Glutinous rice cake (Banh tet) is a Vietnamese traditional cake which has many versions in different regions of the country. Most of the Banh tet have a cylindrical shape and is wrapped in banana leaves or Phrynium placentarium leaves, the crust is made from glutinous rice and other ingredients which add color and enhance the flavor of the crust, there are various fillings from sweet to savory. Phu Quoc people created an impressive Banh tet mat cat recipe (Triangular prism glutinous rice cake with finger palm) which is one of the most favorite specialty food of this beautiful island.
The cake is named after the wrap – “mat cat” (finger palm). Banh tet mat cat in Phu Quoc is triangular prism-shaped and wrapped in finger palm leaves. Finger palm leaf enhances the flavor of the crust and makes it different from others of its kind. Finger palm leaves are dried under the sun, washed, cleaned with some oil to make them more tender. Finger palm leaf is not as wide as banana leaf or Phrynium placentarium leaf so that it is not easy to wrap the cake. It needs skillfulness and experience to wrap the cake in this kind of leaf. The cake should be wrapped not too loosely not too tightly with string. If the cake is loose, it will be wet and too tender after cooking. Otherwise, it will be hard and dry.
They add katuk leaf juice to the crust to make it green and less greasy. The crust also has a typical smell and taste from katuk leaf. Not similar to other kinds of Banh tet, Banh tet mat cat in Phu Quoc does not include the traditional ingredient coconut milk. However, the crust is still greasy and sweet-tasty exclusively. This is the reason why Triangular prism glutinous rice cake with finger palm can be stored longer than the others. The buttery and tender filling is made from mung bean paste and pork belly.
To eat, cut the cake into reuleaux triangles, peel off the wrap, then eat with your fingers or spoon, chopsticks. The perfect mix of the sticky crust and the tender, buttery filling of the cake satisfy most of the people. The beautiful Phu Quoc island in Kien Giang province has lots of specialty foods including dishes from seafood, fish sauce, bitter bolete, etc. However, do not miss trying the traditional Triangular prism glutinous rice cake with finger palm. It is worth a try.