Ben Thanh market eatery’s Hue-style dish sells like hot cakes

By Di Vy    May 25, 2019 | 04:00 pm GMT+7

The silky texture of its water fern cakes and the rich, flavorful sauce they come with allure foodies to an eatery in central Saigon.

A serving costs VND25,000 - 30,000 ($1.1 -1.3).

A serving costs VND25,000 - 30,000 ($1.1 -1.3).

If you enter Ben Thanh market through its western door, you will see a small, crowded stall. It is Anh's water fern cake shop. She says: "I opened this stall 23 years ago. I have only sold at Ben Thanh market."

The cakes have the original flavor of Hue, Vietnam's ancient capital which is well-known for its cakes. The owner says the rice must be glutinous for the cake to be soft and silky. The shrimp filling should be savory.

The most popular is a combination of the cakes, tapioca dumplings, sticky rice dumplings, and a pork patty. The cakes and dumplings are lined up in a small dish. Finely pounded shrimp is sprinkled on top along with some bread crumbs. Lastly the sauce is poured over it. The sauce determines the taste of the dish.

A serving costs VND25,000 - 30,000 ($1.1 -1.3).

According to Anh, there are days which she sells nearly 1,000 plates of cakes. "The majority of guests are regular customers. Some people stop by every few days." Besides, thanks to its location in Ben Thanh market, this place also gets many foreign guests.

With each nibble of the cake, you can feel its sweet and salty flavors. The sauce is made in southern style, slightly spicy, while the bread crumbs are crisp and melt in the mouth. The patties and spring rolls are also made by Anh's family and have their signature taste.

Huy Hoang, a District 7 resident, says he cannot remember the number of times he has visited the stall. "Though it is located in the city center, the stall is affordable and clean and has delicious food, so I come here very often with my friends."

The stall is open from morning to 3 p.m, and is most crowded at lunch time. Guests sit on plastic chairs without tables. Next to the stall is a refreshment stall, where you can order centella or green bean centella juice, sugarcane juice, ginseng juice and others for VND15,000 (65 cents) onward. You can also explore the market’s food court, which has lots of others delicious dishes.

The dining area inside Ben Thanh Market is a food paradise.

The dining area inside Ben Thanh Market is a food paradise.

 
 
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