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Savory cong cakes

An intoxicating aroma wafts out of a small banh cong (fried rice cake) shop on Nguyen Trai Street in the Mekong Delta’s Can Tho City.

The owner, 57-year-old Le Thi Hong Nhan, says the shop has been a community staple for the last 20 years.

“My mother opened it after she moved here from Soc Trang,” she said.

Nhan’s mother, who is now too old to run the shop, brought the art of cong cake-making from her home province where the treat originated.

Cong cakes, comprised of rice flour, soybeans, meat and shrimp, were first created around a century ago in Soc Trang.

They quickly became a local specialty and a favorite dish throughout the Mekong Delta.

Can Tho is now famous for the delicacy and of the four cake shops in the city, Nhan says hers is the most popular.

Each day from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., Nhan sells over 300 cakes for VND7,000 (US$0.40) each.

“People like them very much even though they are fattening food,” she said.

One regular customer, an American-Vietnamese, buys at least four cakes whenever he drops by, even though he’s on a low-fat diet, Nhan added.

To make the cakes, Nhan pours a mixture of rice flour, soybeans and water into a special mold.

Then she adds another layer of cooked beans and meat.

Another mixture of rice flour, soybeans and water are added, finished with a dollop of shrimp on the top.

Nhan then deep fries the cakes until they give off a delicious, savory aroma and turn golden-brown.

Cong cakes are typically served with sauce and herbs like basil and dill to balance the rich flavors of the meat and beans.

Nhan’s Banh Cong shop is located at 6A Nguyen Trai Street, An Hoi Ward, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City.

From Ninh Kieu Wharf, turn right onto Nguyen Trai Street – the shop is on the right of the street, near the Can Tho City Power Company.

Reported by Phuong Anh

source: thanhninennews

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