Banh Thuan (Bánh thuẫn) – a Vietnamese traditional cake in Central Vietnam has attracted most of the people for its nice looking, great taste and low price. The cake looks like a beautiful apricot flower which has 5 yellow petals. Banh Thuan is lightly sweet, spongy and as small as a cupcake.
Main ingredients of Banh Thuan are arrowroot flour (Bột bình tinh), egg, vanilla, and sugar. They use an iron-cast or bronze mold which consists of 5-8 small molds to grill 5-8 cakes on charcoal. It is not an easy but not hard recipe. It needs experience and skill to make the cake yellow, spongy, smelling and have 5 petals. The most important part is making the batter. The cook should follow a proportion of water, arrowroot flour, egg, and sugar. Vanilla is added to the batter to make the cake smelling. Pour the batter into molds which are heated on charcoal. Cover the lid and grill the cakes until smelling. The cake should be spongy, tender inside, crispy and brown-yellow on the underside. The upper side of the cake looks like an apricot flower with 5 petals. Use a stick to get the cake out of the mold.
Besides cylindrical glutinous rice cake, vegetable pickles, Stewed pork leg with bamboo shoot, Banh Thuan is a must food at Tet festival in Central Vietnam. 5-6 days before the first day of the lunar new year, villages in the rural countryside of Central Vietnam are crowded, busy and noisy with people gathering to make Banh Thuan for the Tet. These days, the great smell of Banh thuan spread everywhere in the villages. What is better than eating some Banh thuan while drinking some tea on new year days or cold days? Not only served at Tet festival, Banh thuan is also sold popularly at street food stalls on the streets and in local markets. The cakes are packed in plastic bags and tied for selling. Tiny Banh thuan has been a favorite gift to children in the countryside of Central Vietnam. It is not only a cake but also a part of the rich cuisine and culture of Central Vietnam as well as the entire country.
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