Beat winter blues with the delicious banh khuc

VietNamNet Bridge – Hanoi’s winter is said to be incomplete without savouring banh khuc or xoi khuc. The dish is a ball of glutinous rice mixed with cudweed and filled with mung bean paste and seasoned greasy pork. It is best tasted when served steaming hot, which is why it is a must-have dish during the cold winter months. Another reason why the dish is popular during winter is because the most important ingredient – cudweed – grows abundantly during late winter. In the first two months of the year, when an early spring drizzle envelops the villages and farms, cudweed is also harvested. The plant grows naturally along river banks and on the edges of fields. There are two kinds of cudweed – te (non-sticky) and nêep (sticky). Of these, te is preferred to make banh khuc as it is more flexible and fragrant. On cold winter nights in Hanoi, street vendors are often heard shouting, “Ai banh khuc day?” (Who wants banh khuc?) on nearly every street. This is a familiar call for anyone who has lived in the capital for a long time. However, there are only two popular places serving the most authentic and delicious banh khuc in the city: Banh Khuc Quan and Banh Khuc Co Lan. Banh Khuc Quan “I have tried banh khuc in many places, but nowhere have I found as soft and sweet-smelling layer of steamed glutinous rice as sold in Banh Khuc Quan shop,” says Bui Tuyet Loan, a resident… [Read full story]

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