Hue City—Vietnam’s ancient capital—has amassed a collection of tasty specialties. The steamed rice cake is one among them.
In Vietnam’s central region, two kinds of steamed rice cakes can be distinguished: Quang Nam-style steamed rice cakes and Hue-style steamed rice cakes. The version in Hue is thinner and served with sweet spicy fish sauce.
Nobody can tell how and when the dish originated. However, the dish has been around and familiar to all locals, from kids to adults. It is also available in both daily meals and parties.
According to an owner of a steamed rice cake eatery, cooks must be careful in every step, from choosing rice flour, preparing toppings and dipping sauce to steaming cakes.
First, the cook adds cold water and then hot water to rice flour before mixing them well. Next, the mixture is let soaked from four to seven hours to remove the sour taste and create the chewy texture. After that, the remaining water is drained, and the same amount of warm water is added before mixing all well again. Finally, the mixture is put in small bowls that will be steamed for seven or eight minutes.
Hue-style steamed rice cakes in small bowls are topped with fried dried shrimps, green onions, crispy fried shallots and crispy pork cracklings.
The deliciousness of Hue-style steamed rice cakes hinges largely on the fish sauce to be used and prepared. It is said to be neither too salty nor sweet.
The combination of the white color of steamed rice cakes and the red color of fried dried shrimps renders the specialty both delicious and eye-catching. Moreover, the spicy taste from minced chilies added to the fish sauce will delight all taste buds of diners.