My experience in Thai Nguyen

I came to Vietnam on 29th Of August,2014. My University is in Thai Nguyen City. Actually, I didn’t really know and I didn’t notice about Vietnam. When I came to Vietnam for the first time, it was strange for me being in a foreign country that I’ve never been to, besides that I’m a moeslem that is mean I have to control/manage about the foods. When the first time I arrived in Vietnam my Vietnamese friend asked me out to the Vietnamese restaurant which is served pho ( pho is the type of food that similar with noodles but the colour is white ) because my friend knew that I couldn’t eat pork so my friend ordered pho bo for me, which is bo means beef. Actually the noodles was tasty but the one who made the taste was strange may be because of the leek was different from our country, the smell and taste of the leek was too strong so I couldn’t eat it all.

The capital city of Vietnam is Hanoi, from Thai Nguyen to Hanoi it takes only 2 hours by bus or you can go there by train but it takes longer than you take a bus may be around 3 hours. I like to stay in Hanoi for a few days, because I prefer to live in the metropolitan city,I like big and tall buildings for example ;
malls, statue, etc .
Hanoi is a good  place to spend the time when you have nothing to do or when you want to looking for the souvenir, there are so many street traders and shops that sell souvenirs,Vietnamese traditional foods,clothes,and many more.There are so many malls which are include many various foods like : halal foods inside and the most important thing is I like Hanoi because there is a Mosque so I could Pray in the mosque because it is so hard to find a mosque in a  non-moeslem country like this.
Last few months my friend gave me Banh Chung ( Chung Cake ) which is chung means egg and banh means cake. Chung cake is made from glutinous rice cake,mung beans,and pork. Normally chung cake is served with meat pork inside but because of I’m a moeslem so I couldn’t eat meat pork then they just put mung beans inside without pork and for me it was even still so delicious, that was enough to taste it. I wanted more and more but they said I couldn’t have it anytime I want, I could have it when it comes to Lunar New Year because it’s a special cake for Lunar New Year. There are two types of chung cake ; the silinder and the square one. This cake is so tasty. Is it the food that I like the most when I live in Vietnam? Let’s find out on my next story.
That was at night, when all of my Vietnamese neighbors were very busy made homemade cake, they made the small little cake it was cute cake because it was too small and the cake was springy,anyway I like the springy cake. That  small cake named Banh Troi. I had no idea why they made it, Was that an important day? That was my first thought in my head.Then, my friend told me that Banh troi is a traditional Vietnamese small cake, which is made from glutinous rice cake, red palm sugar and white sesame. In Vietnam, Banh Troi is the cake which is associated to Cold Food Festival. Vietnamese people usually make a plate of Banh Troi with some bowl of sweet soup to worship and remember the ancestor. Banh Troi, it is not only delicious, but it has deep meaning behind for Vietnamese people. This small cake ( Banh Troi ) has a little red palm sugar cube to put inside which make it sweet but not too sweet, just a perfect combination.
At first I was too shy to ask them to give me one but then I made myself brave to ask for it because I was too curious how the taste was. Finally, I got one, only need one bit and you can felt it, it was so delicious, sweet and springy at the same time. I ate a lot, I became addict to it. I wanted more and more, lucky when my friend found out that I liked it so much, they gave it all to me and I was so happy. That was my favorite food all the time. That cake is the first cake that I felt in love when I live in Vietnam until now. I never get bored to eat it. The cake is so springy and the taste is not too sweet I like it, may be because I like red sugar palm so for me it is so delicious and perfect combination of cake.
It was not only for one day I wanted more and more but for the next few days, I was looking for it again then my friend said “ No we didn’t have it anymore, it was only one day not everyday “  I was so sad but I didn’t give up that easily I continued searching again around the market but they said “ No, we didn’t have it anymore “ almost everyone said they didn’t have it anymore. The condition was contrast with my desire at that time.
So I had another option, I didn’t want to bother my friend for always ask about banh troi then , I decided to make it by my ownself so I could eat it whenever I want. I asked my friend How to make Banh troi, I found out all the ingredients in the market. Then I asked my Vietnamese friend to help me to make it, they taught me step by step.
The Ingredients that we need for Banh Troi :
-Glutinous rice cake
-Red Palm Sugar
-White Sesame
Step 1 :  Mix the glutinous rice cake with water
Step 2 :  Pick up a piece of dough, place the sugar cube in the middle and roll it to make a ball.
Step 3 : Boil the balls on the water and take out when they start to float. Immediately dip into a bowl of cold water to prevent them from being sticky.
Step 4 : Place the balls on a dish and powder with white sesame.
And this is the picture of Banh Troi.
(This is not the picture of Banh Troi that we made but this is almost the same from what we made last time)
There is another version of Banh Troi, you can change the colour if you want just use the food colouring to make it more interesting like on the picture below :
I thought it was so hard to make it,but it was so simply and I was so happy.We made that with full of happiness, we were chatting while rolling the cake,we were joking around to each other,etc. That was the memorable day for me because instead of I got a new knowledge about how to make Banh Troi, I also had fun and got to know each other with my friend from Vietnam through this activity.

Amana Amalia – K45 student

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