Traveling along the Red Rive dyke, we arrive in Tranh Khuc village on the last days of the year. On the main road leading to the village, a number of trucks transport materials to households. Old villagers say they are familiar with Dong leave, sticky rice, pork, and green bean to make Chung cake since they were born. In average, each household makes 200 cakes in normal day. But one week before Tet, their productivity may increase 10 times more than in normal day. They have trade secret to bring out the typical taste of the Chung cake with sticky rice, buttery green bean, pepper fragrance, and fatty pork. Nguyen Duy Thang of Trang Thang factory says: “In order to have good cakes, we have to carefully choose rice, bean, pork, and leaves. Good rice is Hai Hau variety. The pork should be half fat and half lean meat so the cake will not be dry. I use wild Dong leaves. The torn leaves are used inside and the intact ones are used for the outer layers.”
Villagers don’t use a frame to wrap but they can make nice and square Chung cakes. Mrs Tuyen has 30 years experience in making Chung cake. “I make some hundreds cake in a normal day. Prior to Tet, I make more than a hundred cakes from 7 a.m to 10 p.m or the whole night. After the Lunar New Year Festival, we wrap Chung cake in the early morning.”
Chung cakes are boiled from 8 to 10 hours. In Tranh Khuc village, there is not more wood stoves. People use electric cookers which can cook more cakes with better quality.
Chung cakes of Tranh Khuc village are sold in all major markets in the capital such as Ngoc Ha, Doi Can, and Quan Thanh and account for 50% of Hanoi’s market share. Overseas Vietnamese people bring Chung cake with them to other countries. Thang says: “In recent years, we have received from foreigners and travel agencies organizing tours for overseas Vietnamese in France and the US. Tourists even come here to learn wrapping Chung cake. We cooperate with travel agencies to take tourists to the village for sight-seeing, to make and buy cakes.”
Nguyen Van Veo has been doing the trade for 40 years. “I believe that Tranh Khuc village will maintain the craft of making “Chung” cake and “Day” cake for ever. We are proud of the craft handed down from our ancestors.”
According to VietKings (Kyluc.vn)