Crunchy delight: The seller cracks the round rice paper into two pieces and folds the cracker in the middle creating a type of sandwich. — Photos courtesy of blogger Pitbull Son
It’s easy to recognise a vendor selling banh da ke (millet rice cracker).
He or she will have plastic bags of crispy rice paper crackers on the front of their bicycle and pots of green beans, millet and sugar on the back.
People eagerly wait to munch on this snack during summer – the season of millet. For those growing up in Hanoi, the dessert recreates childhood memories as it has been popular in the city for decades.
Each portion consists of a large, round rice paper cracker, spread with millet paste, sprinkled with mung beans and topped with sugar. The seller cracks the rice paper into two pieces and folds it in the middle to create a type of sandwich.
The dish mixes the crispness of the rice cracker, aroma of millet and the sweetness of sugar and mung bean puree.
Consuming cool ingredients, such as millet and green beans, helps reduce body heat, according to food blogger Ngo Thu Huong.
“All ingredients to make millet rice cracker are good for health. A little bit of sugar is added to make it more delicious. Depending on the taste of each person, the sellers can add little or more sugar. The millet that is chosen to make the dish must be small and polished seeds. When cooking the millet, it must be stirred evenly so that it does not become a mash or gets too dry and especially does not burn,” she says, adding that it is easy to make the dish at home.
The cooked millet, which is sparkling yellow and slightly fragrant, is poured into a clean brazier. Mung beans are steamed and pressed into blocks.
To prepare the dish, cooked millet is spread over the surface of a crispy rice cracker. A thin layer of green bean powder and sugar are then added on top of the millet.
The cake catches the eye of many passers-by with its yellowish crust, which appears thick, sticky and crispy. The crispy and crunchy cakes, gently mixed with the sweetness of sugar and beans, creates a unique yet addictive taste.
Apart from the taste, people also enjoy the aroma and sound of cracking rice paper.
I remember when I was young, the dish was priced at VND2,000. Today, 20 years later, it costs VND10,000-15,000. But even after so many years, its flavour has not changed. The best time to enjoy the millet rice cracker is immediately after it has been prepared as the cracker loses its crispiness after a few minutes.
Many street vendors in Hanoi sell millet rice cracker, so it can be found in almost every corner of the city. They not only sell street food, but also reflect the culture and cuisine of the Hanoians.
The millet pancake is not a luxurious food item, and it gives people a sense of relishing a simple dish in a simple way.
Vendors riding bicycles or carrying baskets with ingredients inside attract not only the local people but also foreigners. Millet rice cracker requires cheap ingredients and is easy-to-make. It is one of the favourite street foods of Hanoians.
By Minh Thu, Source: VNS