Today: 06/12/2023 19:08:36 (GMT+7)

Taste of countryside gifts

(BGO) - These days, craft villages in Bac Giang province have begun to make the traditional flavors for the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday. The warmth of the kilns producing ‘che lam’ cake and peanut candy seems to dispel the cold air on winter days.

A gift full of countryside love

My family lives in Bac Giang city’s Tan My commune - the locality with many households making peanut candy and ‘che lam’, a kind of cake made of sticky rice, ginger, honey and peanuts, for several decades. A month before the Lunar New Year, customers from many places have come to order the products, creating jobs and income for hundreds of workers.

Taste of countryside gifts, Bac Giang province, craft villages, traditional flavors, Lunar New Year holiday, che lam, peanut candy

Production of peanut candy in My Cau village, Tan My commune, Bac Giang city.

Nguyen Duy Tien, who boasts more than 30 years of experience in making ‘che lam’, said that “I remember ‘che lam’ is made for Tet from the time of my grandparents. Any family that did not make this cake was considered to have no Tet". Later, not only serving his family, Tien opened a workshop to produce ‘che lam’ cake and peanut candy.

For a long time, ‘che lam’ cake and peanut candy have been countryside gifts for many people. During Tet, these dishes are favored by everyone because they are easy to eat and have a strong taste of the ancient Tet festival. Therefore, people in not only Tan My commune but also everywhere have the habit of making ‘che lam’ and peanut candy to celebrate Tet. The products are not only served during the year-end but also used as gifts for relatives. The gifts from the countryside are taken everywhere.

Taste of countryside gifts, Bac Giang province, craft villages, traditional flavors, Lunar New Year holiday, che lam, peanut candy

Hiep Hoa district organizes Van ‘Chung’ Cake Festival to promote and introduce its specialty.

In Bac Giang, not only ‘che lam’ and peanut candy but many typical products such as Van ‘banh chung’ or ‘chung’ cake (square sticky rice cake) in Hoang An and Hoang Van communes (Hiep Hoa district), ‘banh gio’ in Song Van commune (Tan Yen district); and My Do ‘che kho” - a dish made of green bean (Bac Giang city) are also chosen by people as a Tet gift.

Bringing specialties afar

Today, there are more and more products on the market, but traditional cakes still hold a place because of their distinctive flavors. Nguyen Thi Hau in Tan Phuong village, Tan My commune said “In production, we focus on traditional ingredients and spices to make the brand”.

In recent years, Hau's family and many other households have focused on labelling, innovating product packaging, and vacuum packaging for convenient transportation. Thanks to promotions on social networks, the number of customers is increasing. They come from not only other places in the province but also many far localities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Ca Mau and Kien Giang in the south.

Taste of countryside gifts, Bac Giang province, craft villages, traditional flavors, Lunar New Year holiday, che lam, peanut candy

The specialty of Van ‘chung’ cake in Hiep Hoa district.

In order for the countryside gifts to reach many expatriates and customers across the country, over the years, Bac Giang province has paid attention to developing traditional craft villages. Local producers have actively formed linkages for product sale and product quality improvement.

In Hiep Hoa, since 2017, the Van ‘chung’ cake production and trading association was established with 27 families in all six villages of Hoang Van commune taking part. Over the years, customers from many provinces have come to order the specialty of Van village bearing the flavor of the hometown.

From the last lunar month every year, with an increasing number of customers, more than 10,000 chung cakes are consumed per day. This year, the People's Committee, Fatherland Front Committee and socio-political organizations of the district continue to organize the Van ‘Chung’ Cake Festival, aiming to introduce typical agricultural products to diners from everywhere.

In the seventh and eighth lunar months, taking advantage of the sunny weather, people in Bui, Dong Lai and Hong Phuc communes of Song Van commune, Tan Yen district store dried materials and then burn them for ashes to prepare to make ‘banh gio’ – a rice cake with herbal ash.

Song Van commune currently has about a dozen households specializing in making ‘banh gio’ to sell to local people and customers from some neighboring provinces such as Thai Nguyen, Bac Ninh, and Quang Ninh.

Besides many eye-catching colorful confectionery items, many people are still interested in simple countryside gifts. In the cold weather of the last days of the year, the bustling atmosphere mixed with the faint aroma from the kitchens of cake making families make the people in my hometown feel Tet coming near.


Hai Van
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Taste of countryside gifts, Bac Giang province, craft villages, traditional flavors, Lunar New Year holiday, che lam, peanut candy
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