Ginger cake – a specialty food of Soc Trang

Ginger cake is a traditional cake of Khmer people in South Vietnam. The cake is not made from ginger but it looks like ginger. So that it is called Ginger cake or Banh gung in Vietnamese (“banh” means cake, “gung” means ginger in Vietnamese). Khmer people call this cake Num-Kho-Nhay which means ginger in Khmer language. The cake is seductively smelling, sweet-tasty, greasy and crispy, melting in your mouth.

Ginger cake of Khmer people is made from glutinous rice flour, cuttlefish bone powder, egg, lemon juice, sugar. Beat the mix of cuttlefish bone powder, lemon juice, egg yolk and white until fluffy, add glutinous rice flour, mix until well-kneaded, shape small pieces of the dough into gingers. Fry the gingers in oil until crispy and yellow, dip the ginger cake in sugar caramel to cover the cake with a sweet coat. Then dry the cake under the sun in order to keep its shape. One of the special facts about this cake is that it is fried in a pot, not a pan like other kinds of Vietnamese cakes. Khmer people grind glutinous rice with water, then dry to make glutinous rice flour which is used to make the ginger cake. The flour must be dry and well-kneaded to make sure the cake is soft.

It is a must food at Khmer traditional festivals (Chol Chnam Thmay festival, Dolta festival, Kate festival), or important events such as engage party, wedding party. This cake is arranged on the altar to show their thanks and respects to ancestors who cleared the land and grew the rice. Ginger cake represents for faithfulness. It reminds local people of Nai Chrao Cho Pho – a faithful wife in a famous Khmer legend. At festival or important events, they usually place ginger cakes on bamboo skewers, stick around wooden or clay cylinder, decorate beautifully with colorful paper. The decoration looks like deer horn or coral.

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