Banh giay of Nung ethnic people in Lao Cai

Nga Do
In the cold of the northern upland, tourists to market sessions of ethnic minority communities in Bac Ha District, Lao Cai Province may be attracted to hot round cakes in green, black and white.

Photo by Casablanca1911
The cake is called banh giay (glutinous rice cake), a type of snack of Nung ethnic people. When tourists buy the cake, Nung women will wrap it in pieces of dong (Phrynium placentarium) leaves. A 49-year-old banh giay vendor identified as Phuong from Na Hoi Village said she has spent half her life making and selling the cake.

In the harvest season, Phuong works in the terraced field but in the between-crop period, she comes to the market as a cake vendor.

Every day, she sells seven kilos of banh giay and earns enough money to continue work in the field, which has been passed down through many generations of her family.

The cake is made from simple ingredients including sticky rice, sesame and sugar, she said, and it is the soul of the cook that makes the cake delicious. A bite of a sweet and fragrant cake can keep one warm early in the morning at a market session. Tourists should eat it when it is still hot.

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