Ear Cake or Banh Hon is a specialty food of Phu Tho province. The name of the cake does not mean that it is made from ear. It is called Ear Cake because it has the shape of human ear. This tasty cake is made from rice and pork. Ear Cake made by cooks in Phu Tho has milky-white color, tender crust from rice, greasy filling from pork and attractive smell. It is delicious, healthy and comfortable to eat. So that people in Phu Tho eat this cake at any time of day, especially in the morning.
Even though the recipe looks pretty simple, not everyone can cook this flavorful cake. Rice used to make Ear Cake must be high quality, soft and a little sticky. The rice must be washed carefully and soaked with water for about 4 hours, then the rice is ground with water to make the dough. The cook kneads the dough again and again until it reaches the desired degree of softness. After that, the cook cut the dough into pieces which are used to wrap filling from ground lean pork, pork fat and dry onion into ear shape. The last step is steaming the cake for approximately 30 minutes. One important thing is that cakes should be cooked at high temperature to make sure they are well-done, delicious and good-looking.
The cake is better to eat when it is still warm. Tasting the cake, you will find it soft, crunchy, buttery, sweet and fragrant at the same time. Ear Cake is usually served with sweet, sour and hot dipping fish sauce. Some people like eating the cake with rice porridge for their breakfast.
Ear Cake is not only a specity food of Phu Tho which is loved by most of locals. Phu Tho people who live far away from their hometown always want to taste this cake when they come back home. It has become a special gift from Phu Tho to visitors from other regions in Vietnam as well as other countries in the world. If you have chance to come to Phu Tho, do not miss trying distinctive Ear Cake and buy some to bring home.