Longan Cake or Banh Nhan is a specialty food of Nam Dinh province. No one know when the cake’s recipe was created. People in Nam Dinh only know that they have eaten this kind of flavorful cake since they were young. It is called Longan Cake not because it is made from longan, but because it has shape and skin similar to longan. The cake is tiny but it is very tasty. Longan Cake is lightly sweet, crispy, buttery and fragrant. This sweet cake is eaten as snack every day. In North Vietnam, they eat Banh Nhan at Tet festival – the biggest festival of the country.
Ingredients to make this cake are sticky rice flour, chicken eggs and sugar. Recipe of Longan Cake is simple and easy: we mix all of the ingredients into a smooth and sticky dough, then form the dough into many balls which are as small as longan fruit. These balls are fried in a pan until they turn light yellow and crispy. Then balls are put into sugar water and stirred continuously to add sweet taste to the balls. The cake fried in pork lard is more delicious than the one fried in oil.
The best Longan Cake is made by Hai Hau borough in the province. Yellow flowered glutinous rice flour which is famous for its quality make Longan Cake in Hai Hau different from Longan Cakes in other regions. Longan Cake has a very outstanding taste which make dinners would like to eat more and more. Longan Cake can be preserved for 4 weeks.
In the past, women of families in Nam Dinh usually make Longan Cake for their families. In recent days, Longan Cake has become more and more popular around Vietnam. It is easy to buy a pack of these tiny cakes at cheap price in the country.