This outlying village just makes the Lunar New Year atmosphere more intense with its green banh chung.
It is not an exaggeration to say that you can find banh chung in the homes of almost every family in Vietnam, poor or rich, modern or traditional, during Tet, the country’s most important festival. For families in Tranh Khuc Village in Hanoi, that saying is literal because up to 90 of the 300 families here have been making a living from banh chung for generations.
Dang Thi Thao has filled her house with green leaves to wrap banh chung for the Lunar New Year.
She cuts the leaves so they fit perfectly around the cakes.
Sticky rice forms the case of banh chung.
Mung beans and pork make up the stuffing.
Normally people need a wooden square mold to wrap banh chung, but skillful cooks use their hands.
These cakes will be boiled for 8-10 hours.
In recent years, Tranh Khuc’s villagers have switched from wood-fired ovens to electric stoves.
Many families in this village in Thanh Tri District even have vacuum sealers to preserve their products so they can be shipped to customers.
In the days leading up to Tet, families in Tranh Khuc receive orders of 500-1000 cakes. Each costs VND30,000-50,000 ($1.3-$2.2).