The Cold Food Festival, a traditional festival celebrated in northern Vietnam, China and South Korea, falls this Sunday. Hanoians celebrate the day by having banh troi and banh chay, two dishes made with glutinous rice flour wrapped around a sweet filling.
Local stores are more crowded than usual as people line up to buy the sweet treat that is enjoyed with family and friends.
Each banh troi is made of sticky and elastic mixture of glutinous and plain rice wrapped around a crunchy brown palm sugar cube.
The mixture is rolled into a small ball and dropped into boiling water. Banh chay, bigger and more flattened than banh troi, is made similarly but with mung beans as filling, and served with a thick sweet sauce.
The balls should be taken out of the water 30 seconds after it floats up to the surface and be put in cold water to reduce its stickiness. Roasted sesame seeds or grated coconut are sprinkled on top to create more flavor.
Both cakes have simple recipes and can be made at home as a family activity. But, in these modern days, it is easier to buy them.
A box of banh troi, with 12-20 small balls, is sold for VND12,000-15,000 (52-65 cents).
Hanoians first offer the dish to their ancestors as a sign of gratitude.
Bibliography: Vnexpress International