The central coastal province of Binh Dinh is renowned for a wide selection of food and drink specialties, including Bau Da rice liquor, nem (fermented pork roll), cha (ground meat), tre (minced pork wrapped in guava and banana leaves) and hong (pink) cake.
Locals enjoy the specialty hong cake on various occasions, from casual parties at home to important family-themed events such as wedding receptions or New Year reunions.
Hong cake, which is made from sticky rice and sugar, originally had a milky white color but a cheery pink color was later added when the cake was used as one of the traditional wedding gifts presented to the bride’s family members.
The ingredient sticky rice must be fresh and of superior quality to ensure a characteristic chewy consistency and good taste for the cake, whose pink is produced by the flesh of gac (small red jackfruit-like gourd) and green by la dua (a kind of pandanus leaf).
The process of making hong cake is very simple. The sticky rice is soaked with warm water overnight before being ground into wet flour. Then, this flour is cooked and blended with boiling liquid sugar, and this mixture is poured into a square frame and pressed to form a large flat cake. The cake, whose ideal thickness is two or three centimeters, is finally cut into smaller pieces and wrapped in paper or banana leaves for later use.
Hong cake is a simple food delicacy. It is great to have it with a cup of hot tea in raining days.