Hanoi village greens up for the indispensable traditional Tet treat

By Nguyen Nga, Manh Cuong   February 4, 2018 | 01:50 am PT
This outlying village just makes the Lunar New Year atmosphere more intense with its green banh chung.
It is not exaggerating to say that you can find banh chung at almost every families in Vietnam, either poor or rich, modern or classic, during Tet, the most important festival of Vietnamese people when they celebrate a new lunar year. And for families in Tranh Khuc village in Hanoi, that assumption is a true fact because up to 90 out of 300 families here have been making banh chung for a living on this occasion for generations.

It is not an exaggeration to say that you can find banh chung in the homes of almost every family in Vietnam, poor or rich, modern or traditional, during Tet, the country's most important festival. For families in Tranh Khuc Village in Hanoi, that saying is literal because up to 90 of the 300 families here have been making a living from banh chung for generations.

Dang Thi Thao has filled up her house will green leaves for days to wrap banh chung.

Dang Thi Thao has filled her house with green leaves to wrap banh chung for the Lunar New Year.

She cuts the leaves to make them fit the cake.

She cuts the leaves so they fit perfectly around the cakes.

Stick rice makes the skin of banh chung.

Sticky rice forms the case of banh chung.

Mung bean and pork make its stuffing.

Mung beans and pork make up the stuffing.

Normally people need a wooden square mold to wrap banh chung but those with skillful hands can wrap the cake without using the mold.

Normally people need a wooden square mold to wrap banh chung, but skillful cooks use their hands.

The cake will be boiled in 8-10 hours.

These cakes will be boiled for 8-10 hours.

In recent years, Tranh Khuc villagers have switched from wood-fired oven to electric stove.

In recent years, Tranh Khuc's villagers have switched from wood-fired ovens to electric stoves.

Many families in this village of Duyen Ha Commune, Thanh Tri District even equip a vacuum sealer to preserve their products for shipments that may take several days to reach customers.

Many families in this village in Thanh Tri District even have vacuum sealers to preserve their products so they can be shipped to customers.

In days near Tet, one family in Tranh Khuc may receive order of 500 or even 1,000 cake. Each costs VND30,000-50,000 ($1.3-$2.2).

In the days leading up to Tet, families in Tranh Khuc receive orders of 500-1000 cakes. Each costs VND30,000-50,000 ($1.3-$2.2).

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