Each country’s cuisine isn't simply a habit of eating and drinking, people also consider the culinary sophistication, assess the country’s culture. Referring to Korea, we all know about Kim chi - the proud of Korea's traditional foods; and sushi is a famous food of Japan. Similarly, Vietnamese are also have their traditional foods. Beside of phở, bún bò huế, or nem nướng, Bánh chưng is also proud of VietNam.
The dictionary definition of Bánh chưng as a traditional Vietnamese rice cake which is made from glutinous rice, mung bean, pork, and other ingredients. However, it isn’t enough to explain the meaning of Bánh chưng. Behind that simple cake is a long story about the family’s love. According to the book Lĩnh Nam chích quái (Extraordinary stories of Lĩnh Nam) published in 1695, this cake was created by Lang Liêu- the prince of the sixth Hùng Vương; it represents the heart of the child for his father and symbolizes the vitality of the universe. According to Lang Liêu, a square cake symbolizes the earth (under the concept of the ancients), and the raw materials to create a cake to show the vitality of all things in the universe (animal and plant).
This is a traditional cake that every Vietnamese have in Lunar New Year. We use lá dong to wrap the cake in the square form before boiling it. Mung bean, fatty pork and black pepper, salt, sometimes green onion, and fish sauce for spices are added inside the glutinous rice. When eating cake, people like to add fish sauce or eating with củ kiệu (tubers procession), dưa mắm (cucumber sauce), or salt radish…
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<= củ kiệu
Cuisine: a manner or style of preparing food - ẩm thực
Sophistication: the complexity - tinh tế
Traditional: a custom handed down- truyền thống
Glutinous rice: a kind of sweet rice- gạo nếp
Vitality: energy, or principle that- sức sống
distinguishes the living from nonliving
Concept: a general idea or understanding - khái niệm
Ancients: very old, aged, in the past- người xưa
Lunar: caused by, or affecting of the moon- ẩm lịch
on Banh Chung
“Banh Chung” ( Chung cake) is a traditional and irreplaceable cake of Vietnamese people in the Tet Holidays and King Hung’s anniversary (10th March Lunar). For the Vietnamese, making “Banh Chung” is the ideal way to express gratitude to their ancestors and homeland.
Bánh tày is often made with small quantity of mung bean and little or no pork so that it can be preserved for a longer period, bánh tày can be cut in slices and fried like bánh chưng rán.
The pork is seasoned, tucked into the rice and bean paste, wrapped in lá dong (a leafy plant), giang strings (a type of bamboo) or banana leaves, and then boiled. Sometimes, in order to give the resulting wrap a better shape, square wooden molds are used. Bánh chưng has a valuable cultural and historical meaning.
Considered an essential element of the family altar on the occasion of Tết, the making and eating of bánh chưng during this time is a well-preserved tradition of Vietnamese people. Beside the Tết holiday, bánh chưng is also eaten all year round as Vietnamese cuisine.
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