A traditional Chung cake and Giay cake contest was held in the northern province of Phu Tho on April 6 to celebrate the annual Hung Kings’ Temple Festival.

Taking part were teams from Hanoi city, Phu Tho, the northern province of Hoa Binh and the southern province of Binh Duong.

The capital won the first prize in the Giay cake category, while Phu Tho 2 topped the Chung cake competition.

Vu Ba Chung, a member from the Hanoi team, expressed his honour at winning the opportunity to offer traditional cakes to the Hung Kings at a similar festival in 2015.

The contest is held annually with the aim of paying tributes to the kings - the founders of the nation - and fueling national pride.

Legend has it that the two kinds of cake were first made by Prince Lang Lieu, a son of Hung King VI. Thanks to this invention, he was given the crown from his father.

The Prince made Chung cakes (glutinous rice cakes) in a square shape and Day cakes (glutinous rice dumplings) in a round shape to symbolise the earth and the sky respectively, and offered them to the king to express his respect and gratitude for his parents and to thank the gods for the year’s good harvest.

The tradition has been well preserved by the Vietnamese people nationwide, especially during the lunar New Year festival.

Northern Vietnamese make the Chung cake in square shape, while the southerners or ethnic people in mountainous areas wrap the cakes in a cylindrical shape.

Making Chung cake requires simple materials and ingredients which can be found in every market in Vietnam : glutinous rice, green bean, fatty pork spiced with salt, onion and pepper. All are wrapped in phrynium leaves before being boiled for at least 10 hours.

Giay cake requires a more complicated process. First of all, sticky rice is dipped in water and then steamed. Steamed sticky rice will be pounded in a mortar until it turns into a soft paste, which is then shaped into round.

The worshipping ritual of the Hung Kings was honoured by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December 2012. Meanwhile the Hung Kings’ Temple Festival was recognised as a national event in 2007.-VNA