Making Chung cake (Photo: VNA)
Phu Tho (VNA) – Hung Lo commune in Viet Tri city, the northern province of Phu Tho, is believed to be the cradle of the traditional trade of making Chung cake, an integral dish of lunar Lunar New Year (Tet) celebrations.

In Hung Lo, Chung cake pots are boiling through the year as the locality has developed a production model for the cakes.

Nguyen Van Ninh, head of the Hung Lo trade village said that currently, 70 households are in the Chung cake trade, providing the cakes to almost all markets and supermarkets in the province.

On the days before Tet, the atmosphere in Hung Lo commune heats up, literally. All family members, from children to the elderly, make the cakes in time for the festival. 

Chung cake is made from glutinous rice, pork and green bean paste, and wrapped in a square of “dong” (arrowroot) leaves, which gives the rice a green tint after being boiled for ten hours. 

Hung Lo is the only commune in Phu Tho that maintains the trade of Chung cake making all year round. On festive days, the commune seems to be covered by the green colour of dong leaves and the white of rice. 

The Hung Lo cakes are famous for their taste, as locals very carefully choose the ingredients. 

Chung cake is believed to have been invented as long as 4,000 years ago. Legend has it that the 18th Hung King could not decide on who his successor would be. 

Finally, he decided that whichever of his sons invented the most delicious and symbolic new food would become the next ruler. And so, Prince Lang Lieu made round and square Day cakes, representing the Sky and square Chung cakes symbolising the Earth. These were decided by his father to be the best creation, and Lang Lieu took the throne. 

Due to its quality, Hung Lo Chung cake is offered to Hung Kings during the temple festival dedicated to them in the third lunar month every year. The worship of Hung Kings was honoured by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December 2012.-VNA