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Monday, June 24, 2024

A sweet treat from Dong Thap

By Nhat Minh

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Banh tam bi (a silkworm-shaped cake in coconut cream) in Dong Thap Province in the Mekong Delta tastes sweet and subtle, just like the locals in the area.

When they first see banh tam bi, diners often think it is a variation of thick noodle soup. However, the cake has its own fatty taste, both subtle and sweet.

The most important ingredient to make a delicious silkworm-shaped cake is to choose quality fragrant rice, soak it in water for several days and grind it into a powder. The rice flour is then mixed with diluted salt water and soaked in water for two more days. After that, the flour is steamed to create batches of the fragrant silkworm-shaped cake.

The soul of banh tam bi lies in the coconut cream cooked with a little salt, sugar, and tapioca flour to create a smooth consistency of coconut cream. Another indispensable ingredient of the dish is a mix of pork meat sliced into thin strips, shredded pig skin and a fragrant powder made from rice.

Green vegetables such as herbs, bean sprouts and sliced carrots and cucumbers are placed at the bottom of the bowl, which is then topped with the silkworm-shaped cake and shredded pig skin with some roasted peanuts. Finally, coconut cream is added. Locals serve the dish with a small bowl of fish sauce with minced chili.

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