting sense of red rice are so wonderful!
Ear Cake
In the past, the people in Phu Tho referred to Ear Cake as Hon Cake, a tasty food that is served every day. Do not freak out, the name of this cake has nothing to do with human ears or any animal ear! Ear Cake has that name because it has the shape of an ear, and that is all! It is made from rice, with pork stuffing. Even though the recipe looks pretty easy, not everyone can make this wonderful cake. The first step, and also the most important one that defines the quality of the cake, is to choose the right type of rice which is soft and sticky at the same time. The rice is washed and soaked in water from 2 hours to half a day, before we can grind it and make the dough. We knead the dough again and again until it reaches the desired degree of softness. Then, we can start cutting the dough into small pieces and form the shape of each. People who are used to making this dish usually do this step so easily, making 10 identical pieces at a time. When we are done kneading, we put the cakes in the steamer. After only 30 minutes to 1 hour, we will eventually have the delicious Ear Cakes, each of which has the shape of an ear, with a pork stuffing. The best way to savor Ear Cake is to eat it right away when it is still warm. Holding it in your hands and eat it slowly, you will find the taste of Ear Cake irresistible: it is soft, crunchy, buttery, sweet and fragrant at the same time!
Cuttlefish Egg Cake in DatMui
No one can truly define the attractiveness of the Cuttlefish Egg Cake in DatMui, Ca Mau. No one knows why this cuisine has even gone into the folk songs that every child in U Minh knows by heart. Likewise, no one can find out the identity of the wonderful cook that created this tasty dish. However, whenever they are asked to recommend the best cuisine in the region, people in DatMui would probably come up with the same answer: Cuttlefish Egg Cake! The cuttlefish cake is a fried dish that has a yellowish color like Cinnamon Meat Cake. In reality, it looks pretty good and has a distinctive smell. Each piece is only about 25cm2 big. They are served with fresh herbs, veggies and rice papers. When eating, we wrap each sheet of rice papers around the vegetable and a piece of cake. The dish is best when it is accompanied by the special local sauces such as Mam Nhi sauce, or lime-salt-pepper sauce. In every bite, we can feel the softness of the vegetables, the stickiness of the rice papers and the buttery flavor of the cuttlefish eggs which make this dish stand out from others. Usually, the people of Ca Mau consider this dish as a special gift to give to the visitors from other parts of the country. It is also a wonderful present to send to the people who live far away from their hometown so that they can savor the taste of their village again. If you ever have a chance to go to the coastal regions in Ca Mau, never forget to eat this wonderful dish because you would find it in nowhere else in Vietnam!
Dày Cake – The speciality of the Mong ethnic group
 The Tet Holiday of the Mong ethnic group would never been accomplished without Dày Cake, the speciality that nature has given to these people. As a symbol of the round Earth with a fresh environment, Dày Cake is a delicious dish that only Mong people can cook properly. All ingredients used to make this dish come from nature. First of all, people must choose the best Nep Nuong Rice in highest hills. They filter this soft, fragrant and pure rice before drying it under the sunlight. However, because intense sunlight can possibly break the rice and take away its scent, people usually dry the rice only in early morning or late afternoon. The dried rice will still maintain a thin cover, which embedded the scent inside the small seeds. The rice is then cooked in big pots until the fragrant spread all over the places. Then, the rice will be grinded by the strongest young men while women start to prepare the leaves to wrap the cakes. They choose a special type of leaves called Giong. Each of the leaves is washed carefully with water from the beginning of the springs and cleaned again with cloths.  When the men finish their grinding job, the dough is given to the skillful women. Interestingly, the more grinded the rice is, the whiter the dough becomes. Each piece of the hot and spotless dough is placed on a Giong leaf and wrapped carefully. The final Dày Cake has an immaculately white color, which makes it much more noticeable and tempting on the green leaves. As the cake can be preserved for a pretty long time, we can serve it in many different ways, in different occasions. However, in Dien Bien, the most popular dishes are Grilled Dày Cake with Honey or Dried Dày Cake. Eating this wonderful speciality is a great experience, but never indulge yourself! Otherwise, you would never stop!
Vietnamese Baguette (Banh Mi)
Bread and wheat products occupy a unique position in the cuisines of every country on Earth. From Europe to Asia, Africa to America, everybody loves bread, and certainly, Vietnamese is no exception. Although bread made of wheat and rice flour is not the tradition dish, it plays an essential role in Vietnam daily life. Vietnamese baguette in the past Vietnam has a long history as an agriculture country with rice being the main staple. Not until 1859 when the French colonials entered Southern Vietnam did bread appear widely throughout the country. An imported food, bread speedily became popular and assimilated in Vietnam. The most apparent evidence is the shape of the bread, which is typically small and long. Vietnamese bread originally came from the bread made à-la- Françe!, the kingdom of bread, yet Banh mi in Vietnam was first made for the working class such as drivers, porters, blue-collar workers. That accounts for the reason why “banh mi Viet Nam” had the shape of a baguette instead of a bun or roll. With the shape of a baguette, it would be much easier for people to hold it by one hand and eat while working. Through times, the plain French baguette has adapted in various ways to become the present “Banh mi Viet Nam”. Distinctive “Banh mi Vietnam” The very first thing about “banh mi Vietnam” that amazes foreign travelers is that they can hardly find Vietnamese-style baguette in a shiny shop, in which cakes and fancy Western bread with pretty high price are displayed for sale. Banh mi Vietnam can be purchased right at the roadside stalls or from the street vendors, in many the alleys of the city or even in the bus terminals and train station. Small freshly hot baguettes are kept warm in the red hot coal brazier; or inside the bamboo basket fully covered with a woolen blanket. Not only foreigners feel nostalgic when hearing the voices of street vendors resounding on every alley of Hanoi “Crisply hot bread for sale! Crisply hot bread for sale” (Bánh mì nóng giòn nào!) but Vietnamese loves that as well. Years ago, when Hanoi was quieter, the cry of the street vendors is considered a symbol of tranquility. Even now, it still invokes special feelings among Hanoians, especially those who come back to visit Hanoi after a long time living far away from the city. Those sellers have become a typical image of the good old days, of the past full of unforgettable memories. “Banh mi Viet Nam” is also special for its diverse tastes. Those who have taken a bite of Vietnamese baguette will never forget the crunchiness of the crust since it is very light, airy and crispy. Bakers making Vietnamese-style baguette does not add butter, shortening or chicken fat. The dough contains only wheat, rice flour and quick-rise yeast. “Banh mi Viet Nam” has a pretty low price, only VND2000-VND3000 per loaf, which answers the question why Vietnamese rarely bake their own bread at home. Vietnamese baguette is also very versatile, and it can be served any time of the day. Moreover, depending on their personal taste, people can enjoy their Banh mi in their own way: with fried eggs, liver pâté, mayonnaise or even condensed milk. There are many “versions” of “banh mi Viet Nam” that each area has its individually famous kind, which can even stunningly astonish Western travellers coming from the motherland of bread.
Banh Cuon (Bánh Cuốn)
Banh Cuon is among Hanoi´s most popular food, which is mainly served for breakfast (see Video of Vietnamese meal). Despite its prestige among local, not many tourists come to know about this specialty. Banh Cuon is probably one of those strongly influenced by French cuisine. It is a thin crepe-like rice savory pastry, with some meat and mushroom wrapped inside. The process of making banh cuon resembles that of making crepes. The only difference is that the pastry is steamed from a rice-based mixture, instead of light-oil fried from wheat-based liquid like crepes. This gives the dish a light yet unforgettable flavor and a thin and delicate texture. The pastry is completed by the accompanying sauce- a mixture of fragrant fish sauce blended with a light sour of lime, Cha lua- Vietnamese Pork sausage, and fried onions. Vegetarians can avoid the meat component by requesting for a plain Banh Cuon (Banh Cuon Chay), which does not change the taste dramatically. Banh Cuon can be found on many local eateries in local markets or every few blocks. Look for a steaming pot and a bright yellow sign ¨Banh cuon¨ and you will be served this delicious delicacy for just a dollar.
Can Cake
Can Cake is a popular cake in Ninh Thuan that originated from the Cham community. It is made from rice powder and steamed on soil stoves. These stoves are produced in Bau Truc, with 10 -15 small holes to cook the cake in. To make this cake, the rice powder is first mixed with eggs and water, and then this mixture is poured into each hole on the soil stove. When the cake has been cooked, it is taken off the stove and dabbed with onion oil, shrimps, fish or meat. But the most unique factor of this cake is the sauce that is served with it.  Each sauce gives the cake a different taste.  Normally, Can cake is used with fish sauce or peanut sauce, but in Ninh Thuan, people seem to prefer the sauce from brined fish. A large bowl of this sauce is brought in, and then the cake dipped freely in this sauce. The flavor of rice, shrimp, oil, onion and fish is combined harmonically to become an delicious and unforgettable taste.  One advice to those who want to taste this cake is that Can cake should be eaten right in the restaurant when they are still hot and crispy because this is when the cake is tastiest.
Longan Cake
This is a special cake made by local residents of Hai Hau borough. People call it “longan cake” not because it is made from longan, but because the shape and skin looks like one. The recipe is very simple, but its flavor and taste is outstanding and unforgettable. The cake is made from glutinous rice powder mixed with chicken eggs, pork lard and sugar. This mixture is rolled into balls that resemble longan fruit, and then fried in a hot pan. After frying, these dough balls are boiled in sugar water to give the skin its yellow hue. Longan cake is made in many places in Nam Dinh, but the cakes of Hai Hau are known for a special taste and flavor that no other longan cakes have. The difference comes from using a special kind of rice powder. In Hai Hau, yellow flowered glutinous rice powder is used, and this rice is famous around Vietnam for its unique flavors. Therefore the cakes in Hai Hau are more fragrant and delicious than those of other places.
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