Saturday, March 26, 2011

Banh Troi Nuoc

(PICTURE: This is the powder used to make Banh Troi Nuoc.)

(PICTURE: Huyen's aunts and mother starting to make the cake.)

The other weekend we went to visit Huyen's family because her uncle -- the same one that Huyen and her mom missed in HCMC -- was in town. I've had some feasts with Huyen's family before but this one was absolutely gigantic. I think it was the first time that Huyen and I were so full from lunch that we skipped dinner.

After eating, Huyen's uncles invited me to go fishing (tomorrow's blog) while the women were in charge of making Banh Troi Nuoc cake (the previous sentence sort of summarizes sexual equality in Vietnam). Huyen's uncles told me that Banh Troi Nuoc cake is symbolic of women in Vietnam because to make it is really tough and requires a lot of work but at the end the inside is still very sweet...or something like that.

Huyen sent me this poem about the cake written by the famous Vietnamese poet Ho Xuan Huong:

Bánh trôi nước (Hồ Xuân Hương) -
Thân em vừa trắng lại vừa tròn
Bảy nổi ba chìm vói nước non.
Rắn nát mặc dầu tay kẻ nặn
Mà em vẫn giữ tấm lòng son.


- Sweet dumpling -
My dough is white and my lot is round;
Seven times floated, three times sunk.
I swim in the waters and float on the mountains.
Hard or soft it depends on the kneader.
Regradless I determine to preserve my crimson viscus.