On the days before Tet, the atmosphere in Hùng Lô commune, Việt Trì city heats up, literally. The streets around the community, located in the northern province of Phú Thọ, fill with boiling pots of Chung glutinous rice cake.

All family members, from children to the elderly, hurry to make the delicious Tet mainstay in time for the festival.

Chưng cake is a traditional Vietnamese dish that is an integral part of the lunar New Year celebration. It is made from glutinous rice, pork and green bean paste, and then wrapped in a square of “dong” (arrowroot) leaves, which gives the rice a green tint after being boiled for ten hours.

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

The Hung Lo incarnation of the cake is famous for its taste, as locals very carefully choose all of the ingredients. The cakes, once completed, will be delivered to markets, supermarkets and retailers across the province.

Nguyen Tien Duc, Chairman of the Hung Lo commune People’s Committee, said Hung Lo commune has 1,900 households, 30 percent of which earn their living due to traditional trades, such as vermicelli processing and Chung cake making.

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

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 Liêu 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 overcame his brothers to take 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.

In the coming time, the cake will be chosen as a unique product and promoted within the tourism sector. This move is expected to help Hung Lo enjoy rapid socio-economic development.-VNA