Thanh Tri rolled rice cake – the hidden germ of Hanoi’s cuisine


Banh cuon is practically found every street you go in Hanoi, but it is likely that Thanh Tri rolled rice cakes – the traditional rice cakes made in Thanh Tri District, a southern district of Hanoi capital city are the best one.

If you ask Hanoians about the best banh cuon in the city, they all will unhesitatingly tell you that it is Thanh Tri roll cake. You know what? This kind of steamed roll is so good that Thanh Tri steamed rice powder roll with fluffy pemmican was even included in the menu for the state banquet for the U.S President Donald Trump in Vietnam on November, 11th 2017.

Hanoians have long been famous for their sophisticated cuisine with the elaborately processed dishes but roll rice cake is an exception. The difference lies not in the flavor but in the complexity of the cooking way. 

How to make Thanh Tri steamed rice rolls?

Thanh Tri steamed rice rolls

Thanh Tri steamed rice rolls

The cooking way is simple but the carefulness must be paid to every detail from the choosing ingredient step to the steaming and rolling time.

Step 1: Choose the ingredient

The ingredient chosen to make this kind of steamed cake must be the ordinary rice named Khang Dan, one of the most famous kinds of rice in North Vietnam, which is newly harvested. This kind of rice is not too soft or too hard to powder. Thus, when being powdered, it will not be crushed and milled into the powdered water.

Step 2: Grind the flour

 grind the flour

Grind the flour

After being soaked in water for 2-3 hours to absorb enough water, rice will be put in a traditional grist-mill. It is believed that the rice cakes made from the traditionally milled powder are much more delicious than those made in a modern method. In order to make the smooth and soft starch, the rice mixture should be grinded 1-3 times.

Step 3: Roll cakes

Rolling time

Rolling time

After 2 hours leaving the water and flour mixture in the room temperature, it’s rolling time! There is always a water pot boiling at 100 degrees Celsius to make sure that the cake is constantly and quickly cooked. The cook has to quickly pour a very thin layer of flour on to the mold and evenly spread them to create steamed coat thin. The whole process is about 3 seconds. When the cakes ripen, let’s gently take them out of the cloth. To avoid sticking, apply the surface with onion-infused oil!

The result should be the rice pancake which is thin like paper and looks almost transparent.

How to enjoy Thanh Tri rolled rice pancakes?

Thanh Tri rice cake

Steamed rice cake – the hidden charm of Hanoi’s cuisine

Unlike other versions of rolled rice pancakes you have ever tried in other regions in Vietnam, Thanh Tri steamed rice rolls often have no fillings inside (sometimes ear mushroom is added). Not pork, not shrimp, but it is the thin, flexible, tough cake itself is the reason for your second dish. A dish of rolled cakes is sprinkled with dried onions and its surface is fully applied with onion-infused oil, making these cakes smooth yet pure with attractive flavor.

To enhance the flavor, banh cuon is now commonly served with some slices of orange-hued, roasted cinnamon sausage (cha que) or Gio cha Uoc Le (a kind of Vietnamese lean meat pie). And another indispensable part is the stunning dipping sauce made from the high-quality fish sauce, some slices of fresh red chili, sticky rice vinegar, some drops of ca cuong essences (a giant water bug), and fried onions. The light sourness and spiciness of the amber-colored dipping sauce go well with the natural sweetness of the rice cakes and the saltiness of the Vietnamese sausage. Banh cuon Thanh Tri is a happy rendezvous of simple yet stunning ingredients!

Is it easy to make your own Vietnamese rolled rice cakes at home? However, streetfoodofhanoi has bad news to tell you. Based on the general recipe, each rolled cake restaurant, as well as each Vietnamese chef, has his/her own secret ingredient or technique to create his/her own plate of banh cuon to attract food lovers and get them to come back.

In addition to its rich culture and history, Hanoi capital city is also famous for its awesome Vietnamese culinary arts. Your Hanoi food tour cannot be complete without trying Thanh Tri steamed rice cakes.

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